Windows Server 2019 install product key not working

New Contributor

i Have tried both Standard and Datacenter product keys and get errors with both

80 Replies

Works great!

Thank you Brent for the punctual solution

Thanks Brent. Just doing STEP 6 fixed it for us.


This is still an issue after the live release of 2019, October 3rd.


2016 Server, activated with KMS or MAK --> In place Upgrade to 2019 --> Cannot activate via the GUI with proper 2019 MAK key --> Perform step 6 above with 'cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk [mak-key]' --> Activated after 10 seconds.

Indeed, makes you wonder about the quality of the product.

Testing seems not a priority anymore. :(

I have tried these steps and it does not appear to be working,
Also If I upgrade from 2016 to 2019 should the product key be different? as I got a different key after an upgrade?

Do you know when maybe the issue be resolved in an update?

I am on OS build 17744.1001

What error do you get when you open an elevated rights command prompt, and run this:


 'cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk [2019-specific-mak-key]'



Error: 0xC004E016 I get I did an upgrade from 2016 

Stupid question... that error code is indicative to Office, you're not trying to put in your Office key into the command prompt right? You have a MAK key for Windows Server 2019 specifically? It's not the 2016 MAK key, and obviously, not the KMS key.


Just making sure.

Folks, a couple things.  In order to upgrade from one version of the OS to another you will need the key to the new OS.  The key from the older version will not activate the newer version.  But moreover, the pre-release keys will not activate this build number and higher.  You will need an WS2019 actual RTM product key to activate.  This is by design.

Oh Ok,

I thought you could do an upgrade for free from my current windows 2016 key 

I think there maybe miscommucation between me and where I got the key from as they said I could upgrade from server 2016 to 2019 using the same key.



Like windows 7 you could free upgrade to 10

Go and punch whatever vendor said that in the teeth.

Will Do :)


Will have to restore to server 2016 then.

Well, you could upgrade on earlier builds with the pre-release keys, so they acted as the key to the new version of the OS.  But use of these keys of evaluation of Insider builds of WS 2019 has been discontinued.

I also ran step 6 in Powershell as Admin and it worked great.  Make sure to have dashes in tyour product key, and take out the carrots (< and>).  Thanks a lot!

Step 6 worked for me as well! 

So,  late to the game, but glad I was. May 13, and many moons later to find that the command line is still king, but the kingdom won't allow the masses to pay/activate their secret boxes so easily? Still waiting on 2019? Maybe in hindsight, 2020 would be an appropriate adoption year;)

I successfully completed step 6 in Powershell elevated as Administrator. Thank you!


The best solution, thanks for your help!

Step 6 does not work for me now. When I try to register the AVMA key, I receive the error:

Error: 0x80070490 Element not found (SWbemObjectEx)


I am trying to activate a Server 2019 standard core on a Server 2019 HyperV datacenter. I was able to activate other VMs.


slmgr.vbs /dlv output:

Bildschirmfoto 2019-01-14 um 10.13.40.png

Just found out that despite the "Element not found" error message, the key was accepted and the activation proceeded.