I have 3 windows 2012 R2 servers that our sys admin guys are having trouble getting to talk to our KMS server properly.

I'm sure in time they'll work out whatever issue they're having since we're properly licensed - but I'm wondering in the meantime how much of a grace period I have on these servers, and what happens after that grace period expires? I couldn't really find any concrete info for 2012 R2 - will it throttle the number of connections or put in place other limitations?

Windows 2012 is registering/licensing ok so depending on the grace period / consequences I may just go with that.


When the grace period expires, Windows typically will reboot every hour until activated. The grace period it would seem is 30 days (which can be re-armed). See below.

There is an article here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831612.aspx but it doesn't explicitly say what will happen, just says "The computers running Windows Server 2012 must connect within a 30-day period to active KMS client computers."

If they don't connect, it appears they will exhibit the same behavior a 2008 R2 server would. This is confirmed here: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/fb618fc8-2975-4a5e-b8ff-1b5cb74b2232/windows-server-2012-setup-grace-period-watermark-notification-where-is-the-official-documentation?forum=winserver8setup

The system runs fine. I can configure it and run anything I want on it. But after it hits its 30-day grace period, the system will only stay running for one hour, then it shuts down. If you reboot, you get another hour. You do get an entry in the event log. You can rearm the install to give you another 30 days, then the same thing happens. If I'm not mistaken, I think you can rearm once more for another 30 days.

  • thanks. can't really have that happening on any production servers so I guess I'll go with 2012. thanks. – bkr Nov 19 '13 at 20:47
  • There is a claim on Wikipedia regarding Windows activation that states that the 30-days grace period has been removed (albeit without citation). Is your answer referring to the case where you 1) don't enter the product key at all ("evaluation period", if I am right), or 2) the case where you enter the proper product key but are unable to access the internet to activate? We have a client which wants us to install a fresh 2012R2 in front of them, without ever connecting to the internet, for "safety reasons". – Groo Sep 16 '17 at 7:54
  • @Groo - the eval period is much longer (180 days). I'm referring to what the OP asked, KMS activation. You can easily install a Win 2012 R2 server with a license key (MAK key) without internet access, you just have to phone activate it. See here: blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/joscot/2014/10/15/… – TheCleaner Sep 18 '17 at 13:15

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