JSI Tip 6600. What is the Windows 2003 Server evaluation copy expiration behavior?

NOTE: The text in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article is provided so that the site search can find this page. Please click the Knowledge Base link to insure that you are reading the most current information.

Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q818025 contains:

SUMMARY

This 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.

MORE INFORMATION

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:

http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/default.asp

Evaluation Time Period

The 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 evaluation period for this product will expire in Number days. Please upgrade this version to the retail product.
When the time period expires, you receive an error message similar to the following:


The evaluation period for this installation of Windows has expired. This system will shut down in 1 hour. To restore access to this installation of Windows, please upgrade this installation using a licensed distribution of this product.
After approximately one hour (this time period may vary), you may receive the following Stop error message, and the computer may automatically restart:


*** STOP: 0x00000098 (parameter1, parameter2, parameter 3, parameter 4)
END_OF_NT_EVALUATION_PERIOD
After you log on to Windows, you may also receive the following Stop error message:


STOP: c000021a \{Fatal System Error\}
The Windows Logon Process system process terminated unexpectedly with a status of 0xc0000268 (0x00000000 0x00000000).
The system has been shut down.
When you receive this error message, you can no longer use the evaluation copy of Windows Server 2003. You must obtain and install the retail, released version of Windows Server 2003.

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 Date

You 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:
  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type winver.exe, and then press ENTER.
For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

812545 Evaluation Version of Windows Server 2003 May Expire Before the Date that the Winver.exe File Reports

Upgrade an Evaluation Version of Windows Server 2003 to a Retail Version

To remove the 180-day expiration period for an evaluation version of Windows Server 2003, upgrade your computer to the full retail, released version of Windows Server 2003. For more information about Windows Server 2003, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/default.mspx



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