KMS & AD Based Activation

What is KMS?


KMS, or Key Management Services, is the deprecated method to activate licenses within an environment. A KMS server is deployed and then configured for each product that needs to be licensed (i.e Server, Office, Windows 10 etc). Then, for each product, a public KMS key is used to tell that product to activate against the KMS server in the environment. KMS is ideal for large or isolated environments that may have issues activating products with MAKs (multiple activation keys).

What is AD Based Activation?

AD Based Activation was introduced with Server 2016 and represents the next generation of KMS. One shortcoming of KMS is that it was installed on a single server and thus was a single point of failure. AD Based Activation serves the same purpose as KMS but instead, it stores it’s activation information within AD and replicates it to all other DCs thus eliminating the single point of failure. The one catch to the AD Based Activation is that it can only be used to activate software for the following products:

  • Server 2016+
  • Windows 10+
  • Office 2016+

If you need to activate older versions of these products then you need to use KMS to do so.

Microsoft 70-533 (2018 Edition) – How to Pass

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Microsoft 70-533, which is named Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions is a great all-around Azure exam or an intro to Azure exam. It requires decent Azure knowledge but is still broad enough that it doesn’t go deep on many different topics. The Microsoft 70-533 exam is frequently taken as part of the requirements to earn a Cloud MCSA/MCSE. I would recommend this exam to any traditional infrastructure admins who are looking to get started with Azure. However, you should keep in mind that this exam puts a lot of emphasis on CLI based commands and can quickly push a more traditional admin out of their comfort zone. Just remember, that’s why you’re here, to broaden your skills.

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OMG, MSDTC Ran Out of Memory!


I opened Component Services and browsed to Computers and My Computer. When I right-click My Computer and click the MSDTC tab I run into an out of memory error message.


This is because the registry on your server is pointing to a default DTC that no longer exists. To resolve this problem you need to update the registry with the GUID of the new DTC. To do this follow these steps:

  • Open Services.msc and locate your DTC
  • Notice that when you open the services properties you will see the GUID of your DTC in the Path to Executable field
    • Document or copy this GUID












  • Now open regedit
  • Browse to HKLM\Cluster\ResourceTypes\Distributed Transaction Coordinator
    • Backup this key
  • Edit the Cluster Default Resource property and paste in the GUID you copied from the previous step





  • Now attempt to access the MSDTC tab and verify the out of memory error message disappears and that your DTC is now listed under Default DTC.


Setting RDS/TS Licensing Server via WMI results in “Invalid Operation”

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So I was chugging right along, I issued a command like the one below and then all of a sudden I received an “Invalid Operation” error. What should I try to resolve this error?

$obj = gwmi -namespace “Root/CIMV2/TerminalServices” Win32_TerminalServiceSetting



  1. Ensure that your account is a local admin on the server
  2. Ensure that you are launching Powershell as an administrator
  3. Ensure that Group Policy is not preventing you from making this change
    1. Browse to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates, Windows Templates, Terminal Services

Note: This “invalid operation” error can also appear when using the RemoveLSFromSpecifiedLicenseServerList and EmptySpecifiedLicenseServerList methods.


Enable Fancy Permalinks in WordPress on IIS


The majority of self-hosted WordPress installations use Apache as opposed to IIS. Therefore, when it came time to change the permalinks for it was a little trickier. That combined with the lack of documentation turned a rather simple process into a few hours of troubleshooting. The guide below is intended to streamline this process for anyone in the future.


  • Ensure that URL Re-Write is installed in IIS
    • This can be checked via the IIS Administration console, there should be an icon for URL Re-Write as seen here.
  • Browse to the root directory where WordPress is installed
    • This folder should contain files such as wp-config.php and wp-settings.php
  • Create/edit the web.config file
    • If creating the web.config file ensure it is created with UTF-8 encoding. Notepa++ is great for easily identifying the encoding for a text file.

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Gain Administrative Access to a SQL Instance



If a user requires administrative access to a SQL instance they can easily gain administrative access as long as the following is true:

  • The user is an administrator on the Windows Server that host the SQL instance
  • SQL Server Management Studio is installed on the Windows Server
  • PSExec can be copied to the Windows Server


  • Download PSExec and copy it locally to the SQL Server
  • Login to the SQL server with an administrative account
  • Find the installation location of SQL Management Studio
    • Typically somewhere under C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\
    • The name of the .exe is SSMS.exe

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