Volume Activation for Windows 10

Applies to

  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2019

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This guide is designed to help organizations that are planning to use volume activation to deploy and activate Windows 10, including organizations that have used volume activation for earlier versions of Windows.

Volume activation is the process that Microsoft volume licensing customers use to automate and manage the activation of Windows operating systems, Microsoft Office, and other Microsoft products across large organizations. Volume licensing is available to customers who purchase software under various volume programs (such as Open and Select) and to participants in programs such as the Microsoft Partner Program and MSDN Subscriptions.

Volume activation is a configurable solution that helps automate and manage the product activation process on computers running Windows operating systems that have been licensed under a volume licensing program. Volume activation is also used with other software from Microsoft (most notably the Office suites) that are sold under volume licensing agreements and that support volume activation.

This guide provides information and step-by-step guidance to help you choose a volume activation method that suits your environment, and then to configure that solution successfully. This guide describes the volume activation features and the tools to manage volume activation.

Because most organizations will not immediately switch all computers to Windows 10, practical volume activation strategies must also take in to account how to work with the Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems. This guide discusses how the new volume activation tools can support earlier operating systems, but it does not discuss the tools that are provided with earlier operating system versions.

Volume activation -and the need for activation itself- is not new, and this guide does not review all of its concepts and history. You can find additional background in the appendices of this guide. For more information, see Volume Activation Overview.

If you would like additional information about planning a volume activation deployment specifically for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, please see the Volume Activation Planning Guide for Windows 7.

To successfully plan and implement a volume activation strategy, you must:

  • Learn about and understand product activation.
  • Review and evaluate the available activation types or models.
  • Consider the connectivity of the clients to be activated.
  • Choose the method or methods to be used with each type of client.
  • Determine the types and number of product keys you will need.
  • Determine the monitoring and reporting needs in your organization.
  • Install and configure the tools required to support the methods selected.

Keep in mind that the method of activation does not change an organization’s responsibility to the licensing requirements. You must ensure that all software used in your organization is properly licensed and activated in accordance with the terms of the licensing agreements in place.

Additional information