If you have Server 2016 Data Center your server likely came with a single COA (Certificate of Authenticity) sticker containing a single DataCenter CD Key. If you then try to use that Key to activate new Server 2016 or Server 2012 Standard VM’s it will fail. This is because Server 2012 R2 and Server 2016 VM’s use a different activate process than previous versions of Windows Server.
Server 2012 R2 and Server 2016 now use “Automatic Virtual Machine Activation” or AVMA which means that the VM’s have a special driver loaded that lets them confirm the host version is licensed and activated properly. If it is, the VM’s will use the following “free” Product Keys:
|Windows Server 2016 Edition||AVMA key|
|Windows Server 2012 R2 Edition||AVMA key|
To get this function to work, your VM needs to have the DATA EXCHANGE, Integration Service enabled, which most do by default.
If you want to enter a Product Key using PowerShell use the following command:
slmgr –ipk <productkey>
slmgr –ipk TMJ3Y-NTRTM-FJYXT-T22BY-CWG3J