Windows 10 Activation Failure


When attempting to activate volume license versions of Windows 10 you can often end up experiencing problems. This article will explain how to determine if this is the problem you’re experiencing as well as how to successfully activate Windows.

The Symptoms

With this issue, when you attempt to activate a volume license version of Windows 10 you receive the following screen saying that Windows can’t activate.

Activation Failed

Upon further investigation, we click the Error Details link and are presented with an “Error Code: 0x8007232B” as well as a message saying “Error Description: DNS name does not exist.”

Activation Failed Details

For this particular issue Microsoft says you could see any one of the following messages.

Error Message 1
Activation Error: Code 0x8007232b
DNS Name does not exist
Error Message 2
Windows could not be activated.
Key management services (KMS) host could not be located in domain name system (DNS), please have your system administrator verify that a KMS is published correctly in DNS.
Error: 0x8007232b
Description: DNS name does not exist.
Error Message 3
Error: 0x8007007B
The file name, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect

This problem can manifest itself when using the following Windows volume license media.

  • Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise
  • Windows 8.x Pro or Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2

The Solution

The underlying issue is that Windows is attempting to find a Key Management Service (KMS) via DNS. When it can’t find a KMS server it returns the message indicated above. From here there are two ways to get Windows activated.

Manual Activation

  1. Open a Command Prompt in Administrator mode (right-click Command Prompt, Run As Administrator)
  2. Type “slmgr /ipk {key}”, where {key} is your key number, and press Enter.
    • Example: slmgr /ipk 12345-12345-12345-12345Slmgr
  3. You should receive a message saying Windows was successfully activated.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Close the Command Prompt.
  6. If your System dialog is open, close and re-open it to see that Windows is activated.

Setup KMS Server

The other way to get Windows activated is to setup a KMS server. This article from Microsoft describes the process in detail.

Activate using Key Management Service


I hope this helped you get your system activated. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.


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