Category Archives: Licensing

kms Server Deployment step by step Guide

So What is KMS ?

KMS stands for the abbreviation (Key Management Service) in which enterprises and big companies manage their Software, End user and Servers licenses keys through a single server (Called KMS) which automates the whole process of activation and eliminates the need for an individual or admin interfering to activate them.

Prerequisites for KMS Host:

In order to use KMS, You will need to install Server version of Microsoft Windows. This server can be installed on a Virtual machine or physical one. But still there are requirements to activate other machines.

  • Server needs to be joined to Domain to activate other machines/products.
  • VLSC (Volume License Service Center) Host Key (Can only be acquired through the VLSC portal.
  • If you’re going to activate any Office products (Office 2016/ Office 2019) then you’ll need to download the Office Volume License Pack for those products from the links attached.
  • Run the License Pack you downloaded and enter the Office Key to activate it.

After deploying Windows 2016/2019 Server you can install the role from Server manager or from PowerShell

KMS Installation

Launch powershell in Admin mode and run the following CMDLET

Install-WindowsFeature -Name VolumeActivation

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Continue to the next window and add the required Features

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The next window will let give you some information about the automation of the license activation for MS products and how KMS works.

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There are two options of how activating licenses, One is through using a service or the other through joining server/computer to Active Directory KMS will auto activate products if their relevant KMS licenses are entered in the KMS Host server.

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Install your Windows 2016/2019 KMS Host Server key to create AD Object for KMS

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Choose your activation Method in order to activate the KMS server

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If activation continues successfully you’ll be able to see KMS telling you that continuing will create an AD object . Click Yes to continue

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We’ll wait until this finishes

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When this works, The next window will give you a warning that Clicking Next will delete the current activation Object which is the AD object that has been previously created. Click Close since we want to keep that.

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KMS Host Activation

To view the activation of your KMS Host, You can open CMD on the KMS Server and type

slmg.vbs –dlv

As you can see below, it’ll show summary information about the license you entered and other related info.

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To make sure your installation has went successfully, you can launch ADSI Editor and see if the AD object has been created or not.

From CMD or Powershell type adsiedit.msc

Navigate to Configuration>Services> Microsoft SPP> You should see the Activation Objects there.

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Activating Office 2016 / 2019

As we mentioned previously to activate office 2016 or Office 2019 you will need to download the Office License pack from the links attached previously.

– Office 2016 License Package link https://www.microsoft.com/download/details.aspx?id=49164

– Office 2019 License Package Link https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/details.aspx?id=57342

NOTE:

You should not launch Volume License Manager when activating Office products or when trying to enter a KMS License key for Office products, Instead when executing the Office Package it will launch it for you and all you have to do is Enter the Office license key and restart Microsoft Windows Client to get Office activated.

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Verifying KMS is Working:

To check if KMS is working on the end user’s side we need to get our hands on one of those clients, restart the user’s PC and then launch one of Office apps and see if it’s activated or not. The condition for the End user is that they need to be domain joined to acquire a license from KMS server.

It gets activated right after a restart!

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Reference

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/deployoffice/vlactivation/configure-a-kms-host-computer-for-office

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/deployoffice/vlactivation/activate-office-by-using-active-directory

Use Group Based Licensing to Active Office 365 Users

The Story

I got a request to place users into Security Groups for management purposes, The client have already users active but many of those users have left the work place and still have E3 or E1 Licenses which they should not have since this is pricey licenses and backing up users details is the easiest and most cost effective way of handling this.

So, To start (Prerequisites):

The Group based licensing management is a new feature, Was introduced in 2019 and not many people know that it is there however, This feature doesn’t come for free as you know (Since it’s Microsoft) and you must have a license for it or at least have users with E3 licensing model. So the requirements are:

  • – Azure AD Premium P1 or Higher
  • – Office 365 E3 or Higher.
  • – EMS or Higher.

How does it work?

In order for you to get this to work  you need to make sure you have planned from where you want to manage those groups and their licenses, Online? Or On-Premises?

IF Online

If you’re going to do this online, then you need to create a group for each Licensing Model which represents the intended License and its users e.g. Office365-E1 is going to be created as a security group and dedicated to E1 License users.

Office365-E3 will also be created the same way and users of License type E3 will be added to it.

If On-Premises

If you’re going to manage those groups on-premises, Then you must have ADConnect (Azure AD Sync) tool to sync those groups after creating them.

