Troubleshooting Microsoft Office Activation

Microsoft Office volume license editions have used the Volume License 2.0 mechanism to manage activation since Office 2010. Microsoft Office will activate against our campus Key Management Service (KMS), without user intervention, in a manner similar to the way current versions of Windows activate.

Occasionally, the activation process doesn’t work. Problems are usually related to network communication with the KMS. Below are some steps to identify and resolve problems that might occur during activation.

Gather Information.

Gathering data is essential to fixing problems. If you ask me (or other IT staff) for help with Office activation, the first thing I will ask from you is the output of the commands in the steps below.There are a few steps that will make it easy to collect all the output of your troubleshooting steps.

  • Open an elevated Command Prompt (Run As Administrator)
  • Run cscript /h:cscript, which changes the default script host to cscript, so that output will go to the command prompt instead of a pop-up dialog box.
  • Change the Properties of the command prompt window to increase the Screen Buffer
    height to, say, 3000 lines. This will prevent you losing earlier steps as the lines scroll off the screen.

When you are ready to copy the text from the command prompt, right-click the title bar of the window, select Edit > Select All, and then Control-C to Copy the text to the clipboard. Then you can paste the text to any place you want; an email message, a footprint entry, or a text file in notepad. (No need for images pasted into Word documents; please no!)

Several of the following step use the ospp.vbs script. The location of this script depends on the version of Office (2010, 2013, or 2016; 32-bit or 64-bit), and the version of Windows (32-bit or 64-bit). The recommended installation is the 32-bit version of Office on a 64-bit version of Windows. In this case, the path to ospp.vbs is:

Office 2010 C:\program files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\ospp.vbs
Office 2013 C:\program files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15\ospp.vbs
Office 2016 C:\program files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16\ospp.vbs

1. Run ospp.vbs /dstatus to show the current Office activation status

An example of a successfully activated installation of Office 2016:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16>ospp.vbs /act
Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.812
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

---Processing--------------------------
---------------------------------------
PRODUCT ID: 00339-10000-00000-AA794
SKU ID: d450596f-894d-49e0-966a-fd39ed4c4c64
LICENSE NAME: Office 16, Office16ProPlusVL_KMS_Client edition
LICENSE DESCRIPTION: Office 16, VOLUME_KMSCLIENT channel
LICENSE STATUS:  ---LICENSED---
REMAINING GRACE: 179 days  (259185 minute(s) before expiring)
Last 5 characters of installed product key: WFG99
Activation Type Configuration: ALL
        KMS machine name from DNS: kms1.campus.ad.uvm.edu:1688
        Activation Interval: 120 minutes
        Renewal Interval: 10080 minutes
        KMS host caching: Enabled
---------------------------------------
---------------------------------------
---Exiting-----------------------------

Note the remaining grace days. An activation is good for 180 days (six months). Office will renew the activation every seven days, bumping the remain grace days back to 180.

Office 2010’s license status before activation looks like this:

C:\>"Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OSPP.VBS" /dstatus
Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.8
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
---Processing--------------------------
---------------------------------------
SKU ID: 6f327760-8c5c-417c-9b61-836a98287e0c
LICENSE NAME: Office 14, OfficeProPlus-KMS_Client edition
LICENSE DESCRIPTION: Office 14, VOLUME_KMSCLIENT channel
LICENSE STATUS: ---OOB_GRACE---
ERROR CODE: 0x4004F00C
ERROR DESCRIPTION: The Software Licensing Service reported that the application
is running within the valid grace period.
Last 5 characters of installed product key: H3GVB
REMAINING GRACE: 20 days (29077 minute(s) before expiring)
---------------------------------------
---------------------------------------
---Exiting-----------------------------

The Out-Of-Box (OOB) grace period is 30 days. We can tell that this installation is the correct version of Office (“Office 14, COLUME_KMSCLIENT channel”). The next step is to determine whether there’s a problem with communications between this system and the KMS server.

2. Run ipconfig /all to collect information about the current network configuration

C:\>ipconfig /all
[...]
Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

    Connection-specific DNS Suffix . : localdomain
    Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Network Connection
    Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-0C-29-9C-67-CE
    DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
    Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes
    Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::102c:2249:dac0:46e%11(Preferred)
    IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.81.134(Preferred)
    Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
    Lease Obtained. . . . . . . . . . : Friday, December 10, 2010 10:15:36 AM
    Lease Expires . . . . . . . . . . : Friday, December 10, 2010 10:45:34 AM
    Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.81.2
    DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.81.254
    DHCPv6 IAID . . . . . . . . . . . : 234884137
    DHCPv6 Client DUID. . . . . . . . : 00-01-00-01-14-85-C5-C0-00-0C-29-06-6D-3B
    DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.81.2
    Primary WINS Server . . . . . . . : 192.168.81.2
    NetBIOS over Tcpip. . . . . . . . : Enabled
[...]

Communication with the KMS is restricted to the UVM networks, including Wifi and VPN. As you review the network configuration, look for nonstandard IP addresses and DNS servers. In particular, some NAT configurations interfere with activation.

3. Run this DNS query to make sure the system can locate the KMS.

c:\nslookup -q=srv _vlmcs._tcp
Server:  ns1.uvm.edu
Address:  132.198.201.10

_VLMCS._tcp.campus.ad.uvm.edu   SRV service location:
          priority       = 0
          weight         = 0
          port           = 1688
          svr hostname   = kms1.campus.ad.uvm.edu
ad.uvm.edu      nameserver = ns1.uvm.edu
ad.uvm.edu      nameserver = ns2.uvm.edu
kms1.campus.ad.uvm.edu  internet address = 132.198.102.40
ns1.uvm.edu     internet address = 132.198.201.10
ns2.uvm.edu     internet address = 132.198.202.10

(Note the space between srv and _vlmcs)

4. Run ping kms1.campus.ad.uvm.edu

C:\>ping kms1.campus.ad.uvm.edu
Pinging kms1.campus.ad.uvm.edu [132.198.102.40] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 132.198.102.40: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=127
Reply from 132.198.102.40: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=127
Reply from 132.198.102.40: bytes=32 time=6ms TTL=127
Reply from 132.198.102.40: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=127

Ping statistics for 132.198.102.40:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 2ms, Maximum = 6ms, Average = 3ms

5. Run ospp.vbs /act to trigger office activation.

C:\>"Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14"\ospp /act
Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.8
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
---Processing--------------------------
---------------------------------------
Installed product key detected - attempting to activate the following product:
SKU ID: 6f327760-8c5c-417c-9b61-836a98287e0c
LICENSE NAME: Office 14, OfficeProPlus-KMS_Client edition
LICENSE DESCRIPTION: Office 14, VOLUME_KMSCLIENT channel
Last 5 characters of installed product key: H3GVB
ERROR CODE: 0xC004F074
ERROR DESCRIPTION: The Software Licensing Service reported that the computer cou
ld not be activated. No Key Management Service (KMS) could be contacted. Please
see the Application Event Log for additional information.
To view the activation event history run: cscript OSPP.VBS /dhistorykms
---------------------------------------
---------------------------------------
---Exiting-----------------------------

It will either activate successfully, or return an error code. This information needs to be included in requests for assistance. Sometimes, the output will include a description of error code; other times, it will tell you to run another command to get the verbose description.

At this point, if you’ve ruled-out network communications issues and still there are errors, we ask that you create a footprint and include all the output from the commands above.

References:

Volume activation for Office 2013
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee705504.aspx

Volume activation for Office 2016
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee624350(v=office.16).aspx

6 thoughts on “Troubleshooting Microsoft Office Activation

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