Windows Server 2008 pre-release expires?

I have a Windows Server 2008 running with a pre-release Datacenter.
Today I got a message saying;

"This Pre-release version of Windows Server 2008 Datacenter will expire in 2 days"

I have run the slmgr.vbs -xpr command and this tells me "The machine is Permanently Activated".

I am not sure what to believe is this situation. I inherited the systems a few months ago so I am not sure on the orginal installation and where the OS came from. However this server is running as a Hyper-V host with 8 VM's being used for development purposes within the company.

If some one has experienced this before and know which direction to take as I do not want to have to install a fresh copy of the OS and rebuild all the virtual machines if I can get away with it.

Thanks.
carlocAsked:
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gheistCommented:
VMWare ESXi covers virtualisation part and is FREE from costs
Also any linux has support for virtualisation technologies called XEN

VMWare does memory de-duplication which means that systems share at least 1/2GB of default boot physical memory.
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gheistCommented:
i.e I have around 10 machines in 8GB host provisioning at least 20GB of RAM
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gheistCommented:
VMWare imports MS vm images right away.
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gheistCommented:
PS shut down VMs. Knoppix (or any other Linux LiveCD) can get disk images from dead NTFS in worst case.
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rindiCommented:
The problem with m$ pre-releases is that they expire. It may be possible to use them after the release has expired for an hour, and then it will automatically shutdown. This has nothing to do with activation, but rather that it is a version that came out before the real version was released. You'll have to get a current version of Windows 2008 server and install that. The current version can be downloaded as a trial from the m$ site. You can use the trial version for I believe a total of 120 days (you have to rearm it every 2 months with "slmgr.vbs -rearm"), but then you either have to reinstall or buy a full license. If you only install server 2008 core (that is without any GUI, just a powershell command shell, and you have that install option when you install from the DVD) then as far as I know it is free, but you should still get the current version and not the pre-release version. With 2008 server installed as core version you could also use it as hyper-V server.

But I agree with gheist, I would also rather use VMware products.
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markdmacCommented:
Find your licensed media and you can perform an upgrade installation over the top of the existing installation and it will preserve all of your settings.  Your VMs will need to be shut down for you to do that.  I ran into the exact same situation 2 months ago, installed a Hyper-V server from what I thought was our latest ISO image and it was not, it was a pre-release image that a coworker had accidentally placed in the wrong folder.  The whole process will only take you an hour and a half or so depending on your hardware speed.
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carlocAuthor Commented:
Sorry for my dealyed response.
- Markdmac, performing an inplace upgrade on the Host OS had no effect on your pre-built virtual machines.
I was told by MS support that I would have to backup the vhd file, delete the setting and associated files, then I would have to recreate the virtual instance but would be able to use my backedup vhd files again.

Did you run into any unforseen errors.

Thanks
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markdmacCommented:
carloc, I am confused.  Is the problem system the virtual machine or the host?  It was my understanding that it was the host.  That was my situation and I did not need to touch the VMs.
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carlocAuthor Commented:
Yes the problem is the host server OS, not the virtual server on  the host.
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carlocAuthor Commented:
Yes the problem is the host server OS, not the virtual server on  the host.
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markdmacCommented:
OK, then we are talking the same issue here.  In my case all I had to do was stop all the virtual machines and then do the over the top install on the host OS.  After that I rebooted and all was happy.
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carlocAuthor Commented:
Markdmac, I am working with the solution that you suggested but at the moement my datacenter is setting up a spare machine so that I can move some virtual servers that were also created with an evaluation copy of the OS.

Alll my other servers are built from full installations.

Appreciate your suggestion. I will update the answer once I have finsihed this project.
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markdmacCommented:
If the VMs were also built with the evals you will need to do the same reinstallation on them as well.  Best of luck, it should be painless.
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carlocAuthor Commented:
Thanks Markdmac,
Your solution provided the desired results on this project. I was able to upgrade the host OS. However once this was complete I had to create new virtual instances but I was able to use the existing .vhd files for the servers.

Thanks for your help,
Carloc
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