Windows 2008 R2 Activation blues

Its taken me a while to find this but now its blindingly obvious. We are testing R2 as it has some advanced Terminal Server (now Remote Desktop Services) that we are interested in. We have a number of 2008 (R1?) servers and an activation server with a KMS key that works OK.

Now comes the hard part. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of recovering your KMS keys from the R1 activation server then you need to

1. SP2 the R1 server
2. Apply the appropriate hotfix to permit R1 servers to activate R2 (and Windows 7) machines.

You got through the change control process (you do have one don’t you?) and apply all these changes to your licensing server including the new R2 KMS key.

Full of expectation and jumping on the R2 server you hit

slmgr -ato

and get rewarded with a 0xC004F074 error. I have tried a couple of times to find this but eventually Googled “Security-SPP 0xC004F074”. This lead me to

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee355153.aspx where at the end of Table 10 – it finally pointed to Table 11.

This is the “gold” document – it enabled me to decypher the error code in the 12288 message.

Cutting a long story short. The string has a value of 5 where I have only 1 R2 server in the farm.

I don’t understand this. I already have 10+ 2008 servers in my farm but now MS needs me to build 5 R2 servers to go through the “minimum number” procedure again to get activation to work again.

I’m finding the MS Licensing/Activation regime to be hard work. This has taken about 8 hours to get this far (with service packs etc) and I still have even more work to do to get my systems activated. I’ve already crossed the #5 threshold once – why do I have to do this again?