Installing And Using Windows Server 2008 For 240 Days Without Activation

Just like most Windows operating systems including Windows XP SP3 and Vista, Microsoft offers an “activation grace” period/ free-look evaluation period for Windows Server 2008 as well. However, as compared to Windows Vista, Microsoft has been quite generous with the evaluation period that it offers for Windows Server 2008.

Unlike Windows Vista, wherein the activation-free evaluation period is 30 days, Microsoft offers a 60 days free-look evaluation period incase of Server 2008 and user can reset or extend the free evaluation period for additional 60 days for up to three times.

This basically means that you may use Windows Server 2008 for 240 days which is approximately 8 months, without having to activate it online or offline (i.e. via phone). During this evaluation or activation grace period that extends for 240 days, you may use Server 2008 without any limitation or restriction and install any edition of Server 2008 without activation.

However, you need to remember that if you are using Evaluation DVD package of Server 2008 which offers an initial evaluation period of 120 days, you can rearm or extend the free-look evaluation period only once.

To take advantage of the free evaluation period in Server 2008, you need to install it without activation. For doing so, you need to run the setup program for Windows Server 2008, but not input the product key when it prompts you to enter the product key for activating the product. 

When you are prompted for conformation of your selection, you need to click on “NO”. Once the installation process is over, Windows Server 2008 starts with the initial evaluation period of 60 days for which no activation is required.

Method to manually reset or extend the grace period for activation on expiry

When the free evaluation period of 60-days comes close to expiry, you need to run the script “slmgr.vbs” so as to extend the free-look evaluation period for additional 60 days by keeping all the programs and data in the PC intact.

  • Open the command prompt with administrator rights.
  • Type in “slmgr.vbs –rearm” and press the “Enter” key. This will reset the free-look evaluation or activation grace period back to 60 days.
  • Finally, restart your PC. 

In order to check the days left in the present activation grace period, you need to run the command “slmgr.vbs –dli”in the command prompt and it will display the time left. You may also use the “Task Scheduler” so as to automatically rearm or reset the evaluation period once it expires.


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