August 8 2011

KMS host server won’t activate clients

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Our KMS server had been running without issue for months until recently when I tried to activate another Windows Server 2008 R2 client (already 30+ in the environment) and it just wouldn’t activate, giving the error “”Error: 0xC004F074 The Software Licensing Service reported that the computer could not be activated. The Key Management Service (KMS) is unavailable”.”.

I decided to reinstall the KMS host key on the KMS server and tried to re-activate using “slmgr -ato”, however this gave an error also – “The activation server determined that the specified product key could not be used.” After doing some googling and spending hours trying to get some Microsoft help, it appears that there are limits on the number of times a KMS host can be activated (although the error message was completely useless and didn’t even remotely hint that this was the problem).

Anyway, in short – the solution was to email Microsoft via with:

  • KMS host key
  • Organisation name
  • Enrollment number
  • Number of additional activations you would like

Within about 2 business days Microsoft responded with “As requested, the number of KMS activations has been increased. The additional KMS host activations have been added to our production environment and are available for use. We appreciate your patience while we worked to fulfill your request.”

I then ran tried to re-activate using “slmgr -ato” on the KMS server – this time it was successful and the KMS clients could once again activate against the KMS host.


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August 9 2010

Installing SQL Server 2005 on a Windows Server 2008 R2 Cluster fails

We had an interesting problem on a recent project where SQL Server 2005 wouldn’t install on a Windows 2008 R2 failover cluster.
The cluster validates properly however when installing SQL Server 2005, the install  threw an “User has cancelled the installation” error.  The logs showed that communications to the remote node were failing:

Waiting for actions from remote setup(s)
Breaking wait state and aborting package due to cancel code received: 1602
Remote setup(s) are ready
Notify package action is determined: 1602
Error Code: 0x800700e9 (233)
Windows Error Text: No process is on the other end of the pipe.

The fix is outlined below:

  1. Make sure the task scheduler service is running on the remote cluster node. If the task scheduler service is a cluster resource, fail that resource over to the remote node.
  2. Open regedit and go to HKLMSystemCurrentControlSetControlLSA and change the “disabledomaincreds” from 1 to 0 on all clusters nodes, then reboot all nodes.


Category: Windows | LEAVE A COMMENT
February 19 2010

Windows 7 background image doesn’t apply

In an Active Directory domain network environment, you apply a “Desktop Wallpaper” Group Policy setting to the domain users. However, the setting is not applied to domain users who log on to client computers that are running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 – taken straight from the Microsoft support site.

I was having this problem in our domain environment and couldn’t understand why the background for non-admin users wouldn’t work. Microsoft have only recently release a hotfix for it -available from . I still find it amazing that this wasn’t found and fixed before the RTM build of Windows 7 – it’s so obvious. I guess there were millions of beta testers but probably not that many that were running it in enterprise domain environment.

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