To make sure that Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10, and Windows Server clones are properly activated when the clones are created, you must use Microsoft volume activation on the parent virtual machine. The volume-activation technology requires a volume license key.

To activate Windows with volume activation, you use Key Management Service (KMS), which requires a KMS license key. See your Microsoft dealer to acquire a volume license key and configure volume activation.


Multiple Activation Key (MAK) licensing is not supported.

Before you create an instant-clone or View Composer linked-clone desktop pool, you must use volume activation to activate Windows on the parent virtual machine.

The following steps describe how activation takes place:

  1. Invoke a script to remove the existing license.

  2. Restart Windows.

  3. Invoke a script that uses KMS licensing to activate Windows.

KMS treats each activated clone as a computer with a newly issued license.


If you set up a new KMS server and use QuickPrep to create linked-clone desktop pools, the KMS client count might not increment and the linked-clones might not be able to activate Windows. For more information, see the VMware Knowledge Base (KB) article