OEM Key For Retail 2008 Server R2 Installation


  • I have a retail copy of 2008 Server R2 that I installed and configured a new system with.  I have purchased an OEM license key.  Can this license key be used to activate the copy of 2008 Server R2 Retail that is currently installed?
    Wednesday, February 01, 2012 2:27 AM

All replies

  • Hi,


    As far as I know, OEM license comes with an OEM computer, and it can only be used on an OEM computer, you can’t use it to active a retail version of Windows Server 2008 R2.



    Best Regards,

    Vincent Hu



    • Proposed as answer by Meinolf Weber Wednesday, February 01, 2012 7:27 AM
    Wednesday, February 01, 2012 3:25 AM
  • Perhaps I should rephrase.  Yes, OEM licenses generally come with OEM computers.  However, you can easily purchase OEM licenses from pretty much any online or retail outfit (they just have to include a piece of hardware along with the purchase) and you don't get any support from Microsoft for an OEM purchase as you would get from a retail box purchase.

    I understand that.

    So, assuming that I have installed a copy of windows 2008 server using a dvd that is from a retail box purchased copy (as indicated by the part number after the installation), can I, just enter the product key for the OEM software that I've purchased?  Or, would I have to reinstall everything with the OEM DVD to use the OEM key?

    I'd hate to just try it (because I can't return the software once I've opened it up) and find out that it doesn't work and that the key is "invalid".

    Wednesday, February 01, 2012 9:23 AM
  • Hi,

    OEM product is only available through OEM channel, it is recommended that you contact the OEM vendor to perform the further research. Thanks for your understanding.

    Best regards,
    Vincent Hu

    Tuesday, February 07, 2012 10:22 AM
  • Hi sonzom

    Did your research via the OEM vendor bare any fruit? I would like to know what you found out

    Tuesday, May 01, 2012 7:17 PM
  • A vendor can only sell a OEM license in the first 30days of when you buy a server and they need the see the billing if you buy it by another channel. So anything discusted there is not legal.

    Usually OEM key come with a media kit too .. (like recovery disk from the server manufacturer.....) (

    but.. Fyi, In Win7 you can activate a retail install with a OEM's key as long they are genuine, but again in most case you are not legal to do so. (so I guess it work in Win2008R2)

    MCP | MCTS 70-236: Exchange Server 2007, Configuring

    Wednesday, May 02, 2012 3:04 AM
  • Hello,

    i know there is an ongoing discussion about OEM keys that are sold without hardware, i heard in some countries this is allowed(without support from Microsoft) and legal. It is a kind similar to the Systembuilder versions you can buy in some countries.

    You can easy try to activate the server, you have already installed with Retail media, with this key and then you will see.

    Best regards

    Meinolf Weber
    Microsoft MVP - Directory Services
    My Blog:

    Disclaimer: This posting is provided AS IS with no warranties or guarantees and confers no rights.

    Wednesday, May 02, 2012 8:53 AM
  • Meinolf, I agree with you. Where I live you can buy OEM software but you have a limited numbers of days to do so. (like you can't buy a OEM after 2 years of the date you purchased the server)

    But in the field, a lot of vendors does sell OEM software even after the period because they know the custumer to make them save buck. So thats why I talk about the legal side of that. But I am pretty sure you can activate the OEM key with a retail install.

    MCP | MCTS 70-236: Exchange Server 2007, Configuring

    Wednesday, May 02, 2012 12:28 PM
  • Apart from the legal situation which can vary from case to case, I was interested in if the VLK Media would physically accept the OEM key.  I believed that with 2008 R2 a single set of media was valid for all channels, unlike XP/2003 days which had different system files to support the different activation methods.  (I acknowledge in 2008 R2 OEM:SLP activation has an additional XRM-MS certificate to match BIOS SLP string, but this is an additional file on top of a standard VLK media disk to allow it to activate on OEM provided hardware)

    However I am finding mixed reports of OEM system builder keys being, or not being accepted on VLK media.  I did find the following Technet blog post, which seem to suggest that it would not work, although I did notice some fuzzy information which I have attempted to seek clarification on.

    Wednesday, May 02, 2012 1:15 PM