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Can the WHS 120 day evaluation installation be converted to a licensed installation without a clean install? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I downloaded the Windows Home Server 120 day evaluation with Power Pack 1.  If I install this eval copy & then purchase an OEM copy, can I change the Product Key to the one on the COA in the OEM pack & continue to use the installation with requiring a clean re-install?

    I don't want to get it all set up & then have to do it all over again.

    Thanks!

    Dave
    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 9:55 PM

Answers

  • Unfortunately, No. If you install the WHS Trial version, once you buy the OEM version you will have to re-install the OS and you will lose all settings/users/etc... you have set up. On the positive side though, WHS creates a "DATA" partition and when you reinstall the OS, that does not get touched and you will have all of your files just as you left them. But like I said, you will lose all your settings and users that you have set up.
    • Proposed as answer by s.morrow Tuesday, January 20, 2009 10:59 PM
    • Marked as answer by Dave Sparks Wednesday, January 21, 2009 1:30 PM
    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 10:59 PM
  • I answered my own question :)

    To get a Product Key for use with the 120-Day Evaluation downloaded from Microsoft Download you join the Windows Home Server Connect Program & once you join, you can request an evaluation Key.  It looks to me like you can request multiple Product Keys, to test it in multiple locations.  Of course they are all 120-day time-limited.

    [Update] --  I just requested & received a second WHS 120-Day Evaluation Product Key from the Windows Home Server Connect Program confirming that you CAN get multiple Eval Keys.  I can play with this one at work for 120-Days & install it at home as well.

    @ S. Morrow > Good point about using an OEM Product Key & installing using the 120-Day Evaluation media.  I had better wait till I get the OEM media.  From Ken Morrow's post FAQ: How do I upgrade from the evaluation/trial to a full copy of WHS?", linked further up this thread;

    "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."

    (Emphasis mine)

    [Update II]  --  I was talking with a co-worker who insists that he converted a WHS Evaluation installation to a licensed version, simply by switching the Product Key.  He also says that a friend of his installed a Retail OEM copy using the Product Key from the COA & the 120-Day Evaluation media.  I will test this & post here.  I won't have my OEM copy of WHS till Friday, but will test on the weekend.


    ~Dave
    • Marked as answer by Dave Sparks Wednesday, January 21, 2009 9:11 PM
    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 9:11 PM

All replies

  • Unfortunately, No. If you install the WHS Trial version, once you buy the OEM version you will have to re-install the OS and you will lose all settings/users/etc... you have set up. On the positive side though, WHS creates a "DATA" partition and when you reinstall the OS, that does not get touched and you will have all of your files just as you left them. But like I said, you will lose all your settings and users that you have set up.
    • Proposed as answer by s.morrow Tuesday, January 20, 2009 10:59 PM
    • Marked as answer by Dave Sparks Wednesday, January 21, 2009 1:30 PM
    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 10:59 PM
  • Please see this FAQ for information on the only way to upgrade from the evaluation software to the full version.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 11:11 PM
    Moderator
  • Thank you S. Morrow & Ken for your prompt responses.  I would like the experience of multiple installations in any case, so I will probably install the trial on a PC at work, just for the experience & then install again on a PC at home that will function as my personal WHS.  When I get the OEM license, I will install to the OS partition using my OEM Key.

    Can I use the 120-Day Evaluation Product Key for multiple installations?  The one at work would be wiped pretty much as soon as the installation completes.

    Speaking of an Installation product Key; i downloaded the 120-Day Eval, but I didn't see anywhere to register for a eval key.  Is one required?
    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 3:14 PM
  • You can only use the trial product key once. After that, it tells you "This product key has been used too many times, please contact microsoft to obtain a new one" or something along those lines. I did not even know that you could download the trial version, I thought you had to order the CD's from microsoft, so I dont know what to tell you about registering for a key. Maybe Ken knows more about that. I imagine you could call microsoft and ask them for one though.

    To answer your question though, yes a product key is requiered and you will be able to use WHS for 30 days before entering one in, at which point you wont be able to use it anymore. So if you wanted to test out the installation at work, just dont enter in a key and you can use it for 30 days. Dont expect too much excitement from the installation though. Its pretty much just start it, and let it run for more than an hour.

    Another side-note: It sounds like you are going to use the WHS trial version and enter in your OEM key to the trial version. I have absolutely no idea if this is true or not, but I think to use the OEM key, you have to install WHS from the OEM CD's. I could be wrong though. Just thought I would throw that out there just in case. Please correct me if im wrong someone.
    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 4:42 PM
  • I answered my own question :)

    To get a Product Key for use with the 120-Day Evaluation downloaded from Microsoft Download you join the Windows Home Server Connect Program & once you join, you can request an evaluation Key.  It looks to me like you can request multiple Product Keys, to test it in multiple locations.  Of course they are all 120-day time-limited.

    [Update] --  I just requested & received a second WHS 120-Day Evaluation Product Key from the Windows Home Server Connect Program confirming that you CAN get multiple Eval Keys.  I can play with this one at work for 120-Days & install it at home as well.

    @ S. Morrow > Good point about using an OEM Product Key & installing using the 120-Day Evaluation media.  I had better wait till I get the OEM media.  From Ken Morrow's post FAQ: How do I upgrade from the evaluation/trial to a full copy of WHS?", linked further up this thread;

    "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."

    (Emphasis mine)

    [Update II]  --  I was talking with a co-worker who insists that he converted a WHS Evaluation installation to a licensed version, simply by switching the Product Key.  He also says that a friend of his installed a Retail OEM copy using the Product Key from the COA & the 120-Day Evaluation media.  I will test this & post here.  I won't have my OEM copy of WHS till Friday, but will test on the weekend.


    ~Dave
    • Marked as answer by Dave Sparks Wednesday, January 21, 2009 9:11 PM
    Wednesday, January 21, 2009 9:11 PM