Automatic Virtual Machine Activation (AVMA) on Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter

Automatic Virtual Machine Activation (AVMA) is a new feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 which allows you to activate guest virtual machines automatically, when you have a Hyper-V host that is running Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter. This is a pretty awesome feature, especially in a test lab environment when you may have a Technet (RIP) or MSDN Datacenter product key, and don’t want to use up all of your activations on temporary guests. This is how I manage my lab at home, which consists of 2 HP Microservers with 16GB of RAM in each:

  • Install your Hyper-V hosts with Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter and activate using a valid key
  • Add the Hyper-V role
  • Install guests running one of the following Operating Systems:
    • Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter
    • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
    • Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials
  • During setup, either paste in the key below or add it to your unattend files
  • When you logon, you will find that Windows is already activated!
  • Note that you could also do this after installation, if you skipped entering a key during setup (see this post on how to do that), either entering it manually when activating, or use slmgr /ipk <AVMA_key>

These are the keys that Microsoft provide for use with AVMA:

Edition AVMA key
Datacenter Y4TGP-NPTV9-HTC2H-7MGQ3-DV4TW
Essentials K2XGM-NMBT3-2R6Q8-WF2FK-P36R2


In my lab setup, I run sysprep on the first VM that I create, generalise and shut it down, and then create further VMs using a differencing disk with this as the master. This saves a lot of disk space. All the VMs using this template are then activated automatically with no further configuration required.

See for more information.

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