Windows: The Difference Between MAK and KMS Keys


When Microsoft released Windows Vista they also released a new volume licensing model using two different types of software license keys: MAK and KMS.

MAK stands for Multiple Activation Key.  Each MAK key is a good for a specific number of device activations.  You configure a MAK key by typing it in during Windows Setup or by changing it through the System dialog after installation. When you try to activate your MAK-configured software it will connect to Microsoft’s activation service, verify the key, and subtract 1 from the number of activations still available. Because activation counts are not “returned” when you wipe a hard drive or reinstall your operating system, MAK keys are best suited for situations where machines are not reinstalled or re-imaged often. MAK is most appropriate on clients that spend a significant amount of time disconnected from the corporate network.

KMS stands for Key Management Services.  Like MAK keys KMS keys are good for a specific number of activations.  The difference lies in how we configure and process KMS activation.

We configure KMS Clients (Windows Vista, 7, or 8 devices) with a generic product key that tells the Activation process to activate using KMS.  You must configure a server within your corporate network with the Software Licensing Service and your KMS key.  This is the only device that will actually need to connect to the Internet to verify its product key. Your clients will use DNS to find the licensing server and activate against it instead of connecting to Microsoft’s licensing service over the Internet.

KMS activations expire after a set period (180 days).  The “activation count” will automatically increase on the Software Licensing server and the client will see itself as not activated until it reconnects to the server and reactivates.  The advantage of this method is that you can’t permanently waste KMS keys through a constant cycle of re-imaging or OS reinstallation.  Eventually expired activations return to the KMS server and increase the available activation count.  The disadvantage is that KMS clients must reconnect to the licensing server on semi-regular basis. Configuring clients for KMS activation ( and the required KMS infrastructure on your network) is most appropriate for client devices that rarely if ever leave the corporate network.

In order to see what kind of key is installed on your systems, you can install the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) 2.0 from here, which will show you what MS products you have installed, their genuine status, expiration dates, and key type.



Outlook search stops working after updating to build 7870.2020 and higher

Last updated: March 30, 2017


After updating to builds 7870.2020 and 7870.2024, search stops working for PST files and POP accounts in Outlook 2016


A fix has been released for this issue in build 7870.2031. To install the fix, go to File > Office Account > Update Options > Update Now.

If you previously reverted to the older build, please re-enable updates by going to File > Office Account > Update Options >Enable Updates.



If you’re still experiencing the issue after the steps above, revert to the previous build, (16.0.7571.2109) to work around this issue. We’re working to resolve this issue and will update this article when a fix is available.

Here are the main steps to revert to the previous working version:

  1. Open a command prompt and run the following commands in order:

    cd %programfiles%\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\ClickToRun

    officec2rclient.exe /update user updatetoversion=16.0.7571.2109

  2. Open Outlook and click File > Office Account and set Update Options to Disable Updates.
  3. Add an appointment on your calendar for a month or more out to remind you to re-enable updates.

For more information, see: How to revert to an earlier version of Office 2013 or Office 2016 Click-to-Run.

PSA: New Processors Require Win10 to run Windows Update

“Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows” error when you scan or download Windows updates



When you try to scan or download updates through Windows Update, you receive the following error message:

Unsupported Hardware
Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows  and you won’t receive updates.

Additionally, you may see an error message on the Windows Update window that resembles the following:

Windows could not search for new updates
An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer.
Error(s) found:
Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error.


This error occurs because new processor generations require the latest Windows version for support. For example, Windows 10 is the only Windows version that is supported on the following processor generations:

  • Intel seventh (7th)-generation processors
  • AMD “Bristol Ridge”
  • Qualcomm “8996″

Because of how this support policy is implemented, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 devices that have a seventh generation or a later generation processor may no longer be able to scan or download updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Update.


