The last few articles I’ve been posting recently typically have been based around the Citrix PVS technology and Microsoft KMS activation. This one is no exception. During my time with a recent client I came across a potential bug with PVS 7.6 that I’ve not experienced any previous versions of the product before.
If you are pretty new to PVS and KMS and think this might be relevant, I thoroughly recommend starting here before continuing. This excellent article gives you a great starting point for ensuring you are correctly creating your vDisk.
What’s The Issue?
When using PVS 7.6 and KMS activation with Windows and MS Office 2010/2013, KMS activation for both works correctly after the first import of a vDisk – you apply the KMS client key correctly, re-arm both Windows and Office, apply the relevant vDisk properties and during testing you find each target device receives a unique CMID for Office. You can see the key count on your KMS host increase with each successful activation.
However, when you create a new version of that vDisk, that and all subsequent versions (even after performing a merged base/version) breaks the KMS activation process and each streamed target device displays the same CMID. I have replicated this in two separate installs of KMS – one with a Windows 7 x86 vDisk, another with Windows Server 2008R2. In addition, the KMS license count on the KMS host does not increase with new activations as it should.
What’s Causing the Issue?
After running some diagnostics, doing a bit of online research and attempting to re-create the issue consistently, the root cause seems to be based around what option you select when you originally imported your master image and converted it to a vDisk using the Citrix PVS Imaging Wizard.
If you originally selected ‘KMS’ in the PVS Imaging Wizard, then everything should work as expected. However if you originally set this as ‘None’ and later decided to change the vDisk properties after conversion to KMS, then future ‘versions’ of the vDisk after the original base image will break KMS activation for that vDisk.
That’s fine and dandy to know going forwards for new installs, but what about if you have an existing vDisk that you want to convert to KMS Microsoft activation? Yeah, not such a great feature.
The only workaround that’s worked for me so far is to reverse image your vDisk, then re-import using the PVS Imaging Wizard and this time ensuring ‘KMS’ is selected. Once done, you need to re-arm both products via the usual method.
It is possible that by having to perform the rearming process again you will have reached the re-arm count limit for both Windows and/or Office. If so, check my other PVS & KMS article to reset this count.
It should be noted in PVS 7.1.3 and earlier I’ve not encountered this issue – only with 7.6.