Introduction To Windows Server
Lesson 2


By Sai Kurada
August 04, 2023

Licensing and activation are critical steps when deploying Windows Server to ensure compliance with Microsoft's licensing terms and to activate the operating system for use. Let's delve into the process of licensing and activating Windows Server:

Licensing Windows Server

  1. Choose the Right Edition: Determine which edition of Windows Server meets your organization's needs. Consider factors such as features, scalability, and virtualization rights.
  2. Acquire Licensing: Purchase the appropriate number of licenses based on the edition and the number of physical or virtual instances you plan to deploy. Licenses can be acquired through Microsoft Volume Licensing or other authorized channels.
  3. Obtain Product Keys: When purchasing licenses, you'll receive product keys for each copy of Windows Server you've licensed. Keep these keys safe, as they are required for activation.
  4. Understand CALs: Depending on your scenario, you might need Client Access Licenses (CALs) to grant access to users or devices that connect to your Windows Server. CALs are separate licenses.

Activating Windows Server

Activation Methods: There are two primary activation methods for Windows Server:

  • Automatic Activation: When connected to the internet, Windows Server can automatically activate itself using the product key you entered during installation.
  • Manual Activation: If the server isn't connected to the internet or if automatic activation fails, you can activate Windows Server manually using the phone activation method.

Automatic Activation:

  • During installation, you'll be prompted to enter the product key.
  • If the server is connected to the internet, it will attempt to activate automatically upon installation completion.

Manual Activation:

  • If automatic activation fails, you'll see an activation error message.
  • Choose the option to activate via phone.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to get a confirmation ID.
  • Use this ID to activate Windows Server manually over the phone.

Checking Activation Status

Activation Status:

  • To check the activation status of Windows Server, go to "Settings" > "Update & Security" > "Activation."

Command Prompt:

  • You can also use the Command Prompt to check activation status using the command: slmgr /xpr.

Re-activating Windows Server


  • If you make significant hardware changes to the server, you might need to reactivate Windows Server.
  • This might include changes like replacing the motherboard.

Contact Microsoft Support:

  • If you encounter activation issues, contacting Microsoft Support can help resolve any issues.

Compliance and Reporting

Maintain Compliance:

  • Keep accurate records of licenses and activations to ensure compliance with licensing agreements.


  • Microsoft occasionally conducts software audits to verify proper licensing. Having proper documentation is crucial during audits.

It's important to understand that this information provides a general overview of the licensing and activation process. Licensing terms, activation methods, and specific steps may vary depending on the version and edition of Windows Server you're using. Always refer to the official Microsoft documentation and licensing terms for the most accurate and up-to-date information.