If you’ve worked in an IT department for a mid-to-large company you may have run across Microsoft Volume Licensing. I think a tome could be written on the intricacies of the subject, but here I’m only going to touch on one.
How to determine your Windows distribution channel
Since PowerShell is king, we’ll start there:
Open a PowerShell as Administrator and type
cscript.exe /nologo $Env:WinDir\System32\SLmgr.vbs /DLI
Or use the abbreviated syntax as shown below in an old fashion elevated Command Prompt
As seen above there are RETAIL, KMSCLIENT and MAK channels. I believe that TechNet and MSDN have their own channels, but I don’t have an example of them.
In addition to SLmgr.vbs, there are other methods to determine the channel
- System Information for Windows (MSInfo32.exe)
- Microsoft Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT)
- Microsoft Genuine Advantage Diagnostic Tool (MGADiag.exe)
- The Ultimate PID Checker (3rd Party)
Why does this matter?
Mostly this is a licensing and product activation conversation; however, if you are a system builder (use MDT or ConfigMgr to build images) you’ll notice one difference. non-Volume Licensed ISOs will prompt for a license key during OS Deployment even if SkipProductKey=YES is set in CustomSettings.ini.
As I encounter them, I’ll keep a matrix of Windows ISO files and their identifying [read-more-redirect urltext=”CatapultSystems.com” url=”https://www.catapultsystems.com/blogs/microsoft-windows-distribution-channels”] attributes so you can see what you have without deploying the OS.
|Product Name||File Size||MD5 Hash||Channel||Original file name|
|Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit with SP1||2563039232||24F3A45D43D7C532AA3126CC094C61BD||Retail|
|Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit with SP1||3319478272||56A26636EC667799F5A7F42F142C772D||Retail|
|Windows Server 2012 R2 with Update 2||5397889024||78BFF6565F178ED08AB534397FE44845||Retail|
|Windows Server 2012 R2||4297373696||83BDF8034BCB019A8F001BAEEAB27326||KMSClient*|
|Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit with SP1||3166720000||8D397B69135D207452A78C3C3051339D||KMSClient*|
|Windows Server 2012||3694114816||FF95A8C5207C880B099B7F34DBA941B6||KMSClient*|
|Windows 7 Enterprise 32-bit with SP1||2433157120||0F75C64DE4B10FD581845ABA99E1591D||KMSClient*|
|Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit with SP1||3181234176||8DB2FA2C64160F582BD099E86DBE219F||KMSClient*|
|Windows 8 Professional 32-bit||2548852736||12E0DF94644E76B151C0E143BA151D89||KMSClient*|
|Windows 8 Professional 64-bit MVL||3488145408||4E31C6F0A7862F8CE8931342AD984A12||KMSClient*|
|Windows 8.1 Enterprise 32-bit||2902501376||BF620A67B5DDA1E18E9CE17D25711201||KMSClient*|
|Windows 8.1 Enterprise 64-bit||3853993984||8E194185FCCE4EA737F274EE9005DDF0||KMSClient*|
|Windows 8.1 Enterprise 64-bit with Update 2||4139163648||115D7C4203417E52C09D16B50043B10D||KMSClient*|
|Windows Vista Business 32-bit with SP1||3086147584||B09267740DDD1A08D80B04EC6BBC232A||KMSClient*|
|Windows XP Professional 32-bit with SP3||617754624||53140893B6A55699545D5FE595A10843|
|Windows XP Professional 32-bit with SP3||617754624||5BF476E2FC445B8D06B3C2A6091FE3AA|
|Windows XP Professional 64-bit with SP2||614473728||8D3F007EC9C2060CEC8A50EE7D7DC512|
*Asterisk denotes less than 100% certainty
- Appendix A: KMS Client Setup Keys @ http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj612867.aspx
- How to Tell What Media Type / License Key Was Used to Install Windows. OEM, Retail, MSDN or Volume License
- Windows 7 Channel ID portion of the Product ID
- How to tell if Windows is Retail or OEM