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This article contains information about XenDesktop Support Statement for Microsoft KMS and MAK Activation with Machine Creation Services MCS.


This article contains information about Citrix XenDesktop 5.x and 7.x support statement for Microsoft KMS and MAK activation with Machine Creation Services (MCS).


XenDesktop 5 introduced a new technology for creating virtual desktops easily for the VDI use case. This is referred as Machine Creation Services (MCS).

  • For XenDesktop 5.x, KMS activation is supported with the following workaround below.
  • For XenDesktop 7.x, KMS activation is supported.?? See Prepare an image in Citrix Documentation?? for more information.
Note: XenDesktop 5.x with Provisioning Services 5.6 Service Pack 1 or higher fully supports the use of Windows 7 KMS and MAK activation

KMS Activation Support

The following procedure applies to XenDesktop 5.x.
The following procedure is tested and fully supported by Citrix.??

Creating a Master Image

To create a master image, complete the following steps:

  1. Create a master image virtual machine and install Windows, Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA), and all softwares required.?? Shut down the image.??

  2. Make a snapshot of this master image.

  3. Start the Virtual Machine and rearm it using slmgr /rearm.?? Shut down the image again.

  4. Make another snapshot of the Virtual Machine. Add a note that this is the rearmed image.

  5. Use the second (rearmed) snapshot as the master image for creating a catalog.

  6. When the MCS-created Virtual Machines start, they will request activation from the KMS server using a unique identity. After 25 total virtual machines are started, the KMS server is activated because it has reached its minimum machine activation count.

?? Updating a Master Image

To update a master image, complete the following steps:

  1. Create a new Virtual Machine from the first unarmed master image snapshot (from Step 2), or revert the current virtual machine to that snapshot.

  2. Start the virtual machine and make the required changes (drivers, software, and so on), and then shut down the image.

  3. Take a snapshot of this updated master image. If the original virtual machine was reverted to the unarmed snapshot in Step 7, then two snapshots of the master Virtual Machine in unarmed status exist (the one originally created in Step 2) which can be deleted, and this new snapshot with the updates.

  4. Start the virtual machine and proceed to rearm it with slmgr /rearm (repeat Step 3). Shut down the Virtual Machine when complete.

  5. Take a snapshot of the newly rearmed master image. If the original Virtual Machine was reverted to the unarmed snapshot in Step 7,?? two snapshots of the master Virtual Machine in armed status exist. The original snapshot of the rearmed Virtual Machine created in step 4, which can be deleted and the new snapshot created with the updates.

  6. Update the catalog to use the new rearmed master image from Step 11.

Note: Every time you make updates, you must go back to the master image that has not been armed, because there is a limit of three rearms per machine. Do not restart the master images that have been rearmed, as this completes the rearm process.

MAK Activation Support

Currently MAK-based Windows 7 activation is not supported with any version of MCS. In addition, Personal vDisk (PvD) at the moment does not support MAK activation, whether using MCS or Provisioning Services.

Additional Resources

Citrix Documentation - Configuring Microsoft KMS Volume Licensing
Citrix Documentation - Configuring Microsoft MAK Volume Licensing
Citrix Documentation -?? Configuring a vDisk for Microsoft Volume Licensing
CTX140734?? -?? Error:“Preparation of the Master VM Image failed” Creating MCS Catalog in XenApp/XenDesktop
CTX128276 -?? Configuring KMS Licensing for Windows and Office 2010 and 2013
CTX132721 - MCS Windows VDA Error: "You must restart your computer to apply these changes"????
Microsoft Technet -?? KMS Activation
Microsoft Technet -?? How to troubleshoot Volume Activation error codes


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