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.

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.