Difference Between KMS and MAK

Microsoft offers some products to its users like Windows Vista, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Office 2008 and 2013, and many more other items.


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The company made a compulsion to use Volume Activation keys for activating the said items authentically on the different operating systems. The users have been provided with two options either to use Key Management System (KMS) or the Multiple Activation Key (MAK).


The difference between KMS and MAK is that Key Management System (KMS) allows its users and organizations to activate the different services offered by the company within there their own network. While comparatively, on the other hand, the Multiple Activation Key (MAK) method uses the company’s hosting services and then activates the different services on a one-time basis.


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KMS or the Key Management System is one of the Volume Activation Key provided by the Microsoft company that enables to activate the different services by them like the – Activation of Windows Office, Microsoft Windows, etc.

The activation of the services done by the KMS method ensures the authentic license by the Microsoft Company.

MAK or the Multiple Activation Key is also one of the Volume Activation Key that is provided by the Microsoft company that enables and activates the different services offered by them.

The process of licensing the product is different from that of KMS. The MAK offers only a single-time activation of the product hosted by the authentication server.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonKMSMAK
Full FormKey Management SystemMultiple Activation Key
First Time ActivationIt is an automatic process.It is not an automatic process and requires to use of ‘enter’ key
Hardware ChangeIt is automaticIt must require re-activation
Remote WorkstationsRequires WAN/VPNRe-activation doesn’t require. Thus, it never expires.
Servers Minimum CountAbout 5 computersNo minimum limit
Workstation Minimum CountAbout 25 computersNo minimum limit

What is KMS?

KMS or Key Management System is said to be the part of Volume Activation Key provided by the Microsoft company itself to activate the various services offered by them. It is a method mainly used by the organization that wants to keep their computers within the same corporate network.

The KMS (Key Management System) was introduced by the company right after the introduction of the Volume Activation Technology. And the system allowed its users to activate the services within their network.

Considering the installation process of the KMS system, it is more convenient and easier as it recognizes it via the help of DNS and installs it.

The KMS system was built to supports their enterprise customers and made it compatible with Windows Vista and Windows 2008.

One of the advantages of the KMS system that has been observed is that after the first installation of the Windows on the system, the same key can be used to reinstall the Windows on the same system or another one.

This is also the reason behind the reactivation of the Windows after every 180 days activated by the KMS key; otherwise, the activation key gets expired.


What is MAK?

MAK or Multiple Activation Keys is also one of the parts of Volume Activation Key, which are provided by the Microsoft company itself to activate the various services of the company which is offered by the company itself.

The MAK system method is used to activate the one-time basis of the software via the help of hosted authenticated server. The system can be used to activate one or more computers. 

As the MAK key system is used to activate software or operating system authentically on one or more computers. The MAK activation can be completed via two ways that are given below –

  • MAK Independent Activation – With this process, one computer is authenticated and activated with the help of the internet or telephone. This is done after the installation of the key, and it activates the servers of Microsoft.
  • MAK Proxy Activation – When the software needed to be installed on more than one computer, then it is required to send the requests from the computer with the help of the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT), and this tool establishes a network from the internet or telephone connection to the Microsoft. The tool collects all the information IDs from the computers and then sends them back to Microsoft, which then sends back the confirmation IDs and installs them on the client computers. 

Main Differences Between KMS and MAK

  1. The KMS stands for the Key Management System, while on the other hand, the MAK stands for the Multiple Activation Key. 
  2. While performing the activation of the services for the first time, the KMS performs the process automatically, while on the other hand, the MAK process is not the automatic process and thus requires the use of the ‘enter key.’
  3. The KMS does not require hardware change and is automatic, while on the other hand, the activation of MAK requires reactivation of the hardware. 
  4. The KMS method does require Internet services or Microsoft licensing servers to complete the procedure, while on the other hand, the MAK method does not require internet services, and also there is no need to reactivate the services. 
  5. The KMS can connect about 5 computers with the same server, while on the other hand, in the MAK method, there is no minimum limit for the same.
  6. The KMS system may work with up to 25 computers, whereas, on the other hand, the MAK system doesn’t have any minimum working system limit. 
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1050173821000529
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01560185
  3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1901/jeab.1967.10-261
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