0xC004F038: The returned count from your Key Management Service is insufficient

by Shijaz Abdulla on 02.11.2008 at 10:19

We have a KMS Server that has been activating Vista clients for several months. A few days ago our desktop team came across the following Windows Activation error on one of the Vista Enterprise machines:


Error 0xC004F038 The computer could not be activated. The returned count from your Key Management Service is insufficient.

The KB Article 942961, which describes this error message, did not apply to us, because our KMS count is more than 25 and the article suggests that this problem only happens when the count is lesser than 25.

We resolved the issue by re-arming the Windows Activation on the client machine and then trying to do an automatic activation after a restart. Here’s how we did it:

  • On the offending Vista Enterprise client, type:
    slmgr.vbs -rearm
  • After a restart, type the following command on the same machine:
    slmgr.vbs -ato

The -rearm switch "re-arms" or "resets" the Windows Activation on the client machine. This can be done a maximum of three times per Windows Vista installation. The re-arming also extends the grace period, so it is particularly useful if you are looking for a temporary fix to buy some time while you sort out KMS issues.

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4 Responses to 0xC004F038: The returned count from your Key Management Service is insufficient

  1. Jeffery Mitchell says:

    Thanks for the solution. I am just starting out as a Tech here at The College of Southern Nevada in LasVegas, Nevada. I am very impressed with your site and I know that I will be returning to find solutions to the obscure problems that I will come across in the future. My goal path is Networking, Server, and eventually Security. Do you also do support in those areas?

    • Hi Jeffery

      Thanks for stopping by. I blog about most topics related to server, virtualization, security and networking – mainly related to Microsoft.
      Please subscribe to my feed to keep up to date and feel free to drop me a line anytime!


  2. Richard says:

    I have tried this fix but still have the same problem, the KMS host has a count of 50 so that is not the problem!

  3. Ed says:

    In my case i had to manually point the client to the KMS server, then activate:
    slmgr -skms :1688
    slmgr /ato

    Turns out there was a 2nd KMS server in the domain interfering, a 2nd DNS entry didn’t work so disabled the service on the redundant server.

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