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Software Question


Microsoft KMS Licensing during work-from-home / social distancing

03/31/2020 635 views

I know it's not exactly a KACE issue, but has anyone come across any information regarding Microsoft Office (and for that matter, Windows) KMS licensing activation while working from home during COVID-19 social distancing?  I work in a school district where everyone is home, and we've had our first instance of a guidance counselor saying his Office license needs to be activated.  We can enter a MAK license for now, but we'd have to do that for every single person that gets this message.  We might have enough licenses... just wondering if anyone knows of anything Microsoft is doing to bypass this for now.  I don't know what they could do, since it's communication between our our device and our server, but maybe something?  The vast majority of laptops are not set up to VPN into the network (basically only administrators and secretaries).  Is anyone else experiencing the same thing?

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1

you need to make the KMS server public facing so external people can authenticate directly against it.

Answered 03/31/2020 by: Nico_K
Red Belt

  • Didn't realize that was an option - that'd be awesome. Will look into it.
  • Is this something that you've done? How do you prevent any random computer from authenticating to it?
    • if your systems are in the domain just check in the KMS for the DNS suffix of the domain.
      You can find more info in the whitepapers. A good idea may be using an Azure instance for that
1

We have a volume license agreement and normally use KMS, but Microsoft provides MAK licenses via the licensing portal. There is no charge for them but you do need to request them, from what I recall. I have a custom inventory rule in place to capture the license information:

ShellCommandTextReturn(cscript.exe c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /dli)

A Smart Label will identify machines that need activation based on the status containing "License Status: Notification".

A script that will license the computer targets that label runs every day. 

Similar rules and scripts could be configured for Microsoft Office, but we are an Office 365 school, so our licensing is in the cloud for that.

Answered 04/01/2020 by: chucksteel
Red Belt

  • This is a great workaround for now. I'm working on setting this up. Ultimately I think it'd be beneficial to authenticate based on AD with an outward facing server, but I'm still talking to our Domain Admin about that. Until then, I can look into this. Thanks!
 
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