Activate Windows-Computing Services - Carnegie Mellon University

Activate Windows

There are two methods for activating Windows products.

Activate on your personal computer

If you purchase the Windows operating system from Computer Sales to install on your personal computer, the activation works the same as it does on other software that you purchase from a retail store. Use the product activation key that is included in the packaging.

Activate on a Carnegie Mellon computer

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

The installation process 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 product.
  2. Windows will automatically activate via our Key Management Service (KMS) server. There is no product key or information sent 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
  3. In the Command Prompt window, execute one of the following commands to specify the KMS client key manually:
    • 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
    • Windows 8.1 Enterprise
      cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ipk MHF9N-XY6XB-WVXMC-BTDCT-MKKG7
  4. In the Command Prompt window, execute the following command to perform an immediate activation:
    • cscript \windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ato
  5. 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 travel or use your computer off-campus for extended periods, you should follow the MAK activation steps below. 

  1. Install Windows 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 and then click Next to continue with the activation. Our campus MAK key is included on packaging that is purchased from Campus Computer Sales. If the label is damaged or missing, contact 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.
  2. Scroll down to the Windows activation section and verify that it reads "Windows is activated" and displays the Genuine Microsoft Software logo.