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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

I am currently running a trial of SBS 2011 Essentials that has expired. Most of the results I see for SBS 2011 on the internet are for OEM DVDs. Can I use the product key from that to activate my trial, or do I need a different kind of license for it to work?




2 Answers 2


Short answer is possibly. However, OEM software has very specific terms and that usually means hardware with the software. While some will happily sell the OEM software alone, Microsoft may view this as an illegal copy.

  • 2
    There's that whole silly computer show tactic of selling it with hardware, like a keyboard or CD-ROM.
    – brandeded
    Nov 18, 2011 at 15:55

This is an example of using a volume license key with the evaluation version of Server 2011. Attempting the OEM key will require you to change your key. The slmgr.vbs script does work with Windows 2008 R2, for which "Server 2011" products are based on.

I can not locate information on "converting" an evaluation version to OEM.

Some research revealed:

"This software is for evaluation and testing purposes. Evaluating Windows Server® 2008 software does not require product activation or entering a product key. Any edition of Windows Server 2008 may be installed without activation and evaluated for an initial 60 days.

If you need more time to evaluate Windows Server 2008, the 60 day evaluation period may be reset (or re-armed) three times, extending the original 60 day evaluation period by up to 180 days for a total possible evaluation time of 240 days. After this time, you will need to uninstall the software or upgrade to a fully-licensed version of Windows Server 2008." (source is this document)

My real world suggestion is to buy the OEM key, try to change the key using slmgr.vbs in this evaluation instance, then attempt to activate. Worst case is that you would also need to obtain the OEM media/image/installer, then work it like that.

Avoid working on an evaluation system like it's a production system.

Another strategy would be build out a system with an OEM license and image separately, then migrate the various roles off of the current evaluation system to the OEM licensed system.

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