Microsoft’s free Volume Activation Management Toolkit (VAMT) helps administrators manage licensing on computers in their organization. Administrators can use the VAMT to update licenses and activate Office and Operating Systems on clients and servers.
VAMT version 3 performs all of the operations that VAMT version 2 did while adding new features. Christian Mohn wrote about VAMT 2 and described its usage in his article, “License & Activation Management with Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT).” If you haven’t used the VAMT before, check out Mohn’s article to get a grasp of the concepts that are common to both versions.
There are several new features and improvements made to previously existing features.
Active Directory Based Activation — Active Directory Based Activation (ADBA) replaces the role previously held by KMS hosts in Active Directory. This means that activations are performed in AD itself and is not reliant on any specific hosts.
PowerShell Support – PowerShell cmdlets replace what used to be VAMT.exe.
Proxy Authentication – If some of your computers require a username and password to access the Internet, then the new VAMT 3 can serve as a proxy authentication. VAMT makes the connection and routes activation requests through it.
Licensing Reports – License reporting is built into VAMT, so it’s easy to figure out which computers are not in compliance.
While previous versions of VAMT could be installed on their own, VAMT version 3 is now installed as part of the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8.
Step 1: Install PowerShell v.3.
You will need this for running the PowerShell cmdlets. If you’re running on Windows 8 or Server 2012, you already have PowerShell 3. If you are using Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, you’ll need to upgrade PowerShell by installing the Windows Management Framework 3.0.
Note: PowerShell version 3 is not required to run VAMT. However, it is a requirement for the PowerShell cmdlets that can help manage VAMT.
Step 2: Install VAMT 3 as part of the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK).
Click Install to begin the download of all selected components. The size of the download varies based on how many of the features were chosen for installation. Selecting all components of the ADK requires a 5.3 GB download, so if time or space is not a limiting factor, you may decide to install everything.
Step 3: Run VAMT and create a database.
When you open VAMT 3, there are several different menu options on the tree view on the left side.
As you can see in the image above, Products shows a list of all discovered computers and all discovered products. If computers have been found but no information about the license status is available, then you need to do the following:
When you select Products, the full list of discovered products is displayed. You can apply filters by selecting either Windows or Office.
2. Product Keys is a list of valid product keys that you manage.
This means that it’s the list of actual product keys that you are authorized to use. Regardless of what is out there, this is the list of what you want to have installed.
Here is where you setup the activation within Active Directory.
After these steps are completed, your Active Directory Forest is activated. And finally, the fourth item in our list:
These reports display quickly and can be exported to CSV from the Actions menu.
At Risk Products Report: This is a list of all discovered products with a General Volume License Key (GVLK) that are within 90 days of expiring. Since they should have been activated with a MAK or KMS license, this is usually a problem with connectivity.
Duplicate Client Machine ID Report: This report finds computers that failed to go through the Sysprep process. They have therefore never been personalized and were deployed as an exact duplicate of the imaged machine.
Multiple Activation Key Usage Report: All computers in the VAMT database that currently have a MAK license. These should be considered for an upgrade to a KMS license if it’s appropriate for your environment.
Not Activated Product Report: All computers with a product that doesn’t show as activated will be on this list. If some report a license status reason of “unknown,” then run the “Update license status” action for the computers with the unknown products.
Volume Activations by Type: This is a list of products broken down by types of activations. You can easily identify how many and which computers were activated by MAK, KMS host, and AD-Based Activation.