In my case I have created those groups in the following manner:

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After creating those groups, You will need to sync them to Office 365 using ADConnect. To force this to sync immediately fire up Powershell on Azure Connect Server and type

Start-ADSyncSyncCycle -PolicyType delta

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What If I have users already assigned with License?

If you have users already assigned licenses and want to manage them using Group Based licensing then you’re going to have to get a list of all your users with their Licenses information into a CSV file and Import those users to the groups you created base on the license they have.

I created a PowerShell that would match user’s names and based on the license mentioned in the CSV file would add them to the relevant group but first you need to export Users from Office 365.

Export Users and their license from Office 365

First of all we’ll connect to Office 365 MSOL Service using Online Powershell

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Get-MsolUser -All |Where {$_.IsLicensed -eq $true } |Select DisplayName,UsageLocation,@{n="Licenses Type";e={$_.Licenses.AccountSKUid}},SignInName,UserPrincipalName,@{n="ProxyAddresses";e={$_.ProxyAddresses}}| Export-csv -Path C:ExportlicenseUsage.csv -notype

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So this is how my CSV look right after I exported the users, We need to do some tuning on this CSV file to clean it and get it ready for our PowerShell.

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There are total of 6 columns in this folder, If for whatever reason you wanted to use the ProxyAddress to distinguish users feel free to keep them in the script but in my case I didn’t need them so I deleted the entire column.

So I will keep the following (Remove Spacing between License Type)

  • DisplayName
  • UsageLocation
  • LicenseType
  • SignInName
  • UserPrincipalName

The Value of the License Type is usually formatted like this “TenantName: License” and in order to make this column useful I am going to remove the Tenant name from all the cells.

Find and Replace can easily remove and clean these values for you.

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After cleaning the column, this is how it looks

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This should be useful for us now along with the PowerShell to add the users to their relevant groups.

On Active Directory from an elevated PowerShell

Run PowerShell ISE  from a privileged account and copy + paste this script in ISE,

$ImportedUsers = Import-csv "C:\Users\AD\Desktop\ExportlicenseUsage.csv"

Foreach ($ImportedUser in $ImportedUsers){
$License = $ImportedUser.LicensesType
$E3 = "E3-Office365"
$E1 = "E1-Office365"
$EMS = "EMS-Office365"
$Sam = $ImportedUser.SamAccountName
$ImportedUPN = $ImportedUser.UserPrincipalName

$AllUsers = Get-ADUser -Filter * -Properties *
Foreach ($User in $AllUsers)
{
$UPN = $User.UserPrincipalName

if($user.UserPrincipalName -eq $ImportedUPN -and $License -match "EMS")
{
Add-ADGroupMember -Identity $EMS -Members $Sam
Write-Host $($UPN) "User has EMS License and has been added to the Group EMS" -ForegroundColor DarkGreen -BackgroundColor White
}
ElseIf ($user.UserPrincipalName -eq $ImportedUPN -and $License -Contains "STANDARDPACK")
{
Add-ADGroupMember -Identity $E1 -Members $Sam
Write-Host $($UPN) "User has E1 License and has been added to the Group E1" -ForegroundColor black -BackgroundColor green
}
ElseIf ($user.UserPrincipalName -eq $ImportedUPN -and $License -Contains "ENTERPRISEPACK")
{
Add-ADGroupMember -Identity $E3 -Members $Sam
Write-Host $($UPN) "User has E3 License and has been added to the Group E3" -ForegroundColor Blue -BackgroundColor White
}
}
}

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Enabling Group Based License from Azure Portal

After this script finishes, I can open Azure Portal

From Azure Active Directory > Licenses > All Products

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I will choose the license which I want to assign to a group of which I have created on my on-premises AD

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Click on the License (Office 365 E1)  and choose Assign from top menu

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Make sure you select assignment options and customize the license according to the products you want your group members to use then click on Users and Groups and select the relevant Group which you’ve created (In my case it’s E1-Office365)

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Here, The group has been assigned

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Click assign and you should be done

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We will do the same for E3 Users

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NOTE

From now on, Removing any user from this group will revoke their license and any service connected to it, You must be very careful when removing users from this group.

Microsoft has done great job covering this thoroughly and in a great detail including Scripts to be able to do many things like grabbing users who have an inherited license from a group or manually assigned. I am writing down the references if you’re more curious into these.

References:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/users-groups-roles/licensing-groups-assign

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/users-groups-roles/licensing-ps-examples