How to upgrade Windows Server 2012 R2 evaluation version to full version

Windows Server 2012 R2

On a couple of occassions recently I’ve changed an 180 day Windows 2012 R2 evaluation server into a full production version. This is particularly useful if your evaluation has worked out well, but you don’t want to reinstall a new producation server from scratch.

In this post we’ll look at the steps required to turn the evaluation server into a production server.

Please note, this does not work for Domain Controllers running on an evaluation license.

On my test server below you can see I only have 2 days left.

Windows 2012 R2 - 2 days remaining

If you try and enter the new product key from the System Control Panel you’ll receive an activation error like below.

Windows 2012 R2 activation failed

Open an Administrative Command Prompt. Then run the command:

slmgr.vbs /dlv

Administrative Command Prompt - slmgr -dlv

Slmgr.vbs /dlv is used for volume licensing, and this step is to gather information only. The /dlv switch displays detailed license information. As you can see below we are currently running the ServerStandardEval edition.

If you wanted to continue using the trial for another 180 days, your could use the /rearm switch.

Results of slmgr -dlv

From the Administrative Command Prompt, run the command:

dism /online /get-currentedition

This will confirm the information we obtained from slmgr.vbs /dlv, as you can see the current version is ServerStandardEval.

Administrative Command Prompt - dism online get-currentedition

Next, run the command:

dism /online /get-targeteditions

This will show you which versions the current evaluation license can be upgraded to, in our case it can be upgraded to ServerStandard or ServerDatacenter.

Administrative Command Prompt - dism get-targeteditions

Next run the command:

dism /online /set-edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx /AcceptEula

This command selects the version of Windows 2012 R2 you want to upgrade to, specifies the product key and Accepts the Eula.

Administrative Command Prompt - 9. dism online set-edition productkey accepteula

Once the process has completed it will prompt you to restart your computer.

Administrative Command Prompt - dism online set-edition productkey accepteula - completed

The process will reboot the server twice.

Reboot adding features

Cleaning up installation

Once completed and logged in you can see in the bottom right hand corner that the server is no longer running and evaluation version. Also on my test server I received an Shutdown Event Tracker.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard unexpected shutdown message

Resources:

Upgrade Domain Controllers http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh994618.aspx

Upgrade Options for Windows Server 2012 R2 http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/dn303416.aspx

Evaluation Versons and Upgrade Options for Windows Server 2012 http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/jj574204.aspx


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1. How to install Exchange 2013 (SP1) on Windows Server 2012 R2

2. How to add a USB disk to a Windows 2012 Hyper-V VM

3. PowerShell: Get-ADComputer to retrieve computer last logon date – part 1

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5 thoughts on “How to upgrade Windows Server 2012 R2 evaluation version to full version

  1. Mike

    “If you wanted to continue using the trial for another 180 days, your could use the /rearm switch.”

    Does that mean, I can essentially run the evaluation copy forever ? – thus, not needing to buy a license ?

    Cheers.

    Reply
    1. OxfordSBSguy.com Post author

      No, you can rearm three times I think, I would only consider doing that in a test lab, if you are using the software in production then buy a license.

      Reply
      1. Mike

        Ok, I see. Thank you for the quick response.
        I’ve heard that it’s quite problematic to upgrade a domain controller this way.. do you have any experience with that ?

        Reply

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