Automatic Virtual Machine Activation in Windows Server 2012 R2

Automatic virtual machine activation is an easy to miss, but really handy feature in Windows Server 2012 R2.

One of the primary reasons why people buy Windows Server Datacenter today is because it gives them license to run an unlimited number of Windows Server instances inside of virtual machines.  However, you have still needed to manage Windows keys when doing this in the past.

Automatic virtual machine activation means that this is no longer necessary – Windows Server inside a virtual machine is now able to activate against Windows in the host operating system, if it is running an activated version of Windows Server Datacenter.

You can read all about this feature here:

One important thing to know is that if you are installing Windows in a virtual machine, on a system that supports automatic virtual machine activation, and you get asked for a product key – you should use one of the AVMA keys.  They are as follows:

Edition AVMA key
Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Y4TGP-NPTV9-HTC2H-7MGQ3-DV4TW
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard DBGBW-NPF86-BJVTX-K3WKJ-MTB6V
Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials K2XGM-NMBT3-2R6Q8-WF2FK-P36R2