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Server 2012 R2 STD Eval won't accept VALID license key..

    Question

  • Greetings, 

    I have built a new standalone 2012 R2 STD server. It is in production now.   I have 84 days left of my 180 day trial which BOTH my vendor AND Microsoft pre-sales instructed me to use.  They assured me I could download the trial, test it out, then buy the license and activate it.  I did this a year ago with an eval copy of Essentials and it worked perfectly.

    I bought the license a couple of months ago when I bought my server hardware. Today I decide to download and add the license key.  It balks. It says, "this is not a valid, key for this edition of windows."

    I called the MS activation center around 2:30. I tell them of my issue, without so much as a pause, he says "reboot the server and you will be all set. Is there anything else I can help you with?".   I reply, this machine is in production now, I can't reboot it."  "Well you have to reboot it and it will be fine."  

    I wait until  5:00 and reboot. . Same error. I call the activation center back. We go through a key validation process by me giving her the 9 groups of numbers. Same error.  She contacts her second level team and they verify the key is in fact, valid for Server 2012 Std R2.  They try and generate me a new key based on the eval version set of  9 number groups.  It doesn't work.  After a few hours of trying various things, she relays to me that her second level team said the only way to fix this is to download the Eval version again, and do a fresh install and start from scratch. SERIOUSLY ?!?! 

    This is a ridiculous suggestion.  Between building, configuring, testing and migrating (a few departments so far) I have over 300 hours into it. I have so much time into this project, I can't possibly do this.  SOMEONE at Microsoft has to know how to get my product validated/activated.

    Any thoughts comments suggestions welcome.  Thanks.

    PW



    • Edited by PW-TOS Tuesday, September 23, 2014 6:41 PM additional info
    Tuesday, September 23, 2014 6:33 PM

Answers

  • Hi Tim,  Thank you very much for the detailed reply.  Even though I had several days let on my eval, my manager turned the heat up on me a little and wanted this resolved ASAP.  I ended up calling Microsoft (not the activation team) and FINALLY got in touch with some that would listen to me, and understand my predicament. 

    In short, my issue  is resolved. it was resolved in about 45 minutes with the tech on the phone. we went through about 20 commands (most of those were simple "query" type commands to be sure everything was in order before attempting the activation.).  The command that ultimately resolved the issue was:

    DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:NVRGC-3QDBB-XXXXX-QJTCG-B7448 /AcceptEula to activate the server 

    After a couple of reboots the server was activated... 

    Thanks to all for the fast responses and great help. 

    I hope this helps someone else. 

    Thursday, September 25, 2014 3:25 PM

All replies

    • Proposed as answer by DonPick Tuesday, September 23, 2014 8:55 PM
    Tuesday, September 23, 2014 8:47 PM
  • Thanks Milos,

    Any idea if I can use an eval version for my "temporary" DC while I demote my production one to license it?  Or do I have to buy another server license?

    Is this a long drawn out process?  Any "gotchas I need to be aware of?

    Is it just me? Isn't this ridiculous that we have to jump through these hoops just to properly license a copy of the software?  It is times like these when Microsoft makes things SO DIFFICULT, that I feel like siding with the hackers/pirates.  It would probably be FAR easier to find a hack for this than to have to go through the steps above. 

    Thanks.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014 9:02 PM
  • I understand your pain.

    1. For sure. have you done the procedure with proper administrator account and with elevated/priviledged rights (Run as Administrator, sorry for this a bit stupid question, but I have met this omitting too often)?

    2. I do not know hack for this situation. I may mention two cases when I "solve" similar problems:

    a. For domain controller I addedd secon domain controlled, transferred FSMO&GC, replicated, removed trial server (dcpromo). Installed genuine copy and do the reverse process ending with demoting "help" server

    b. I changed activation key by using KMS (known universal value - see Technet documentation) and after this I use proper key.

    However, do it on your risk.

    I would return to DISM method and google this path. Someone may have the same problem and won the battle.

    Regards

    Milos


    • Edited by Milos Puchta Tuesday, September 23, 2014 9:39 PM
    Tuesday, September 23, 2014 9:38 PM
  • Hello again Milos,

    Re #1. If you mean run the slui (3 and 4) command  from the "admin cmd prompt" off the main "start button" then yes, I have. 

    Re #2: I guess I meant a "circumvention, not necessarily a hack.

    Re #2a:  I have not done this before.  Most of the systems I work with are single server SBS or earlier version systems, and I have not had the need to use DCPROMO and/or  moving the various roles.  Is this a pretty straight-forward process?  Is there anything to watch out for? I found what looks like a decent (but long and with no audio) video here which sounds EXACTLY like my issue: 

    The Microsoft Server 2012 R2 Std product activation dance.

    Re 2b: You mention "risk".  What is the risk in trying this?  Corrupting my production install?  Corrupting my "purchased" product key? 

