locked
Can't Find 120 Day Product Key RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I joined Microsoft Connect as per the WHS trial download page to try and get the 120 day evaluation product key, but I can't find it.  There is no "Product Keys" link on the left like I have read about in some of these forum posts (I did a forum search on this before posting.)  If I click on "Downloads" there is a link listed called "Product Keys" but when I hit that it says "(none available)".  That page has a "Request New Product Key" link and here is what I see when I click that:

    Request Product Key 
    
    WINDOWS HOME SERVER
    
    The following downloads require a product key to be activated:
    
    Reminder: You cannot distribute the product keys.  
    
    Return to Product Keys
    
    Product Keys Available
    (none available) 

    Can anybody tell me what I am doing wrong?

    Thanks for your help.
    • Edited by Garrett K. _ Sunday, November 29, 2009 3:05 AM formatting error
    Sunday, November 29, 2009 3:04 AM

Answers

  • With the release of Power Pack 3, and the media refresh, Microsoft has decided to limit evaluation versions of Windows Home Server to 30 days, i.e. to the period available without activating the software. The web page from which you download the software is out of date, unfortunately.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, November 29, 2009 5:21 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • With the release of Power Pack 3, and the media refresh, Microsoft has decided to limit evaluation versions of Windows Home Server to 30 days, i.e. to the period available without activating the software. The web page from which you download the software is out of date, unfortunately.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, November 29, 2009 5:21 AM
    Moderator
  • Hello,
    i also made the mistake of reinstalling WHS on a server that had previously been activated with the 120 day.  After re installation the server would not allow me to reactivate with the same license.  Reading the various forums i learned that i could reapply for another 120 license, maybe.
    Well that did not work.
    But, i've got a peculiar situation.  The WHS machine is telling me that my server needs to be activated with 6 days now (end of 30 days).  But, when i log onto the console and look in the resources tab, it tells me that this version of WHS is an evaluation copy, and will expire on March 5, 2010, i.e. after the 120 days.  STrange

    Can anyone tell me what will actually happen?  Will my server stop working in 6 days, or on March 5?

    Also, what happens when it stops working?  Is the data that is on the server still accessible, or is it gone?  Because, if it's gone, i need to start copying data to another HD prior to the server not working!

    Thanks.
    Sunday, November 29, 2009 9:14 AM
  • It should stop working in 6 days. At that point, it will be much like other Windows operating systems that have passed activation. You won't be able to log on, so you probably won't have access to the Windows Home Server console (which is a dedicated Remote Desktop connection). You may not have access to the shares, and (probably) backups will no longer work. You'll still be able to get your data off the server, if you want, by either installing the full OEM software as a server reinstallation and activating, or by copying files off the individual disks.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, November 29, 2009 2:55 PM
    Moderator
  • Well that's disappointing, but I'm glad to have a solid answer now.  Even the "wrong" answer beats endlessly searching... :)  Thanks a lot for your help, Ken.
    Sunday, November 29, 2009 9:46 PM
  • Yes, this particular set of answers kind of falls into the "not satisfying" category, doesn't it? True, yes. Helpful, though? Only in a negative way.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, November 30, 2009 12:18 AM
    Moderator
  • Ken,

    One of Microsoft's greatest flaws has always been that they do not understand the link between the marketing of a product and the customer's experience with that product.  Put another way, marketing does not understand what they are selling. To them, WHS is a widget, a box - you can mark it up, mark it down, give 'em a 30 day trial, a 120 day trial, it doesn't really matter; whatever will move the most units. 

    But to the customer, WHS is a considerable committment and a paradigm shift from their current home architecture.  We're all scrounging up hardware that will work with WHS, searching for drivers, looking for add-ins, and planning the migration of our data.  I have over 450GB of data to consider; 65000+ pictures, thousands of mp3 files, and hundreds of videos, not to mention countless important documents, applications and supporting files.  And as you are aware, I can't simply install WHS on my existing hardware without wiping the existing data.  It took days to find places to move all that data, a couple of days to get WHS up and running and tweak it a bit, then days more to migrate all the data back - and all without losing anything critical.  Once I get everything on the server, I have to get the connectors installed and learn how WHS will work and play with all my different PC's and operating systems.  It's a daunting, time consuming task to say the least.

