Trialling Windows 10 Linked Clones with VMware Horizon View 7

20151023 - 1Earlier this week I wanted to trial Windows 10 with VMware Horizon View and User Environment Manager in my lab.

Unfortunately setting up Linked Clones like this isn’t straight forward from a licencing standpoint, so a few adjustments had to be made.

In simplified terms, there are three ways to licence a Windows desktop – OEM/retail, Multiple Activation Keys (MAK) and using Key Management Server (KMS). Windows Server 2012  introduced Active Directory-based Activation – more on this another time.

All of the hosts in my lab use MAK keys from my (now expired) TechNet subscription. However View Linked Clones don’t support MAK keys. If you build a pool with an image using a MAK key, the machines will fail to provision:


Setting up a KMS host is a trivial matter. You purchase the KMS host key from Microsoft, install it on your host using use the slmgr.vbs command, and it then registers with DNS so clients can find it. Clients are installed with a publicly-available KMS client key, and then find the KMS host and use that to activate. But is that really necessary in a non-production environment?

Thankfully it isn’t.

When installing Windows 10, you can use one of the KMS client keys found at After you have installed the View Agent as part of your image, open the registry editor and navigate to:


Here you will find an entry for SkipLicenseActivation. Change this from 0 to 1.

Your Windows 10 desktops will now provision.

3 thoughts on “Trialling Windows 10 Linked Clones with VMware Horizon View 7

    • I can’t see anyone doing it to be honest. Either they’re silly rich, or they use one from their company. But that’s gonna push up their licence count, so a hefty bill would soon be forthcoming…

      Even if you hacked it to use a MAK key, that would increase the re-arm count, meaning it wouldn’t take long before it was useless.


  1. Pingback: Newsletter: October 2, 2016 | Notes from MWhite

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