    I googled DISM method and found the technet articles, but I guess I don't understand how this would benefit my situation.  Seems like it is more for altering/managing images prior to deployment, and makes no mention of activation etc.  I realize that DISM is a big topic, and I don't expect a full explanation, but if you could give me a starting point within DISM to look at I would gladly do the footwork. 

    Do you know if I can use an eval copy for the "helper" DC ? Or will I have to buy a second license just to do the activation on my production server?

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to my questions. I sincerely appreciate it.

    PW

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014 2:09 PM
  • It is a pretty simple process to set up another DC, and yes, you can use an eval copy for that.  (Legally you should not because the use rights for the evaluation version say that it is not to be used for production - but since the Microsoft pre-sales person gave you incorrect information (unless you neglected to tell them it was going to be a DC), I don't think anyone will come down on you.)  Add the second DC and then demote the first DC.  It's real simple and straightforward.  When you gracefully demote the first DC the second DC will take on the FSMO roles.

    But you will have to look at the applications you installed to see if they can survive the change from being installed on a DC and then having the DC ripped out from under them.  Most applications won't care, but some might complain.

    As for risk, there is risk in any change.  Typical caveats and cautions apply.  Perform a full backup of your system.  Test the backup by recovering it to another server to ensure you have performed the backup correctly.  That should give you comfort that if you do anything wrong in the process that you can always at least get back to the current state.


    . : | : . : | : . tim

    Thursday, September 25, 2014 3:07 PM
  • Hi Tim,  Thank you very much for the detailed reply.  Even though I had several days let on my eval, my manager turned the heat up on me a little and wanted this resolved ASAP.  I ended up calling Microsoft (not the activation team) and FINALLY got in touch with some that would listen to me, and understand my predicament. 

    In short, my issue  is resolved. it was resolved in about 45 minutes with the tech on the phone. we went through about 20 commands (most of those were simple "query" type commands to be sure everything was in order before attempting the activation.).  The command that ultimately resolved the issue was:

    DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:NVRGC-3QDBB-XXXXX-QJTCG-B7448 /AcceptEula to activate the server 

    After a couple of reboots the server was activated... 

    Thanks to all for the fast responses and great help. 

    I hope this helps someone else. 

    Thursday, September 25, 2014 3:25 PM
  • Hi.  I have gone through this same thing - DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:NVRGC-3QDBB-XXXXX-QJTCG-B7448 /AcceptEula to activate the server worked on my Windows 2012 Standard servers, but when I try to update the key from my Windows 2012 R2 Standard Eval with this command and a valid 2012 R2 standard license I bought, it tells me invalid key for this operating system version.  When I do a DISM /query for the edition it says it is ServerStandardEval - it is R2 but my R2 key won't work.  Please help.
    Thursday, December 11, 2014 5:34 PM
  • Good day,

    The command worked for me. All I did was replace the Product Key with my valid on purchased from Microsoft.

    Regards,

    Goors

    Friday, May 15, 2015 8:37 PM
  • Hi PW-TOS,

    I am having a similar issue as you had.

    I know about the DISM /online /Set-Edition:<edition ID> /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX /AcceptEula command.

    I fact I tries to activate the Server 2012 R2 standard eveluation (which perfomring as primary domain controller) in a sand box and the activation went fine.

    However; I just note sure if this affected any functionality.

    My question for you is:

    After the command line activation, did you Domain Controller work good with all the original functions & roles?

    Is this DC the primary DC?

    Did you has to use a "helper" DC to temporarily migrate the DC functions while activating the expiring eval machine?

    Your answers will help a lot.

    Thank you,


    -- A human.

    Wednesday, December 02, 2015 4:19 PM
  • Hello hoanggeneral,

    <<After the command line activation, did you Domain Controller work good with all the original functions & roles?>>

    Yes, it did. I had no issues and it is now more than a year later. 

    <<Is this DC the primary DC?>>

    Yes, it is the ONLY server I have on this network. 

    <<Did you has to use a "helper" DC to temporarily migrate the DC functions while activating the expiring eval machine?>>

    No, this was a new (fresh) Server 2012 Std install I did from scratch. 

    After I got in touch with Microsoft and found the right person, it was a simple process to just run the command line and verify the outcome.

    I hope this helps you.

    Wednesday, December 02, 2015 4:32 PM
  • Hi PW-TOS,

    Thank you for the reply.

    I see you mention Microsoft changed/regenerated your keys a few times.

    Was the final key that do the magic a volume license key?

    Thanks.


    -- A human.

    Thursday, December 03, 2015 3:41 AM
  • Thank you for your help, it worked great for me 

    thank you  again 

    Thursday, January 11, 2018 10:05 PM
  • Thanks! This worked perfectly for me. 

    Monday, March 05, 2018 1:39 PM
  • Worked very well for me, was messing about trying all sorts and found your solution to work perfectely.

    Machine restared abbout three times whilst updates where made. 

    also  the space are very important :) 

    DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:NVRGC-3QDBB-XXXXX-QJTCG-B7448 /AcceptEula 

    Friday, May 11, 2018 2:27 PM