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Citrix XenDesktop 5 Support Statement for Microsoft KMS and MAK Activation with Machine Creation Services (MCS)


This article contains information about Citrix XenDesktop 5 Support Statement for Microsoft KMS and MAK activation with Machine Creation Services (MCS).


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

KMS Activation Support

KMS-based Windows 7 activation does not work with MCS by default, but the following workaround has been tested and is fully supported by Citrix.

Creating a Master Image

  • Create a master image virtual machine and install Windows, Virtual Desktop Agent, and all software required.
  • Make a snapshot of this master image.
  • Rearm this virtual machine using slmgr /rearm, and then shut down the virtual machine.
  • Make another snapshot of the virtual machine. Add a note that this is the rearmed image.
  • Use the second rearmed snapshot as the master image for creating a catalogue.
  • When the MCS-created Virtual Machines start, they will request activation from the KMS server using a unique identity. After 25 total Virtual Machines have been started, the KMS server is activated because it has reached its minimum machine activation count.

Updating a Master Image

  • Create a Virtual Machine from the first unarmed master image snapshot (from Step 2 above).
  • Make the required changes (drivers, software, etc).
  • Take a snapshot of this updated master image.
  • Rearm the new master image (slmgr /rearm).
  • Take a snapshot of the newly rearmed master image.
  • Update the catalogue to use the new rearmed master image.

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. Also, Personal vDisk (PVD) at the moment does not support MAK activation, whether using MCS or Provisioning Services.

More Information

XenDesktop 5 with Provisioning Services 5.6 Service Pack 1 or higher fully supports the use of Windows 7 KMS and MAK activation.

KMS Activation

Microsoft article on how to troubleshoot Volume Activation error codes

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