Discovery of the Activation Service

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

The activation service issues lockboxes and RMS machine certificates for RMS version 1.0 clients. It is supported for backwards compatibility with RMS version 1.0. The RMS root cluster provides the activation proxy service that forwards RMS machine activation requests to the activation service from client computers that are running on the corporate network.

To make an RMS machine activation request, an RMS version 1.0 client first retrieves the URL to the Certification virtual directory of the root cluster, where the activation proxy service is located, from Active Directory. It then appends the path to the activation proxy service.


With RMS with Service Pack 1 (SP1) and later, RMS clients are no longer required to contact the Microsoft Enrollment Service. The lockbox and machine certificates are generated locally.

For example, the URL for the Certification virtual directory on the root cluster is stored in Active Directory in the following form:


When a client requests RMS machine activation, it appends the activation proxy service file name to the URL, as follows:


RMS clients earlier than SP1 that are running outside the corporate network use UDDI for service discovery to locate the activation service. For more information, see "Publication of Microsoft-hosted Services" earlier in this subject.


If you have enabled SSL on your RMS server, these URLs will use the https:// connection protocol.