Converting Windows Server Evaluation to a Licensed Version 

How to convert Windows Server Evaluation to a Licensed version?

If you have installed an 'Evaluation version' of Windows Server 2022, 2019, 2016, or 2012 R2 in your test environment and later wish to transition the same server to your production environment without losing data or performing a fresh installation, you may need to follow the method outlined below:


You can freely convert between Windows Server Evaluation version to Retail/Volume/OEM Licensed version. The edition remains the same during this conversion. If you are starting with an evaluation version, convert it to the retail version first, and then you can inter-convert as described. To do this, from an elevated command prompt, run:

slmgr /ipk <key>

Where <key> is the appropriate volume, retail, or OEM product/license key.

Open PowerShell/Command Prompt as Administrator and write and enter: slmgr /ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

After inserting the license key successfully, write this command for activation: slmgr /ato

Note: You must have to have a brand new Retail/Volume/OEM license key for the activation. So be sure you have it or you can buy from this store too. For your information, we are Microsoft Partner since 2010 and able to issue any version of Windows and Windows Server.

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If it doesn't work and getting an error like: Error: 0xC004F069 and 0x2a 0xc004f069 or Error 1168 the specified product key could not be validated, You need a Retail product key (which you will get from us if purchased from our store) and use DISM command to upgrade Windows Server Edition from evaluation edition to Standard or Datacenter edition. 

Sometimes you may need to uninstall the previous key by this command: slmgr /upk

Please be sure that your server is running Up to Date on the current version, so complete all update before the conversion!! For this issue, please check this link to be sure about your server version and the current version or use the following both command on PowerShell/Command Prompt - Run as Administrator: 

Type following command on command prompt or PowerShell/Windows Terminal to upgrade your Windows Server Standard or Datacenter evaluation version to Retail version.

Click Y and restart the system and it's done. Please note: This method only work with Retail License for upgrading from Windows Server Evaluation version to Retail & Licensed version. If you purchased from us and going to implement your server on the environment by our given Server OS and License, simply skip it. It's only required for whom, who  already installed Windows Server Evaluation version.

Still have the issue? Please use/install the Generic Volume License Keys (GVLK) at first which you will get from this link, and take a restart of your server and then try again with your purchased Retail License which you will get from us(if purchased from us) or from another retail seller. Otherwise you can contact with Microsoft Support also for fixing the issue if you really have a valid license key.

If the server is running an evaluation version of Windows Server Standard/Datacenter as Domain Controller, you can convert it to a retail version as follows:

For the evaluation version of Windows Server Standard, you can also convert to the retail version of Windows Server Datacenter in one step using this same command and the appropriate product key. For more information about Dism.exe, see https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=192466.

Nothing works? Seems like complicated? Why not reinstalling the server over your current server? It will give you an option to keep old data while installing the server OS, please be sure to keep a backup before the process. 

In our experience, this issue arises only when the server was installed using a Microsoft-provided Evaluation License Key. If the server was installed without any key, the activation process is simple. Just use your purchased license key, and it will activate instantly. If you don't have a genuine license key for product activation and are looking to acquire one at the lowest possible cost, please visit us for Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2012 R2 and for unlisted products you should contact us.

Microsoft Partner for Genuine Windows Server Retail Licensing