How To: Activate Windows Server 2008 Core Edition with MAK key over the phone

Hello my name is Scott McArthur and I am a Senior Support Escalation Engineer in the Windows group. Today we are going to discuss the steps to activate Windows Server 2008 Core edition using a MAK key via the phone. It is much easier to activate via the Internet but for those computers that do not have access to the Internet (for example a Hyper-V virtual machine) you can use the phone. If you have more than one machine to activate you may want to look at the Volume Activation Management Tool 1.1. This supports batch activation for computers not connected to the Internet. This is very useful for isolated lab scenarios.

The steps in this blog are specific to core edition and a MAK Key but the same general steps could be applied to the non-core edition and other types of keys. In order to activate with a MAK key you must install using volume license media. By default volume license media will look for a KMS host to activate and do not require a key to install. If you are prompted during setup for a key then you are not installing from volume license media.

After Windows Server 2008 Core Edition is installed do the following at a cmd prompt

1. Install your MAK key using slmgr.vbs


Where XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX is your 5x5 MAK key supplied by Microsoft

You should receive the following confirmation:


2. View your Installation ID

slmgr.vbs -dti

Note: the –DTI option only shows up when you have installed a MAK or Retail key.

You will get the following dialogue box that has your Installation ID


Tip: The Installation ID is a 9x6 number. An easy way to split it up so it is easier to read back to the phone activation system is to hit CTRL-C to copy the contents of the dialogue box and paste into notepad. In notepad it will be broken out into the 9x6 groups and easier to read. For example

Windows Script Host

3. Determine the phone number for your region:

notepad %systemroot%\system32\slui\phone.inf

For example here is the line for USA


4. Call the number for your region and you will be prompted for the Installation ID, Groups 1 through 9

Tip: You can press 2 on the keypad to proceed to the next group

5. Once you have entered your installation ID your confirmation ID will be read back to you. The Confirmation ID is read back to you from Group A to Group H. This is a 8x6 number


xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx

Type it into your notepad with no dashes so you can paste it into the next step

6. Activate with your Confirmation ID

slmgr.vbs –atp xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Note: The –atp option is only available when you have installed a MAK or retail key

You should receive the following confirmation


7. Verify that you are activated using slmgr.vbs

Cscript.exe %systemroot%\system32\Slmgr.vbs –dlv

Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.7
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Software licensing service version: 6.0.6001.18000
Name: Windows Server(R), ServerEnterpriseCore edition
Description: Windows Operating System - Windows Server(R), VOLUME_MAK_B channel
Activation ID: <removed>
Application ID: <removed>
Extended PID: <removed>
Installation ID: <removed>
Processor Certificate URL:
Machine Certificate URL:
Use License URL:
Product Key Certificate URL:
Partial Product Key: <removed>
License Status: Licensed

Check the “Description” to verify it says Volume_MAK channel and “License Status” says Licensed

If you run into any errors with this process please see the following articles;EN-US;938450;EN-US;942969

Here are the other commands available with slmgr.vbs

Windows Software Licensing Management Tool
Usage: slmgr.vbs [MachineName [User Password]] [<Option>]

MachineName: Name of remote machine (default is local machine)
User: Account with required privilege on remote machine
Password: password for the previous account

Global Options: -ipk <Product Key>
Install product key (replaces existing key)
-ato Activate Windows
-dli [Activation ID | All]
Display license information (default: current license)
-dlv [Activation ID | All]
Display detailed license information (default: current license)
Expiration date for current license state
Advanced Options:
Clear product key from the registry (prevents disclosure attacks)
-ilc <License file>
Install license
Re-install system license files
Reset the licensing status of the machine
Uninstall product key
Display Installation ID for offline activation
-atp <Confirmation ID>
Activate product with user-provided Confirmation ID

Scott McArthur
Senior Support Escalation Engineer
Microsoft Enterprise Platforms Support