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Server 2012 R2 without product key - what are the limitations

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Last Modified: 2016-04-04
I have a bunch of virtual machines that I've set up running Windows Server 2012 R2. Since I'm spinning them up fairly quickly I haven't gotten around to licensing them yet. When I installed Windows I skipped entering a product key.

I will have a volume license key eventually, but these virtual machines have been running for the last month and a half without and key.

So far the only limitation I've encountered is a "Activate windows" watermark on the screen. The servers are running fine.

How long do I have before Windows must be activated? Will the servers start shutting down or rebooting or otherwise fail to operate at some point down the road? Can I leave them unactivated like this for a couple more months before licensing them with a volume license key?

What are the consequences of running a Windows server 2012 r2 machine for a long time without a product key?
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