This article covers all the required details and steps of converting an evaluation edition of Windows Server 2012 to retail edition. Most of the times, when we are doing the product testing, POC we are using Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 evaluation edition. Once we installed the evaluation edition of Windows Server 2012/2012 R2, it allows us to run for 10 days without providing any products keys or activating methods. But the same product we can activate for 180 days over the internet. Then this evaluation edition doesn't have any limitations.

After the testing or POC process sometimes we may need to use the same server as a production server. But the problem is to activate the server using the retail product key. Customer\user should activate the evaluation servers within the 180 days, otherwise, its giving some warnings and shut down the servers every hour. This also depends on the versions. As an example, both Standard and DataCenter editions are shutting down the server every hour but Essential edition does not.

To upgrade the evaluation edition to retail edition is very easy but there are some limitations such as we cannot do this task on a domain controller.

Steps of upgrading\Converting the version

1. Using Dism /online /Get-CurrentEdition we can get the current version of the Windows Server 2012 /2012 R2

According to this example, this is a Windows Server 2012R2 Standard Evaluation Edition.

2. Using Dism /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /AcceptEula /ProductKey 4sdfk-sdf44-sdfa3d-sdfa223-adsfa9 we can convert the evaluation edition to the  retail one but the server will restart twice.

* Server standard edition can be converted to DataCenter and vice versa.