Automatic Virtual Machine Activation is a feature that handles the activation process for an instance of Windows Server inside a Hyper-V virtual machine, so it does not need to directly contact any other system to activate the Windows Server instance. Automatic Virtual Machine Activation is engineered to digitally facilitate the guest virtualization rights allowance of the Windows Server Datacenter license. If the physical host is properly licensed to run Windows Server Datacenter, then any number of virtual instances running the same or a lower edition and the same or earlier version of Windows Server is included.

The Requirements for Automatic Virtual Machine Activation:

You must have a Datacenter Edition of Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows 2016 installed as the management operating system with the Hyper-V role enabled. AVMA is a feature of the operating system, not Hyper-V itself.

Which guest operating systems are eligible for Automatic Virtual Machine Activation?

Below are the rules that dictate which guests are covered by Automatic Virtual Machine Activation:

  • Only Windows Server guests are covered by Automatic Virtual Machine Activation. No desktop operating systems are covered by any Windows Server guest virtualization right, so Automatic Virtual Machine Activation will not activate them.
  • Automatic Virtual Machine Activation does not work for guests prior to Windows Server 2012 R2, even though 2008, 2008 R2, and 2012 are still within their support windows and eligible for the guest virtualization rights offered by 2012 R2 and 2016.
  • Automatic Virtual Machine Activation does not cover Windows Server Foundation 2012 R2 because it is not covered under the Datacenter rights. There is no Foundation edition of Windows Server 2016.
  • Automatic Virtual Machine Activation in 2012 R2 will not activate any edition of Windows Server 2016.

Configuring a Virtual Machine for Automatic Virtual Machine Activation:

There is no true "configuration" for the virtual machine. When prompted for a license key, you simply give it the key that matches the operating system of the virtual machine. These keys will be accepted by any operating system instance with a corresponding version and edition, but if they do not detect the AVMA mechanism, they will transition to unlicensed mode.

Guest Operating System

Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials: K2XGM-NMBT3-2R6Q8-WF2FK-P36R2

Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard    DBGBW-NPF86-BJVTX-K3WKJ-MTB6V

Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter    Y4TGP-NPTV9-HTC2H-7MGQ3-DV4TW

Windows Server 2016 Essentials        B4YNW-62DX9-W8V6M-82649-MHBKQ

Windows Server 2016 Standard        C3RCX-M6NRP-6CXC9-TW2F2-4RHYD

Windows Server 2016 Datacenter    TMJ3Y-NTRTM-FJYXT-T22BY-CWG3J

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