SOLVED: How To Activate Windows 10 / Server 2016 Through Command Line

If you are having problems activating Windows 10, Server 2016, Windows 8, or Server 2012 one of these three solutions below should get you through:

Command Line to Launch Activation GUI:

This is handy if the GUI won’t start and you want to skip some steps to get it to work.

  1. click START (gets you to the tiles)4-no-change-product-key-link-missing-dns-error-0x8007232b-dns-error-activate
  2. type RUN
  3. type slui 3 and press ENTER
    1. yes, SLUI: which stands for SOFTWARE LICENSING USER INTERFACE
      1. SLUI 1 brings up the activation status window
      2. SLUI 2 brings up the activation window
      3. SLUI 3 brings up the CHANGE PRODUCT KEY window
      4. SLUI 4 brings up the CALL MICROSOFT & MANUALLY ACTIVATE window
  4. Type in your product key
  5. Have a nice day.

Command Line to Activate Windows Through Command Line:

  1. Launch a CMD as an Administratorcommand-line-to-activate-windows-slmgr-slui
  2. Type: slmgr.vbs /ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
  3. Press Enter

If your key is valid and you are connected to the internet, it should activate within a second or two.

Call Microsoft Activation Center:

In Canada and the US, call the support line directly at 1 800-936-4900, otherwise, use this table of Microsoft Activation Phone Numbers to do the deed.

You also might find some of our previous posts on activation problems to be helpful:


  1. Avatar
    Benjamin August 2, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Thank you this save my day. Windows Server 2016 had some issues when you try to install using the GUI.

  2. Avatar
    Adri February 4, 2018 at 2:37 am

    This helped me getting Win2016 activated by using SLUI 3.

    Thanks a lot and have a great day!

  3. Avatar
    JamieP January 28, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    I ran in to the same issue recently after building 3 Server 2016 VM’s using a template in vSphere 5.5 .

    I tried DISM /Online /Set-Edition:ServerDatacenter /ProductKey: /AcceptEula with no luck.

    DISM /online /Get-CurrentEdition – showed me were running ServerDatacenter edition.

    Using just SLUI (no option) from cmd line or SLUI 3 came back with error saying it couldn’t find the KMS server.

    I turned off Windows firewall and ran SLUI (no option) again and it worked.

  4. Avatar
    Jose January 12, 2018 at 12:33 pm


    Try this.

    1. Open Notepad, enter commands below substituting the Xs for your Windows Server Key.

    2. Save the file as a batch file.

    3. Run batch file.

    C:\Windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
    C:\Windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ato

  5. Avatar
    Z@!D November 13, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Thanks a lot for this info…
    SLUI 4 helped me to activate WIN-16, you saved my time and efforts. Thanks once again 🙂

  6. Avatar
    manuelc August 23, 2017 at 8:10 am

    thanks for the information, it help me to activate win16 save me time and effort.

  7. Avatar
    Piet Heijn June 26, 2017 at 5:33 am

    But how to do the offline activation?
    Not everyone’s on the net….

  8. Avatar
    JDE June 20, 2017 at 5:00 am

    slui.exe 4 worked just fine for Windows Server 2016.

  9. Avatar
    Ibrahim June 7, 2017 at 12:46 am

    Hello, please which way can this server 2016 activate well?
    Please help!!!

    • Ian Matthews
      Ian Matthews July 4, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Server 2016 should activate using the same processes. What are you seeing?

  10. Avatar
    Steffen May 30, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Pour une clé d’activation originale, je vous suggère le site “licence-activation”
    J’en ai utilisé une clé de chez eux et ça marche parfaitement bien.
    Ils répondent assez rapidement, et peuvent aussi vous assister par Teamviewer en cas de problème.
    Je le recommande fortement.

    • Ian Matthews
      Ian Matthews July 4, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      TRANSLATION: For an original activation key, I suggest the ‘license activation’ site. I used a key from them and it works perfectly well. They respond pretty quickly, and can also assist you by Teamviewer if problem. I highly recommend it.

  11. Avatar
    Michael Weyant February 5, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    I believe this is the command you’re looking for.

    dism /online /set-edition:ServerStandard /productkey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX /accepteula

    Or if you installed Standard edition and you want to change it to datacenter

    dism /online /set-edition:ServerDatacenter /productkey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX /accepteula

    or you can also see what upgrades are available
    dism /online /Get-TargetEditions

  12. Avatar
    Pete January 6, 2017 at 2:40 am

    Server 2016 Datacenter gui would not allow product key change. The command line activation works fine.

  13. Avatar
    Meziggues November 8, 2016 at 3:18 am

    Hello, slui.exe 4 doesn’t work for win 2016 server sorry…

  14. Avatar
    Raj October 29, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Great article with all the methods summarized, thanks!

Questions or Comments?