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How to extend Windows Server Evaluation

Microsoft offers excellent possibilities to test and work with their software before buying. Trial versions are great for several reasons. If you own a decent PC with a
newer version of the Windows desktop operating system, you can easily install
Hyper-V and start building virtual machines.

These virtual machines can be used to install most of the software Microsoft develops for testing purposes. This is great for testing out features but also gives you the possibility to get hands-on while educating yourself or preparing for a certification exam.

By default, Microsoft allows you to test software for a trial period of 180 days. This does sound like a lot, and should be sufficient for simple testing. But if you want to build a lab environment that should be available for you to test and play around for several exams, then 180 days might be a problem at some point. That was where I found myself not too long ago!

It’s Saturday morning, coffee is hot and freshly made. I’m about to jump into my Windows Server demo environment, and this happens!!

This is a lab environment. I don’t want to spend too much money buying these licenses or time reinstalling the server park.

Doing a bit of research, Microsoft does point you to an option of extending this trial period. In fact, Microsoft allows you to extend the trial Windows Server license up to 6 times. With a bit of math, you should be able to get an extra 900 days. That is 2.5 years in total, which should give you enough time to build and test the lab thoroughly before new Windows Server versions come out and you are to reinstall the server park anyway.

If you want to check how many days you have left of your trial version, you can do so by using the Software License Management Tool. This is accessed by opening a
Command Prompt with administrator privileges.

Right-Click “Start”. Choose “Run” and type in “cmd” and click OK.

When the command prompt window opens, type the following command.

Slmgr -dlv

This command will give you useful information, such as when the license expires and
how many rearm counts you have left. If you switch out -dlv with -dli you will get less information, but in our case with a coming trial expiration, the information is sufficient.

Slmgr -dli

Now that we have the information available let us get the license rearmed so we can continue working in the lab environment.

In the same command prompt, type the following command to rearm the trial license.

Slmgr -rearm

As soon as this command is initiated, we will get informed to reboot the server. Click OK to this and restart the server. Time to refresh your coffee. 😊

Returning to my newly rearmed Windows server, I nearly choked on my coffee. For some reason, the rearm only gave me 10 days. That was not part of the deal!

I realized that my server had no connectivity to the internet, so no way it could have asked Microsoft if it was OK to extend this trial. After a bit of troubleshooting and getting my server to access the internet, the trial information was corrected to 180 days. Happy days.

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