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Extend Windows 2008 R2 “activation grace” period

If you are like me, you might be testing new machines in a lab environment or making videos or blogs about new features. Virtualization has helped in numerous ways to facilitate this new learning. It helps to spin up new machines to test or validate these many different configurations. You also might be like me in that you are limited by the amount of software keys that you have access to activate Windows. Well, this post should help you moving forward.

By default, Windows Server 2008 R2 does not ask for a product key during setup and it will allow you to run 30 days for free before needing to be activated. However, you can continue to use it after a 30 day trial, but past that time, the system will eventually start to reboot every 2 hours or run with reduced functionalities the longer it runs without being activated. If you want to extend that trial period, there are currently two workarounds that will not require you to implement a valid product key.

“Rearm” Windows

This first method will allow you to extend the “evaluation” period by. The evaluation period is also known as the “activation grace” period. Type in the following from an elevated
command prompt:

slmgr.vbs -rearm

This will reset the activation expiration and the machine is good for another 30 days. You can do this up to 3 times and get 120 days free trial in total. For more information about this command, please see this article: Slmgr.vbs Options

NOTE: If you are using sysprep a lot with a base image and want to avoid this issue, please see this blog: Sysprep, SkipRearm, and Image Build Best Practices

Windows Server 2008 R2 Editions 180 day Evaluation Keys

The last option, which allows you with more flexibility, which I believe is the best way to proceed, is to enter a product key that will allow you to “evaluate” Windows 2008 R2 for 180 days. Here are the keys needed to allow you to run for free for 6 months:

Windows Server 2008 R2 Web = KBV3Q-DJ8W7-VPB64-V88KG-82C49

Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard = 4GGC4-9947F-FWFP3-78P6F-J9HDR

Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise = 7PJBC-63K3J-62TTK-XF46D-W3WMD

Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter = QX7TD-2CMJR-D7WWY-KVCYC-6D2YT 

When you are done, it will look like the following:

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7 Responses to “Extend Windows 2008 R2 “activation grace” period”

  1. Elias Vazquez #

    It works. Thanks a lot !

    May 3, 2013 at 8:19 PM
  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on microsoft.


    May 13, 2013 at 10:35 AM
  3. Thanks for sharing 😉

    June 28, 2013 at 3:46 AM
  4. nano #



    Work !

    August 6, 2013 at 12:28 PM
  5. Rick #

    Great! Thanks a lot!

    August 28, 2013 at 4:14 PM
  6. Wow its great helpfull for me. its’ worked and blessed me with 180 more days.

    Thanks a Lot.

    September 2, 2013 at 7:38 AM
  7. VERNON #


    September 6, 2013 at 2:28 PM
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