I have a remote server which has an expired license. I can't currently add the new license because of a licensing server error so I need to reboot the machine.

My question is will I be able to remote desktop onto the machine and apply the new license or do I have to be physically at the server. I know an activation wizard usually appears and doesn't let you go any further but does this same wizard appear over remote desktop?

I don't really want to reboot the machine only for it to not come up again.


To give some more detail:

slmgr.vbs is in the windows\system32 directory. To add a product key, start a comand prompt, move to the windows\system32 directory and type: cscript slmgr.vbs -ipk "product key". To activate Windows type: cscript slmgr.vbs -ato.

  • This really is the easiest method, and I like it more than the awful GUI process. We do this for several hundred computers at our no-name school because acronyms like KMS confuse the management. – songei2f Aug 23 '10 at 14:31

Use remote capabilities of slmgr.vbs.


Try running remote desktop with the /admin switch. It should let you log on (like you would locally) just to enter the activation key.

Start->run->mstsc.exe /admin

See also: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/947723

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