    Given the above, here is what disappoints me most about this entire process; posted in numerous places all over Microsoft's marketing materials, support documentation, and download links was the promise that I would have 120 days to evaluate this product.  In fact most of these still say that I can get a 120 day key.  But as you have posted now, Microsoft has "decided" to limit the eval period to 30 days.  I can certainly guess as to the motive of such a decision, but no matter the reason, it's a slap in the face to those of us who invested so much time and effort into sincerely evaluating this product prior to purchase.  Come to think of it, perhaps the marketing team understands the nature of their product better than I thought.

    I realize Ken, that you are not on the WHS team, but as you "just post a lot", perhaps you can pass this on to them for me.

    Parker  

     

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 3:05 AM
  • Parker,

    I think you probably speak for how a bunch of us feel.  This product WHS is certainly a great idea, and perhaps even will become a great product.  It certainly has it's very strong plus points.
    However, as you clearly point out: we are dealing with people's possessions here!  I'm in the same situation as you.  I'm now faced with two options: scrounge enough HD space together from somewhere else and spend days getting the data from the WHS backed up to these HD's, OR, buy a WHS on the belief that it will be exactly what i need.

    The option that Microsoft has is to let people have the 120 days.  Would that have been so bad for MS?  Sad really, that MS uses their power to simply powerdrive their will along....
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 5:07 AM
  • Parker,

    I think you probably speak for how a bunch of us feel.  This product WHS is certainly a great idea, and perhaps even will become a great product.  It certainly has it's very strong plus points.
    However, as you clearly point out: we are dealing with people's possessions here!  I'm in the same situation as you.  I'm now faced with two options: scrounge enough HD space together from somewhere else and spend days getting the data from the WHS backed up to these HD's, OR, buy a WHS on the belief that it will be exactly what i need.

    The option that Microsoft has is to let people have the 120 days.  Would that have been so bad for MS?  Sad really, that MS uses their power to simply powerdrive their will along....
    First, you can easily copy the data from the server hard drives to another PC, even long after your trial has expired (the drives are nothing more than standard NTFS formatting).  Second, if 30 days isn't enough time to test, just do a Server Reinstallation.  That will get you another 30 days.
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 5:25 AM
    Moderator
  • A trial is a trial. And if people decide to put all important stuff solely on to a system they are just testing, it is not the fault of Microsoft or the data is not important enough (a second level backup is also necessary to cover user errors, total server outage, fire, water, theft ...). 
    Microsoft can grant or revoke the right to test some software for a certain amount of time, but the length does not play a critical role for testing only in my opinion.
    There was a lot of unnecessary work involved for Microsoft in issueing personalized trial keys, troubleshooting activation issues for these trials etc, so I can see a reason, why the keyless trial is now preferred.
    You can still reinstall as often as you want (which is a good practice test, how good your hardware is ready for this), and the FAQ How to recover data after server failure explains, how you can access your data if you do not wish to reinstall.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 8:50 AM
    Moderator
  • Olaf, with all due respect, you (and Microsoft) have missed the point. 

    The issue here is not about reversability, it's not about the value or integrity of my data, or even my ability to find a techincal work around for the limitations Microsoft has now placed on my "test".  It's about Microsoft's careless disregard for the time and energy I have put into evaluating their product.  That disregard is illustrated by their arbitrary decision to change the trial period without changing the marketing materials that inform the customer of that limitation.  I completely disagree with your claim that the amount of time for a trial does not play a critical role for testing, and I imagine the majority of the users in this forum would concur.  Perhaps you have unlimited time during the day to install and test WHS; perhaps you have a large supply of spare hardware upon which to test; perhaps you have unlimited storage space with which to stage the migration of your data; but I suspect most of the target audience does not share such abundance.  You seem to understand Microsoft's costs, the "unnecessary work" they incurred; perhaps you should advocate equally for ours as well.

