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Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q818025 contains:
SUMMARYThis article describes the behavior of the evaluation version of Windows Server 2003. It also contains information about the 14-day activation grace period and the 180-day evaluation period, and it describes what occurs when these time periods expire.
Windows Product Activation (WPA)The End User License Agreement (EULA) for an evaluation version of Windows Server 2003 requires that you activate your installation of Windows Server 2003 within 14 days from the time that you install it. If you choose not to activate Windows the first time that you start it, an Activate icon is displayed in the notification area at the far right of the taskbar. This icon periodically displays notifications to remind you of the number of days remaining in the 14-day grace period. After this period expires, you must activate your installation of Windows Server 2003 before you can continue to use Windows.
Product activation is completely anonymous. For more information about Windows Product Activation, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
Evaluation Time PeriodThe evaluation version of Windows Server 2003 expires 180 days from the time that you install and start it. You are reminded periodically of the number of days that are remaining in the 180-day evaluation period. Messages are logged to the Application Event log, and you also receive notification messages that are similar to the following when you log on to the computer:
The Windows Logon Process system process terminated unexpectedly with a status of 0xc0000268 (0x00000000 0x00000000).
The system has been shut down.
Important You can log on to the computer in Safe mode only if you log on to the computer by using the local administrator account. You can upgrade to the retail, released version of Windows Server 2003 while you are in Safe mode.
Use Winver.exe to Determine the Expiration DateYou can run the Winver.exe command-line tool to determine the version of Windows Server 2003 that is installed on your computer and the date when your evaluation copy of Windows Server 2003 expires. To do so:
- Click Start, and then click Run.
- In the Open box, type winver.exe, and then press ENTER.
812545 Evaluation Version of Windows Server 2003 May Expire Before the Date that the Winver.exe File Reports