FAQ: How do I upgrade from the evaluation/trial to a full copy of WHS? RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Answer: it isn't possible to "upgrade" the 120 day evaluation software to a full installation without reinstallation. Microsoft has embedded a "time bomb" in the core OS which will progressively disable your server after 120 days. This time bomb is not tied to the product key, and can't be disabled.

    To upgrade to a full version of the software, you will need to perform a server reinstallation. This is a special installation mode, which allows you to refresh the operating system (or the entire system disk if recovering from an issue which required replacement of that disk) without affecting your shares or backups. You will lose any users you've created (if you recreate the user after the reinstallation, the user will be reconnected with his/her folder in the Users share with no data loss), and any add-ins you've installed will have to be reinstalled. If you've customized your server in other ways (installed software in a Remote Desktop session, tweaked the OS, etc.) you will have to re-do those customizations.

    To perform a server reinstallation:
    1. Boot your server from the installation media.
    2. At the screen which shows your hard drives, make sure that all drives are visible. If some of your data drives aren't visible, add drivers for them. If your system drive isn't visible, you'll need drivers for that too. In that case, storage drivers must be on floppy disk (or other media that will be readable in text mode setup).
    3. When you reach the screen which asks what kind of installation you want to perform, you should have two options: New installation and server reinstallation (or server recovery). Choose server reinstallation. If you don't see both options, do not proceed! New Installation will erase all data on all disks visible to setup! Instead, post in the Hardware and installation forum. (Note: Microsoft doesn't offer any support for Windows Home Server through normal retail support channels. The people who help you in the forum are all volunteers; if someone doesn't get back to you instantly, try to be understanding. :) )
    4. After choosing server reinstallation, your server will reboot into text mode setup. If you needed drivers for your system disk, watch the bottom of the screen closely for the "Press F6" prompt. Tap F6 several times when it appears; you should then be given the opportunity to add drivers.
    5. Once you've added all required drivers, leave the installation media in the DVD drive (Removing the DVD partway through the process will usually cause setup to fail) and go do something else. It will take some time for installation to finish; it's done when you reach the (Vista-like) Welcome screen.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Edited by Ken WarrenModerator Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:08 PM info about what you keep/lose
    Saturday, January 10, 2009 2:05 PM