Server 2022 KMS host key bug; Can't activate Win10 Enterprise LTSB/LTSC

Steel Contributor

We recently dropped our new Server 2022 KMS host key onto our KMS server. After the necessary update to accept the 2022 key and activating the new 2022 host key, we were able to activate our most common OS types in a quick test afterward -- Win10 Education 21H1, Server 2022, Server 2019, etc.

In the next few days, and even more today, we've been getting reports that Win10 Enterprise LTSB/LTSC  across some signage devices and laboratory machines stopped activating. Sure enough, I could reproduce the issue from a known good network.

Just this morning I spun up entirely fresh VMs and verified all the above is still reproducible with the following results:


Windows Server 2022 = Successfully activated

Windows Server 2019 = Successfully activated

Windows Server 2016 = Successfully activated

Windows 10 Education 21H1 = Successfully activated

Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021 = FAILED ACTIVATION (0xC004F074: License server reported that the computer could not be activated.)

Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 = FAILED ACTIVATION (0xC004F074: License server reported that the computer could not be activated.)

Windows 10 Enterprise 2016 LTSB = FAILED ACTIVATION (0xC004F074: License server reported that the computer could not be activated.)

Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSB = Successfully activated (odd, after the previous two)

Windows 8.1 Enterprise = Successfully activated

Windows 7 Enterprise = Successfully activated

Anyone else seeing this or could possibly test and confirm? I feel like this **has** to be a bug with 2022 host keys, but it's so new that I can't find anyone else in the same boat. I have a Premier ticket open for this.

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112 Replies
Error code 0xC004F074 indicates that Key Management Service [1] could not be contacted during the activation procedure.

Ensure the Windows 10 LTSC client has proper cummilative updated.

Hardcode the software protection KMS registry on the client devices to KeyManagementServiceName to refer the KMS Hostname

Registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SoftwareProtectionPlatform

use slmgr /skms KMSservername
slmgr /ato

if problem repeats use VLMSC management on KMS server and locate the device search and activate forcibly else redeploy the client device with proper updates.

By theory when you host VLMSC on 2022 OS then following clients will be supported.

CSVLK group CSVLK can be hosted on Windows editions activated by this KMS host
Volume License for Windows Server 2022
Windows Server 2022
Windows Server 2019
Windows Server 2016
Windows Server 2022 (all editions)
Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel
Windows Server 2019 (all editions)
Windows Server 2016 (all editions)
Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019
Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC N 2019
Windows 10 LTSB (2015 and 2016)
Windows 10 Professional
Windows 10 Enterprise
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations
Windows 10 Education
Windows Server 2012 R2 (all editions)
Windows 8.1 Professional
Windows 8.1 Enterprise
Windows Server 2012 (all editions)
Windows Server 2008 R2 (all editions)
Windows Server 2008 (all editions)
Windows 7 Professional
Windows 7 Enterprise
Test cases were already being manually pointed to our host using slmgr /skms [host]:1688

Issues recurs on those editions while still fully patched. (Note that wholly unpatched downlevel OSs like Win7 and Win8.1, Win10 2015 LTSB activate fine)
We are having this issue as well. We have a large fleet of LTSC endpoints and are seeing the 0xC004F074 error message on both the client and the KMS host logs for LTSC and LTSB enpoints. All other OS and Office activations are processing normally. The LTSC endpoints are even activating their Office install successfully, proving that communication with the KMS is successful.

Same here, after re-applying KMS Host Key for Server 2019 (Hosted on Server 2019), everything went back to normal, Even Windows 10 LTSB 2016 was activated again. Must be a BUG in Server 2022 KMS Host Key...

Appreciate the confirmation from you guys. For what it's worth, I also have confirmation of the bug from Microsoft, they stated they could reproduce the issue on their end. Currently awaiting resolution.

@ajc196 Do you have the bug reference from MS? We've just hit this and if we can add our voice to the crowd...




Nick Cole

I was never given any reference number to the bug, unfortunately.

I was updated yesterday though that the devs identified a working fix, and that they are completing final testing to make sure it doesn't break anything. They were not sure of an ETA or the ship vehicle for said fix. (That was the response when I asked for an ETA and if if this would be rolled into a cumulative update that would be installed on KMS hosts, or if something is changing in Microsoft's end with activation servers where we'd need to reinsert a host key)

@ajc196 do you have any news on this issue? We're experiencing the same :(

No news, still awaiting word from support on release date/ship vehicle for the fix.
Last update I got is that a fix was flighted in Windows Insider on 9/30 and must be out for 2 weeks before they can schedule a public release. I presume this is in reference to Windows Server Insider and the fix will be rolled into a future cumulative update to be applied on KMS hosts.
Any updates on this or maybe an ETA?
I also have a Premier case open about this, they said they hope it'll be fixed by New Year's.

In any case for now we setup another KMS which is activated with the 2019 host key and that one can activate anything so we're not stressing this anymore.
Hi everybody,
What are your cons for not using ADBA and VAMT (where necessary) instead, like ESU etc?

@ajc196 Same issue here.  If you could post when the official update has been published that would be greatly appreciated!

Update as of today contained two points:

1) Fix will be release for Server 2016 in week 2 of March 2022, and Server 2019 in week 3 of February 2022.

2) Microsoft has no reports of this behavior on a Server 2022 KMS host + 2022 key. (So either no one has spun up a new enough host to report this yet on anything other than a downlevel OS, or perhaps Server 2022 isn't affected)

I think I'm at the point where I'm going to snapshot my KMS host, upgrade to Server 2022, and see what happens.

Thanks for the update. I am definitely interested in the outcome of the OS upgrade as I'd likely do the same. I can't believe this issue won't be resolved for 2019 hosts until February!