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AddThis Social Bookmark Button O'Reilly Book Excerpts: Windows Server Cookbook

Cooking with Windows Server, Part 1

by Robbie Allen

In this excerpt from Robbie Allen's Windows Server Cookbook, Robbie shows you how to activate Windows Server 2003, how to find large folders and files on a volume, and how to hide a file or folder.

Activating Windows Server 2003


You want to activate or view the activation status of a Windows Server 2003 system. Microsoft requires that you activate Windows Server 2003 within 30 days of installation to validate you have a legal copy of the software.


Using a graphical user interface

  1. From the Start menu, select All Programs → Activate Windows.

  2. Select whether you want to activate by phone or over the Internet.

Using a command-line interface

The following command opens the Activation wizard described in the previous section:

> %systemroot%\system32\oobe\msoobe /a

There are no options that can activate the computer silently from the command line.

Using VBScript

' This code activates a Windows Server 2003 system.
strComputer = "."
boolActivateOnline = True  ' If this is true, boolActivateOffline should
                           ' be false
boolActivateOffline = False ' If this is true, boolActivateOnline should
                            ' be false
strOfflineConfirmationCode = "1234-5678" ' if Activating offline, you need
                                         ' specify a confirmation code
' ------ END CONFIGURATION ---------
set objWMI = GetObject("winmgmts:\\" & strComputer & "\root\cimv2")
set colWPA = objWMI.InstancesOf("Win32_WindowsProductActivation")
for each objWPA in colWPA
   WScript.Echo "Activation Settings:"
   Wscript.Echo "  Activation Required: " & objWPA.ActivationRequired
   Wscript.Echo "  Caption: " & objWPA.Caption
   Wscript.Echo "  Description: " & objWPA.Description
   Wscript.Echo "  Notification On: " & objWPA.IsNotificationOn
   Wscript.Echo "  Product ID: " & objWPA.ProductID
   Wscript.Echo "  Remaining Eval Period: " & objWPA.RemainingEvaluationPeriod
   Wscript.Echo "  Remaining Grace Period: " & objWPA.RemainingGracePeriod
   Wscript.Echo "  Server Name: " & objWPA.ServerName
   Wscript.Echo "  Setting ID: " & objWPA.SettingID
   if objWPA.ActivationRequired = True then
      if boolActivateOnline = True then
         intRC = objWPA.ActivateOnline
         if intRC <> 0 then
            WScript.Echo "Error activating online: " & intRC
            WScript.Echo "Successfully activated online"
         end if
      end if
      if boolActivateOffline = True then
         intRC = objWPA.ActivateOffline(strOfflineConfirmationCode)
         if intRC <> 0 then
            WScript.Echo "Error activating offline: " & intRC
            WScript.Echo "Successfully activated offline"
         end if
      end if
   end if


Microsoft estimates that it has lost billions of dollars due to pirated, or illegally copied, software. Microsoft Product Activation (MPA) is a new technology used to reduce software piracy. Microsoft has integrated MPA into their most recent operating systems (i.e., Windows XP and Windows Server 2003) and some consumer applications (e.g., Microsoft Office). MPA is designed to prevent casual copying. For example, let's say you buy a single copy of Windows XP from Best Buy, install it on your computer, and then lend the CD to a friend who installs it on his computer. The second copy is considered pirated and not legitimate under MPA.

MPA is an umbrella term for the various Microsoft activation technologies such as Windows Product Activation (WPA) and Office Activation Wizard (OAW). You can run an unactivated copy of Windows for up to 30 days before you must activate it to use the system further. Over those 30 days, you are periodically reminded to activate Windows via a pop-up window from the system tray. The longer you wait the more frequent these notifications become. And they can be down right aggravating if you don't plan to activate the system for a number of days. Fortunately, you can disable these notifications. Here is a small script that does it:

strComputer = "."
set objWMI = GetObject("winmgmts:\\" & strComputer & "\root\cimv2")
set colWPA = objWMI.InstancesOf("Win32_WindowsProductActivation")
for each objWPA in colWPA

Just don't forget that you still need to activate the system!

The activation process is an anonymous and relatively quick operation. No personally identifiable information is needed to activate the product. There are three different ways you can activate Windows. First, you can use a broadband connection over the Internet. This requires that ports 80 and 443 (HTTP and HTTPS) are open through your firewall, which if you use the Internet they undoubtedly are. Second, WPA can automatically connect to the Internet using a modem. And third, you can call a toll-free number to activate it over the phone.

If you have questions about WPA, see MS KB 302878, which is the MPA FAQ.

See Also

MS KB 291983 (Ports That Are Used by Windows Product Activation), MS KB 291997 (How to Activate Windows XP Using an Unattend.txt File), MS KB 302806 (Description of Microsoft Product Activation), MS KB 302878 (Frequently Asked Questions about Microsoft Product Activation), MS KB 325510 (Support WebCast: Microsoft Windows XP and Office XP: Understanding the New Mandatory Product Activation), and MS KB 326851 (Activation and Registration of a Microsoft Product)

Windows Server Cookbook

Related Reading

Windows Server Cookbook
For Windows Server 2003 & Windows 2000
By Robbie Allen

Pages: 1, 2, 3

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