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Volume Activation Scenarios
What If Systems Are Not Activated Product Keys 352
Summary 353 Additional Resources 353
olume Activation is a configurable solution that helps IT professionals automate and manage the product activation process on computers running the Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems licensed under a Microsoft Volume Licensing program and other programs that provide Volume License editions of Microsoft Windows . This chapter describes Volume Activation for Windows 7 .
Product activation is the process of validating software with the manufacturer . Activation confirms the genuine status of a product and that the product key is not compromised . It is analogous to the activation of credit cards or new mobile phones . Activation establishes a relationship between the software s product key and a particular installation of that software on a device . All methods of activation used by Microsoft are designed to help protect user privacy . Data that is sent during activation is not traceable to the computer or user . The data that is gathered is used to confirm a legally licensed copy of the software . It is then aggregated for statistical analysis . Microsoft does not use this information to identify or contact the user or organization . For example, during online activations, information such as the
software version, language, and product key are sent, as well as the IP address and information about the hardware of the device . The IP address is used only to verify the location of the request, as some editions of Windows such as Windows 7 Starter can be activated only within certain target market geographies .
on tHe CoMpAnion MediA
The complete set of Volume activation guides
is included on the companion media. The Volume Activation Planning Guide provides guidance for deployment planning. The Volume Activation Deployment Guide includes detailed guidance for deploying Volume activation in enterprise environments. also, the Volume Activation Operations Guide describes how to support Volume activation in enterprise environments. The Volume Activation Technical Reference Guide is a useful reference for Volume activation.
Licenses for Windows 7 can be obtained through one of three basic channels: retail, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), or Volume Licensing . Each channel has its own unique methods of activation . Because organizations can obtain their operating systems through any of the three available channels, they can choose a combination of activation methods .
Windows 7 products acquired through a retail store are licensed individually and are activated in the same way as retail versions of Windows Vista . Each purchased copy comes with one unique product key, found on the product packaging, which is typed in during the installation of the product . The computer uses this product key to complete the activation after the installation of the operating system is complete . This activation can be accomplished either online or by telephone .
Original Equipment Manufacturer
Most OEMs sell systems that include a standard build of Windows 7 . Hardware vendors perform OEM activation by associating Windows with the firmware (basic input/output system, or BIOS) of the physical computer . This process occurs before the computers are sent to the customer so that no additional actions are required of the user . This method of activation is known as OEM Activation .
Using Volume Activation
OEM Activation is valid as long as the customer uses the OEM-provided image on a system . To create a customized image, customers can use the image provided by the OEM as the basis for creating the custom image . Otherwise, a different activation method must be used .
Some editions of Windows 7, such as Windows 7 Enterprise, are available only
through the Volume Licensing channel. OEM activation is applicable to computers purchased through OEM channels with Windows installed.
Volume Licensing offers customized programs tailored to the size and purchasing preference of the organization . These programs provide simple, flexible, and affordable solutions that enable organizations to manage their licenses . To become a Volume Licensing customer, an organization needs to set up a Volume License agreement with Microsoft . There are only two legal ways to acquire a full Windows desktop license for a new computer system . The first and most economical way is preinstalled through the computer hardware manufacturer . The other option is with a full, packaged retail product . Volume Licensing programs such as Open License, Select License, and Enterprise agreements cover Windows upgrades only and do not provide a full Windows desktop license . After the computers have a full Windows desktop license, a Windows Volume Licensing agreement can be acquired and used to provide version upgrade rights . For more information on Volume Licensing, go to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/ LinkId=73076 . Volume Activation is designed to allow Volume License customers to automate the activation process in a way that is transparent to users . Volume Activation applies to computers that are covered under a Volume Licensing program . It is used strictly as a tool for activation and is in no way tied to license invoicing or billing . Volume Activation provides two different models for completing volume activations: Key Management Service (KMS) and Multiple Activation Key (MAK) . KMS allows organizations to activate systems within their own network, whereas MAK activates systems on a one-time basis using Microsoft s hosted activation services . Customers can use either or both key types to activate systems in their environment . The model chosen depends on the size, network infrastructure, connectivity, and security requirements of the organization . IT professionals can choose to use just one or a combination of these activation models . For more information about choosing an activation model, see the section titled Volume Activation Scenarios, later in this chapter .