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How to upgrade a trial version to full license?
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Author:  Bert-Jan_MSSv1 [ Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:05 am ]
Post subject:  How to upgrade a trial version to full license?

I've been trying out Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials for about a month now and all in all it's been a smooth experience. I downloaded the trial version through my Technet subscription and although there are about 150 days left, I was looking into buying and then upgrading the existing installation to a fully licensed version.

I couldn't find any obvious way to do that, so I called Microsoft support. After 15 minutes of conferring with collegues and supervisor, the heldesk employee decided I had to call the Technet people. The Technet employee also took about 15 minutes of discussing this and then referred me to the Microsoft Store. They then (rather quickly) told me that they had nothing to do with server products and reffered me back to the Technet people.
Nobody at Microsoft sofar could even tell me how to buy their product, let alone license my trial version. ](*,)

Does any of you have any experience with upgrading from trial to fully licensed? I'm hesitant to go on with the server untill I know if I have to reinstall the whole thing again (which would be a real-epic-microsoft-fail..)

Author:  Comp1962 [ Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to upgrade a trial version to full license?

I don't have a good answer for you but if you create a backup of the OS and then perform a recovery using the backup I do believe it will ask you for the key at which time you can input the new key. There is an option to change the key but it will not allow you to change the TechNet Key.

Now your running the trial version from Tech Net where I am running the full version from TechNet which does not have a time factor limitation in days but does based on ones Tech Net Subscription. For me I did purchase a new licensed copy of WS2012E but was not able to change the key because it says I already have a valid key and that my version has been activated.

In the past I have performed a Recovery from my OS Backup drive and I do believe it does ask for the key when you reinstall the Server Software and should MS shut my server down when my TechNet Subscription expire then this is how I plan on changing my key and if not then I guess I will have to reinstall the OS and reconfigure the Server which would not take all that much time.

Now you can also backup the OS to an external drive. The beauty of a recovery from a Backup is that it takes about 45 mins and the server is restored completely so there are no updates to download, no reconfiguring the server like in WHSv1 its just like a client restore which is very cool.

That's the best answer I can come up with but here I am not quite sure how it will work with your trial version.

Author:  tritron [ Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to upgrade a trial version to full license?

Well from all I read technet keys will never expire. Technet is not trail eighter is for learning software and testing it There should be change key button under system.

Author:  Bert-Jan_MSSv1 [ Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to upgrade a trial version to full license?

@Comp1962; thanks again for your help. I do make OS backups on an external disk, so this could be something to try. I'd first have to find out how to restore such a back-up, though :oops: I only have an ISO file and used that with Hyper-V on a second machine.

@Triton; It's the first ime I use any software through my TechNet subscription, so I am not sure, but in the lower right corner of the desktop there is a text telling me the license is valid for 150 days (counting down from 180). If I right click 'This PC" and go to properties there is indeed a 'Change product key' option. I cannot believe I didn't see this before. Would any legal product key for the fully licensed version, inserted there, turn my installed tial/learning version into a permantly fully licensed one?
Thanks for your help!

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Author:  Comp1962 [ Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to upgrade a trial version to full license?

Good Luck with entering another key I actually purchased WS2012E to get a key to replace my TechNet Key and it would not allow me to change my key indicating I already had an activated system. Now with yours being R2 and a trial I hope you have better luck and if not then a recovery from a backup should work because it will ask you for a key at the time of recovery.

Regardless of what happens please do let us know if you were able to easily change the key or not. I hope you can because its an easier process but often nothing is simple with Microsoft.

Author:  Bert-Jan_MSSv1 [ Fri May 02, 2014 11:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to upgrade a trial version to full license?

I did some more digging and found a few tidbits of information on Technet (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj574204.aspx):

First about what happens after the 180 day trial: "Windows Server 2012 Essentials: you receive warnings on the Desktop and on the dashboard, but the server does not shut down."
That sounds reasonably good, but it remains unclear if anything else would happen. Is the product still fully functional? Do I receive pop-ups and warnings and so on? All in all I decided I wanted to go the fully licensed route. No questions about possible future changes with the trial version or with the Technet account.

Second I found this: "If the server is a domain controller, you cannot convert it to a retail version. In this case, install an additional domain controller on a server that runs a retail version and remove AD DS from the domain controller that runs on the evaluation version".That did not sound good. To be honest, I have no clue how to remove an AD DS and I certainly dont have another fully licensed server with a DC lying around. Luckely, a bit further on the page a remark was made specifically about the Essentials version of Windows Server 2012: "For Windows Server 2012 Essentials: You can convert to the full retail version by entering a retail, volume license, or OEM key in the command slmgr.vbs."

So I went online and bought a product-key for 268,55 euro (about 372 USD). I used: "slmgr.vbs -ipk <insert product key here>" to insert the new key and "slmgr.vbs -ato" to activate the product.

Both commands met with a nice little 'Succes!" pop-up. After restart the count-down has been removed, the product is now fully licensed! Yes!
All that is left now is to find enough money to buy two more 4TB WD Red drives \:D/

Thanks again for yor help!

Bert-Jan

Author:  Comp1962 [ Fri May 02, 2014 2:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to upgrade a trial version to full license?

Thanks for finding that info. I bookmarked your post for future reference because I wanted to change my key out but like I mentioned previously when I tried to do so it would not let me.

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