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Thread: What do the different types of Microsoft Product Keys means ?

  1. #1
    nitinagarwal1988's Avatar
    nitinagarwal1988 is offline Microsoft MVP
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    Lightbulb What do the different types of Microsoft Product Keys means ?

    Many times you heard that there are OEM Licenses, Retail products keys, Academic Keys etc. and some of us really confused that what is the real difference between these keys. They all are the keys of a same product but why are they categorized like that ?

    The Product keys of Microsoft products are categorized on the basis of there customers. Below is a listing of Product Key types, along with descriptions. Some keys are only available to certain customer types.

    Key type shown in UI/Description

    CUS -This custom key requires special actions to activate or install.

    MAK -This volume license key (MAK) allows multiple activations.

    RTL -This retail key allows multiple activations.

    STA -This setup key bypasses activation.

    VL1 -This is a VA 1.0 key

    OEM -This is an Original Equipment Manufacturer key that allows multiple activations.

    AAA -This retail key is for AA* programs and allows one activation. These keys are issued in batches.

    AAL -This lab use key is for AA programs and allows multiple activations.**

    AAM -This is a multiple activation key for AA program customers.

    AV1 -This volume license key (VA 1.0) is for AA programs and allows multiple installations.

    AV2 -This volume license key (KMS) is for Academic Alliance programs.

    *AA = Academic Alliance

    IMPORTANT - If you use products that require activation, many allow you to go 30 days without activating. If you re-image your computers more frequently than every 30 days, you may want to consider NOT activating them in these cases - if you have that option based on the product you are installing.


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    HappyAndyK's Avatar
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    Nice informative post

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    Cithel is offline Senior Member
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    Cool post, keep in mind that the different license types allow different numbers of "multiple activations".

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    tweakwindows's Avatar
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    Handy list.

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    LeeW is offline Gold Member
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    Nice. I have often seen some of these and had no idea what they meant as far as licensing to whom and why you would need them

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    james121 is offline New Member
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    Thanks for this important info. Its very helpful of all of us. I am going to bookmark this page.
    Last edited by james121; 12th January 2010 at 06:58.

  7. #7
    nitinagarwal1988's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone....

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    leofelix is offline Member
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    Very informative, thank you

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    Bellaar's Avatar
    Bellaar is offline Windows Enthusiast
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    Thank You! I've printed this page for future reference.

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    HappyAndyK's Avatar
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