Server 2012 Activation fails after Trial Period Ends

The scenario is for all you Resellers and OEM Channels who may sell Volume License. This is a real pain to find, so I thought I would make a quick post. The wording of the existing documentation is vague and it is easy to fail to get your machine licensed. The situation is your media did not arrive and you have a customer install of Server 2012 R2. You use the eval edition to make the install (technically a EULA violation from what I am gathering) and then you try to activate your Volume license and it fails.

The error will come back as:


Never fear, DISM is here:

1. DISM /online /Get-CurrentEdition
2. DISM /online /Set-Edition:StandardEdition /AcceptEula /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

The Current edition will come back as a Standard edition Eval. This command changes the version to Standard and then puts your key in.

If your Trial version expired, you will have to re-arm the machine with Slmgr /rearm (or -rearm)

I hope this helps. It sure helped me today 🙂


2 thoughts on “Server 2012 Activation fails after Trial Period Ends

  1. Alessandro says:

    excuse me if I resume this old post. Have You tried to activate an OEM license, after installing the evaluation server?
    Thank You,


    • For an OEM license, I would not use the trial edition. I suppose it may work, but i don’t think you have a guarantee with OEM media, because there is generally a limited EULA with
      those titles. You should be able to get the media package from any OEM vendor, for like $12 or so. I would recommend that route. I have heard that it does work for OEM.

      However, if it fails, you will have to call the OEM and not Microsoft. When you do, and it fails, the only thing that will happen is they will tell you to get the OEM media. They
      may send it to you free of charge, or you may have to pay. But in that case, your under EULA and it will take precedent.


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