We recommend that you upgrade Windows 8.1-based and Window 7-based computers to Windows 10 if those computers have a processor that is from any of the following generations:

  • Intel seventh (7th)-generation “Intel Core” processor or a later generation
  • AMD seventh (7th)-generation (“Bristol Ridge”) processor or a later generation
  • Qualcomm “8996″ processor or a later generation

That’s just dirty, Microsoft.

Granting write permission for calendar sharing with OWA 2010

Thoughtsofanidlemind's Blog

The calendar sharing feature introduced in Outlook Web App 2010 (OWA) allows a user to grant access to their calendar to another user. To access the option, click on the Share option when in the Calendar and then on Share This Calendar. You’ll then be able to select the user(s) that you want to share your calendar with and define the level of information you want the recipient to be able to see in your calendar.

Creating a message to inform the recipient that you’d like to share your calendar

The recipients see a message as shown below. To access the calendar, they simply click on the Add This Calendar link. OWA will then add the calendar to the list of available calendars and the user can then access your calendar whenever they want by simply clicking on the calendar’s entry to instruct OWA to open it.

The message…

View original post 511 more words

O365 – MAPI over HTTP Support & AD Connect Notices

Potential service disruption for Outlook for Windows users

On October 31st, 2017, Exchange Online mailboxes in Office 365 will require connections from Outlook for Windows use MAPI over HTTP, our new method of connectivity and transport between Outlook for Windows and Exchange.

In May of 2014, Microsoft introduced MAPI over HTTP as a replacement for RPC over HTTP. RPC over HTTP was a legacy connection protocol that is being deprecated from Exchange Online.

[How does this affect me?]
Beginning October 31, 2017, Outlook for Windows clients using RPC over HTTP will be unable to access their Exchange Online mailbox.

[What do I need to do to prepare for this change?]
The necessary action depends on the version of Outlook in use in your organization.

If you are using Outlook 2007 or earlier, you need to upgrade. Outlook 2007 does not contain support for the MAPI/HTTP protocol. We encourage you to update to the Office 365 ProPlus subscription, or access Outlook via the web browser (which is included in your current subscription plan).

Outlook 2010-2016 customers will need to ensure their version of Outlook for Windows is set up to support MAPI/HTTP. At a minimum, you should ensure you have installed the December 2015 update.

Lastly, ensure your Outlook clients are not using a registry key to block MAPI/HTTP.

We are replacing Windows Azure Active Directory Synchronization (“DirSync”) with Azure AD Connect in Office 365

Azure Active Directory (AD) Connect is the best way to connect your on-premises directory with Azure AD and Office 365. Azure AD Connect is replacing DirSync and Azure AD Sync and these two older sync engines are deprecated from April 13, 2016 reaching end of support April 13, 2017.

You are receiving this message because you are using DirSync, Azure AD Sync, or an Azure AD Connect installation released before 2016.

[How does this affect me?]
After April 13, 2017 you will no longer be able to open a support case without first upgrading to Azure AD Connect.

[What do I need to do to prepare for this change?]
You should upgrade your sync engine to Azure Active Directory Connect.

When Ctrl+Z Doesn’t Work


So I was transferring some pictures off of my Android phone, and even as an IT professional I still have a horrible habit of cutting and pasting instead of copying and pasting. I was literally on the last of about 50 files when for whatever reason, my cut and paste did not work and the file never showed up on my destination directory. Thinking that the file would still be in memory, I hit Ctrl+Z and went back to the source, to find that there was nothing there. Immediately – panic sets in. I mash Ctrl+Y, which only succeeds in creating a New Folder on my desktop.

The lessons here are that once you cut something from external media, it’s only in memory for that one time. If you try to undo wherever you paste it to, it will try to put nothing back to nowhere. Another lesson is that the transfer of files from one media to another is never a guarantee, and that Recuva or any other 3rd party recovery option is not going to be able to find those files. So don’t be an idiot like I did, and make sure you have everything successfully at your destination before you delete the source.