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Windows 7 - Activation

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Windows 7 Enterprise Edition does not require a product key. Instead, after you install Windows 7 Enterprise, the computer needs to be ist:activated within 30 days. If you miss the 30-day activation period, Windows 7 will display notification dialog boxes informing you as such.

Depending on how your machine is configured for the MIT network, your activation experience will vary.

  • If your machine is configured for DHCP, the activation should occur automatically within the first three days. Activation occurs automatically if you are connected to the MIT network including wireless because the DHCP lease contains the correct configuration information needed to activate.
  • If your machine is at home or off campus, you need to connect with the MIT VPN client and activate manually as instructed below.
  • If your machine is configured with a static MIT IP address, the activation will occur once the machine is set up correctly.
  • Check the system Date and Time. If the timezone is incorrect or if the clock is set for AM instead of PM, activation will fail.

An activation is good for 180 days and the system will attempt to renew that activation automatically.

Set up Windows 7 with the Correct Domain Suffix

  1. From the Start Menu, go to Control Panel > System and Security > System.
  2. In the "Computer name, domain, and work group settings" section, click Change settings.
    Result: The System Properties screen appears with the "Computer Name" tab open.
  3. Click Change....
    Result: The Computer Name/Domain Changes screen appears.
  4. Click More....
    Result: The Primary DNS suffix of this computer should show mit.edu. If it doesn't, enter mit.edu and click OK.

Note: If another domain suffix, e.g., broad.mit.edu or psfc.mit.edu, is listed, do NOT change it to just mit.edu.

Activate Computer

If you miss the 30-day activation period, Windows 7 will display notification dialog boxes informing you as such.

  1. To find out if Windows 7 is already activated, go to Control Panel > System and Security > System.
    Result: The "View basic information about your computer" screen appears.
    • If Windows 7 is already activated, the last section on the screen, Windows activation, displays the message "Windows is activated."
    • If Windows 7 is not activated, the screen shows the number of days remaining in the grace period to get activated.
      Basic computer information

  2. Click the Activate Windows now link.
    Result: The Activate Windows now screen appears.
    Windows activation screen

  3. Click Activate Windows online now.
    Result: The next screen confirms that the activation was successful.
    Activation was successful message

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members


Last Modified:

May 02, 2016

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  1. Jun 22, 2011

    Your system date/time must also be accurate in order to activate.

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