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We have a Small Business Server 2k3 that we recently demoted as the domain controller when we moved offices last week. Starting this afternoon, the server shut itself off as we're now violating the EULA since it wants to be the domain controller.

We're trying to figure out the fastest way to remedy this situation (promoting it back to being the domain controller isn't an option).

Is it possible to obtain a license key for a different version of Windows Server, change the key in place, and get the thing to stop restarting every hour? Any other good options?

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You have to make it the DC again, or do a complete reinstall of another version of Windows. You can't "upgrade" from SBS to Standard or any other version except SBS again. – Chris S Aug 26 '10 at 21:13
In-place won't fix the problem because that retains the registry settings. Back up the data and install with a fresh (licenced) copy of Windows, like Chris says. – user3914 Aug 26 '10 at 22:02
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It is not possible to do an inplace upgrade! Not even to change the license. Windows SBS is different to normal Windows Versions in multiple ways.

Your only valid option would be the transition pack for SBS 2003. This will convert your SBS to a standard Windows 2003. I'm not sure if you'll get this upsizing option for W2k3 since W2k8 is out.

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-1 This is not correct. There is a transition pack for SBS 2003 that will lift the licensing restrictions. It's pretty much windows server 2003 with some scripts, a lot of roles, and some licensing restrictions. – Jason Berg Aug 31 '10 at 1:54
I didn't remeber the name - but this is what I ment with upsizing! – Andreas Rehm Aug 31 '10 at 13:01
All right. Fair enough. Edit your answer to reflect the proper name and I'll change my downvote to an upvote :-) – Jason Berg Aug 31 '10 at 18:03
Edit completed... :-) – Andreas Rehm Aug 31 '10 at 23:36

Andreas' answer is wrong. You can get a transition pack for SBS2003. This will lift all of the SBS licensing restrictions. Here is the Microsoft KB article about your options:

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