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Activate Windows 7 & 8

There are two methods for activating the Windows 7 and 8 products. These methods are dependent on where you will install it.

  • Activating on your personal computer
    If you purchase Windows 7 or 8 from the U.C. Computer Sales via cash, personal check or personal credit card, the sales associate will assume that you will be installing the product on your personal computer and will sell you the appropriate media.
  • Activating on a Carnegie Mellon computer
    If you purchase Windows 7 or 8 from the U.C. Computer Sales via an Oracle budget number or "string" the sales consultant will assume that you will be installing the product on a department or Carnegie Mellon computer and will sell you the appropriate media.

Activating on your personal computer

If you purchase the Windows 7 or 8 operating system via cash, personal check or personal credit card from the University Center, Computer Sales area to install on your personal computer, the activation works the same as it does on other software that you purchase from a retail store. You'll use the product activation key that is included in the packaging. Simple. That's all you need to know!

Activating on a Carnegie Mellon computer

Please read the following information if you purchase the Windows 7 or 8 operating system from the University Center, Computer Sales area to install on a departmental or Carnegie Mellon owned computer.

The installation process that we recommend differs depending on whether you typically use the computer on or off campus; on-campus is defined as having your computer connected to the wired/wireless campus network at least once every 180 days. Follow the appropriate steps below:

Activate via KMS Server

If you typically use your computer ON-CAMPUS, activate via our KMS server. Follow these steps:

  1. With your computer on-campus and with access to the campus network, install the Windows 7 or 8 product.
  2. Windows 7 or 8 will automatically activate via our Key Management Service (KMS) server. There is no need to enter a product key or to send any information to Microsoft.

In the event that the automated KMS activation process fails, follow these steps:

  1. Access an elevated command prompt (for help see Command Prompt FAQ).
  2. In the Command Prompt window, execute the following command to specify the KMS host against which to activate: 
  • cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /skms kms1.andrew.cmu.edu:1688
  1. In the Command Prompt window, execute one of the following commands to specify the KMS client key manually:
  • 
Windows Vista Enterprise:
    cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ipk  VKK3X-68KWM-X2YGT-QR4M6-4BWMV

  • Windows 7 Enterprise:
    cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ipk 33PXH-7Y6KF-2VJC9-XBBR8-HVTHH

  • Windows 8 Enterprise:
    cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ipk 32JNW-9KQ84-P47T8-D8GGY-CWCK7
  1. In the Command Prompt window, execute the following command to perform an immediate activation:
  • cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ato
  1. Confirm that the machine has received a full product activation key by executing the following command in the Command Prompt window:
  • cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -dlv

Activate via Campus MAK

If you typically use your computer OFF-CAMPUS, activate using our campus MAK.

If you travel or use your computer off-campus for extended periods, you should follow the MAK activation installation steps included below. When Windows 7 or 8 is activated using the KMS method, the Windows 7 or 8 client attempts to reactivate (i.e., contact the campus KMS server) every seven days. If it cannot contact the KMS within 180 days of the last activation, it will enter Reduced Functionality Mode. In this situation, you will need to enter the MAK key that was included on the original packaging in order to gain access to your computer. For this reason, we recommend that you use the MAK activation steps if you travel or use your computer away from campus for extended periods. Follow the steps below:

  1. Install Windows 7 or 8 on your computer; you will not be prompted to enter a product key during installation.
  2. After installation is complete, click the Start button, then right-click Computer and select Properties from the drop-down list.
  3. Click Continue through the warning message.
  4. Enter the MAK product key information and then click Next to continue with the activation. Our campus MAK key is included on Windows 7 or 8 packaging that is purchased from Campus Computer Sales. If the label is damaged or missing, contact software@andrew.cmu.edu for help.

Verify Activation (both MAK and KMS Methods)

Whether you've activated via the MAK or KMS method, you can verify product activation by following these steps:

  1. Click Start, then right-click Computer and select Properties from the drop-down list.
  2. Scroll down to the Windows activation section and verify that it reads "Windows is activated" and displays the Genuine Microsoft Software logo.