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This document summarizes key information about evaluation versions of Windows Server® 2012, including where to obtain them, the limits on their use, and how to convert them to full retail versions. It also summarizes the supported upgrade paths from previously licensed retail versions of Windows Server to Windows Server 2012.
Fully functional time-limited evaluation versions of Windows Server 2012 are available for the following editions:
These evaluation versions are 64-bit only and can be installed with the Server Core option or the Server with a GUI option. For more information about these installation options, how to convert between them, and how to use the new Minimal Server Interface and Features on Demand, see http://technet.microsoft.com//library/hh831786.
For all editions, you have 10 days to complete online activation, at which point the evaluation period begins and runs for 180 days. During the evaluation period, a notification on the Desktop displays the days remaining the evaluation period (except in Windows Server 2012 Essentials). You can also run slmgr.vbs /dlv from an elevated command prompt to see the time remaining.
You can get evaluation versions by the following methods:
All evaluation versions are fully functional during the evaluation period, although booting to Safe mode is not available. The Windows Server 2012 Standard and Windows Server 2012 Datacenter editions come with the activation key pre-installed. After the 180-day evaluation period elapses, the server warns you in various ways depending on the edition:
Windows Server 2012 Standard; Windows Server 2012 Datacenter:
Windows Server 2012 Essentials: you receive warnings on the Desktop and on the dashboard, but the server does not shut down.
Most evaluation versions can be converted to full retail versions, but the method varies slightly depending on the edition. Before you attempt to convert the version, verify that your server is actually running an evaluation version. To do this, do either of the following:
If you have already activated Windows, the Desktop shows the time remaining in the evaluation period.
If the server is running a retail version instead of an evaluation version, see the “Upgrading previous licensed versions” section of this document for instructions to upgrade to Windows Server 2012.
For Windows Server 2012 Essentials: You can convert to the full retail version by entering a retail, volume license, or OEM key in the command slmgr.vbs.
If the server is running an evaluation version of Windows Server 2012 Standard or Windows Server 2012 Datacenter, you can convert it to a retail version as follows:
For the evaluation version of Windows Server 2012 Standard, you can also convert to the retail version of Windows Server 2012 Datacenter in one step using this same command and the appropriate product key.
Please check this link for more details: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj574204.aspx
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