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How do I upgrade an 'expired' Windows Standard Server 2003 R2 to Retail

Posted on 2008-10-28
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I've been using a 180 eval version of Windows 2003 Standard Server and it has expired. I believe that the server is now on 'the dark side', in the 14 day 'grace period' that follows the expiry.

The server will start and I can gain access to files from clients, but I can't log on.

I have a legitimate retail product key for the same level and version. How do I perform the 'upgrade to retail?
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Question by:DavidRothan
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by:ryansoto
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From Microsoft

Q. Can I use the Product Key that is included when I buy a copy of the full version (that is, non-evaluation) product to remove the 180-day limit instead of installing the full version product?
A. No. You must install the full version of the product. The new Product Key will not override the 180-day limit on the evaluation software. When you install the full version product, select the Upgrade option when prompted during setup. This will keep the settings you established when you installed the evaluation version of the software.
 
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by:DavidRothan
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Nope, no good I'm afraid. The information provided on the Microsoft web site regarding upgrading an eval to retail version of ANY of their servers is appalling. You are never given the opportunity to 'select the Upgrade option when prompted during setup'.
What I'm loooking for as a solution here is a real world suggestion or explanation from an expert who has actually performed this mysterious 'upgrade' of an evaluation version of Server 2003 Standard to retail and can tell me how to do it. I can read the Microsoft FAQ's myself!!!
 
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DavidRothan earned 0 total points
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OK, it would seem that the solution is as follows:
Insert Windows 2003 Standard Server Retail CD.
Boot Server from CD.
Allow setup process to start.
When prompted, choose not to install, but repair existing Windows Server installation (select from list).
Setup will continue, copies files, prompts for retail product key and regional settings.
Setup continues, server reboots.
Back in business!
 
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by:ryansoto
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Upgrade/reinstall seemed to be used interchangbly in the FAQ
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by:DavidRothan
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Maybe, but the FAQ explained nothing about what to do, once the eval period had expired, as it had in my case (please read my original question fully!). That's the most important thing to consider here. Before the end of the 180 day period, you COULD simply upgrade by logging on to the server and running setup from the retail CD. This would allow 'upgrade' as an option. After 180 days though, the server reboots itself on the hour, every hour for 14 days before it eventually expires and when you try to log on, it reboots then as well. You get a message saying 'please upgrade to retail', and then it kindly reboots itself. 'Upgrading' or 'reinstalling'  is imposssible. You have to perform a repair. It's the only way to do it. I sorted that out myself in the end, so if you could agree to close this question now that the problem is solved, it would be appreciated. Thanks.
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by:ryansoto
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No problems here
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