    But regardless of our various hardware, time, and storage levels, the issue remains that Microsoft offered us something that they did not intend to fulfill.  They changed the deal "in the middle" so to speak.  If they were concerned about leaving their prospective customers in a potentially difficult position, they would have changed their marketing and disclaimers to make it clear that the time period was changing.  That way, we could all accurately evalute whether or not the length of time would play a "critical role" or not. 

    It does not matter whether were talking about evaluating WHS, renting a car, buying a DVD from Promarkt or loaning our lawnmower to a neighbor; we all have an expectation that the other party will uphold the specifics of the agreement - whatever they may be - and we are reasonably and justifiably upset when they do not.  Microsoft certainly expects me to respect the requirements of their EULA; but it does not appear that they feel the same responsibility towards me.
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 2:32 PM
  • Parker,

    I think you probably speak for how a bunch of us feel.  This product WHS is certainly a great idea, and perhaps even will become a great product.  It certainly has it's very strong plus points.
    However, as you clearly point out: we are dealing with people's possessions here!  I'm in the same situation as you.  I'm now faced with two options: scrounge enough HD space together from somewhere else and spend days getting the data from the WHS backed up to these HD's, OR, buy a WHS on the belief that it will be exactly what i need.

    The option that Microsoft has is to let people have the 120 days.  Would that have been so bad for MS?  Sad really, that MS uses their power to simply powerdrive their will along....
    First, you can easily copy the data from the server hard drives to another PC, even long after your trial has expired (the drives are nothing more than standard NTFS formatting).  Second, if 30 days isn't enough time to test, just do a Server Reinstallation.  That will get you another 30 days.
    Not sure i see your point, but it certainly is useful if the data can easily be retrieved after the 30 days are up.  The problem is that one first needs to scrounge up enough spare HD space that can contain all of the data.  The HD's in the server are larger than anything else that I have, and I suppose more than what most people have laying around as extra.
    Regarding the question of not using "important" data for testing.  what's the point of testing with irrelevant data?  Is that a real test?  Please remember that MS advertised that one can really test this setup, not pseudo-test.

    But anyway, it's a mute point as MS has decided and has made the change. 

    Therefore, aRe you suggesting that, after the license expires i do not need to do anything special to access the drives and data?  I can simply still find them on the network and copy data from them? 
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 3:34 PM
  • First, I'm sure everyone will be thrilled to know that the download page now refers to the trial software as a "30 day trial". There's no more mention of a product key. I can't tell you when that changed, but it was probably within the last day or so.

    Trial software: Trial software is provided by Microsoft (and other vendors) as a courtesy. Users don't have a right to "try before they buy". I'll agree that it's good marketing to allow them to do so for a limited period, and I'll agree that the marketing materials that discuss the trial software needed updating, but that's as far as I go. Microsoft is an extremely large corporation, but it's always seemed to me that it's one that works (internally) more like a loose federation of small corporations that co-operate (sometimes). So getting the download page changed may have been a Sisyphean task; I really don't know.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 3:39 PM
    Moderator
  • To be clear, Ken, I have no problem with Microsoft changing the length of the trial periods or even offering one at all; WHS is their product and I respect their right to limit it however they like.  Further, I do not feel that I have some inherent "right" to "try before I buy".  I did not demand nor initiate this offer; it is Microsoft who has done the offering of this trial, and as you have mentioned, it is good marketing that they allow us to do so. 

    The problem comes when they offer one thing and provide another, whether intentionally or inadvertently, especially when it requires considerable resources on my part.  And for the record, it would not have been a Sisyphean task to have the notifications lead the limitations, instead of the other way around; clearly they have demonstrated that marketing can be changed.  Under that scenario, some number of folks who were expecting to get a 30 day trial might end up with 120 days instead.

    Not to belabour the point, but what I said in an earlier post sums it up best;

    It does not matter whether were talking about evaluating WHS, renting a car, buying a DVD from Promarkt or loaning our lawnmower to a neighbor; we all have an expectation that the other party will uphold the specifics of the agreement - whatever they may be - and we are reasonably and justifiably upset when they do not.  Microsoft certainly expects me to respect the requirements of their EULA; but it does not appear that they feel the same responsibility towards me.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 6:20 PM