Event ID 12321 Warning Token Based Activation failed

This article provides a resolution for Event ID 12321 Warning Token Based Activation failed.

Applies to:   Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 10 - all editions
Original KB number:   2020644


The Application Event log may log an event ID 12321 warning event from the source Microsoft-Windows-Security-Licensing-SLC. The description field will state Token Based Activation failed.


This event will occur when the Token Issuance License is not installed inside Windows or the certificates on the Smartcard are not present and activation is attempted.


Windows Software Licensing is checking whether Token Activation is available on this volume license system and reporting that the license or certificate is not available so Token Based licensing will not work.


This issuance license file or Smartcard certificates are only needed when Token Based activation is being attempted.

If you are not using Token-Based Activation, this warning message can be safely ignored. And it will not affect the ability, which activates Windows using KMS host machines or MAK keys.

If you are using Token Based Activation, you need to reinstall the Token Issuance license acquired from Microsoft.

SLMGR /ILC <token-based-license-filename>

More information

Token-Based activation functionality was enabled in Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.