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Determining Product Key Needs

The Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems come in a variety of editions. To simplify Volume Activation and the number of product keys that an organization needs, Microsoft created product key groups, where product keys apply to product groups rather than individual editions.

MAK activation uses product key groups as individual groupings. Product keys for MAK activations are directly associated with a single product group and can only activate the Windows editions within that specific product group.

Table 1 shows the product groups for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Table 1. Product Groupings

Volume License product key group

Windows operating system edition

Client VL

  • Windows 7 Professional

  • Windows 7 Enterprise

Server Group A

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC Edition

  • Windows Web Server® 2008 R2

Server Group B

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

Server Group C

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems

Because MAK is associated with a single product group and can only activate the editions within that group, choose the MAK key from the group that matches the Windows edition to be installed. For example, if you are installing Windows 7 Enterprise, install the Client VL MAK in the image or directly on the target systems.