How to Activate Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 180-day Evaluation Version After Expiration with a Product Key (Step-by-step)

The trial period of the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 180-day Evaluation version had come to an end on my laptop and the SQL Server had stopped working. I had bought the Developer Edition media with product key and wanted to use that to have the SQL Server running again. The following are the step-by-step screenshots of the entire activation experience.

Click on images to enlarge.

Following is the error message that comes up while trying to start the SQL Server Management Studio on an expired SQL Server 2008 R2 showing that the trial period has expired.


I have Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) running on Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz, 4 GB RAM. To begin the activation, go to Start > All Programs > Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 > Configuration Tools > SQL Server Installation Center (64-bit). Go to Maintenance and click on Edition Upgrade.


An in-progress message appears briefly.


A setup rule verification window appears and shows the progress while the rules are verified. Each status message can be checked by clicking on the link. A summary of all the rules is also presented in HTML format. The path for the HTML file is mentioned at the end of the blog post. Wait for the setup to verify the rules to and click OK.


Another set of rules are verified. Wait for this to complete and click Next.


The next screen presents an option to enter the product key. Enter the key and click Next.


Read and accept the license terms by checking the checkbox. Click Next.


Select the SQL Server instance from the dropdown and click Next.


One more set of rules are verified. After completion click on Next. The next window shows a summary for review and a confirmation that the setup is ready to upgrade the edition. Click on Upgrade. The Upgrade button will be disabled but there will not be any other activity indication like a hour-glass cursor or a progress bar. This could be a little puzzling but wait for it to complete. It took about 4 minutes to complete on my laptop. Your mileage could vary.


The final screen shows a completion message and the path of the setup log file. Click on the log file path to open it. Click OK on the setup window to close it.


HTML report of the setup rules:
C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL Server100Setup BootstrapLogYYYYMMDD_HHMISSSystemConfigurationCheck_Report.htm

Text log files:
C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL Server100Setup BootstrapLog
and its child folders.