Office 2010 Activation

Microsoft Office 2010 purchased through Volume Licensing now needs activating in the same way as Windows. Previously this only applied to Office through the OEM & FPP channels. This is a new introduction with 2010 and is surprising some people.

There are the same options to activate as with Windows, which are:

  • KMS (Key Management Service)
  • MAK (Multiple Activation Key)
  • MAK Proxy


KMS uses a host computer to establish an activation service on your local company network. With a KMS host you can activate thousands of computers at the same time when they regularly connect to the company network. If you use a KMS host to activate Windows, you can use the same host to activate Office 2010.


With MAK, each computer activates Office 2010 with the Microsoft hosted activation servers over the Internet or by phone. MAK is recommended when you have fewer than 50 computers to activate, and for computers that are not regularly connected to the company network.

Planning activation:


A single internal server authenticated with Microsoft and in turn, the organization’s devices authenticate to that machine.

KMS activation through firewall

A KMS “Client Key” is installed inside every Volume Licensing copy of Office 2010, which means that no action is required by the end user and that a product key doesn’t need to be entered for the clients. All an administrator needs to do is activate the 1 KMS host reducing the amount of time spent on this task.

The KMS service does NOT require a dedicated server and can happily sit on a machine already in production. The Operating System requirements are:

Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2008 R2

Windows 7 purchased through Volume Licensing <—This means OEM & FPP/retail won’t work

Devices are required to “re-authenticate” every 180 days.

Technet article is here:


MAK activation at each desktop occurs directly with Microsoft, rather than via an internal server.

MAK independent activation via Internet

If machines are unable to connect to the internet, MAK activation can be via telephone too.

This method works well for smaller organizations and also sub-sets of larger organizations, such as mobile divisions who are away from the corporate network a lot.

MAK gives you a number of activations equal to the number of licences purchased.

Technet article is here:

MAK Proxy:

MAK Proxy activation uses VAMT (Volume Activation Management Tool) 2.0. Using this method, one designated machine collects activation info from multiple other machines and then sends a single centralized request for activation to Microsoft. Only the VAMT device connects to Microsoft’s servers, reducing bandwidth usage.

MAK Info:

MAK activation does NOT require periodic re-activation however it will be needed if significant changes are made such as replacing the hard drive or re-installing Windows. This will reduce the number of available activations, so if you:

Have 100 licences

Install on 90 machines

Re-install Windows and re-authenticate Office on 10

You will have 10 machines on which you cannot activate Office.

In this case, you would need to contact Microsoft to increase the number of available activations.

However if you use MAK Proxy, you can save the Confirmation ID given via VAMT and simply re-apply that to re-activate machines without reducing the number of activations available.

VAMT 2.0:

Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) 2.0 is a managed MMC plug-in. VAMT uses Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to configure managed systems. A convenient command line interface (CLI) allows automated, scheduled VAMT tasks without UI interaction.
Using the VAMT console, administrators can perform many activation-related tasks on remote computers:

  • Manage product keys obtained from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) or other sources including retail and Microsoft subscription programs such as MSDN, TechNet and partner programs — and product activations using those keys.
  • Activate remote systems using Key Management Service (KMS), Multiple Activation Key (MAK) or retail activation methods.
  • Perform disconnected proxy activation and reactivation of systems without each system having to connect with Microsoft activation services individually.
  • Assist with license compliance by enabling IT administrators to monitor system license state, including whether systems are licensed and running genuine Windows or Office.

You can download it here:


The Technet Troubleshooting page can be found here:

which will hopefully cover off any issues you may be having.

2 Replies to “Office 2010 Activation”

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