How To Enable Office 2013 KMS Host


Following on from my previous blog on “How to add your KMS keys for Windows 8 and Server 2012, here’s how you can enable a KMS Host (Key Management Service) for Office 2013.

Server End

First, you’ll need access to Microsoft VLSC (Volume Licensing Service Center) here: Update: You can also download it from here

From there, under the ‘Downloads and Keys’ section you’ll need to find ‘Office Professional Plus 2013 Key Management Service Host’ or Office Standard Key Management Service Host’ depending what you’re licensed for. It’s a 800kb ISO file.

Once downloaded and extracted/mounted, you’ll need to go to your already configured KMS Host which is running your Windows KMS Host activation. If you’ve already got Widnows 8/Server 2012 running then it could be easier, as there were some patches for the pre-release version of this tool, and that will possibly apply to this proper release.

On the KMS Host, open your command prompt and run the command ‘cscript kms_host.vbs’ (assuming you’ve navigated to the directory containing the extracted ISO). It’ll do it’s thing as per this screenshot:


Then, as long as you’ve been kind to the licensing Gods it will prompt you saying that the install was successful, and would you like to enter and activate your Office 2013 KMS key now? Yes please you’ll reply, realising you’re talking to your PC.

Enter your key including dashes (obtained from VLSC under the actual Office 2013 product download) and nervously wait, while it gives no indication anything is happening for 10 seconds or so. Eventually you’ll get another prompt saying the key has been successfully installed and activated. You will be able to see this from the Volume Activation Management Tool under the ‘Licensed’ area.

Client End

The Office 2013 client automatically installs using the client KMS. There are two keys remember, being the KMS Host and KMS Client. The KMS Host is obtained via VLSC and individual to your organisation, while the KMS Client key is standard worldwide, and the default for install. The KMS Client key is also referred to as the Generic Volume License Key (GVLK). More info including the publically available keys here:

To force client activation, run the command ‘cscript ospp.vbs /act‘ from the C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15\ folder. More info on that here:

You’ll now probably get an error saying “The count reported by your Key Management Service (KMS) is insufficient.” with an error code 0xC004F038.

I believe you need 5 unique PCs to request a key before your KMS Host will start giving them out (reference for Office 2010 I haven’t had a chance yet to test this, so please let me know if you find out more.

Update: As confirmed by this page, you need 5 unique PCs


8 thoughts on “How To Enable Office 2013 KMS Host

  1. I have a KMS host(server 2008 R2) for office 2010 and Windows Server 2008 KMS keys. Can i just stand up another KMS host(Server 2012) and set it up for Office 2013/ Windows 8/Server 2012? Or do they all have to be on the same host? If they have to be on the same host, can i put my Office 2013/windows 8 KMS keys on my existing host?

    Thanks, and sorry for the newbie question – i’m new to using KMS

    1. Hi David,
      I believe that since the KMS host is based on the SRV record in DNS, you can have only one. You can definitely do both on the same host, I’ve got a single host for Office 2013/Windows 8.1 and it supports Windows 7 fine. You need both sets of keys applied, but since you’ve already got the older stuff on there, adding the new stuff will just work concurrently.
      If you get stuck feel free to post back.

  2. I have 180 machines that have been using KMS activation for some time. They are all pointed to an old server that is no longer our KMS server. I would like to update all of these machines hosts. Is there a method, besides setting the host on every machine individually, to get the machines to look at the correct server?

    1. Clients discover the KMS server by the DNS SRV record. More info here

      So as long as that record gets updated, when each clients DNS cache clears (e.g. after a reboot) they should just start registering against the new KMS server.

      If you’re doing something custom like telling the PCs a different record to use, that’s also covered in the link above.

      Hope that helps!

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