Convert Windows Server 2016 Evaluation to Licensed

After Windows Server 2016 was announced GA on Ignite 2016 I installed the 180 day evaluation version of the Standard edition. As a test / for research purposes I wondered if this edition could be converted to a licensed edition, and how this could be done.

So here goes.

KMS keys for Windows can be found here:
AVMA keys for Windows can be found here:

Running winver.exe shows us I’m tunning the Evaluation version:

Using the Activation option to try and activate with a KMS key throws an error:

If you installed the Evaluation version, you first need to convert this edition to the licensed edition.
So, back to good old dism.exe.

In an elevated prompt type the following line:
dism /online /set-edition:ServerStandard /productkey:WC2BQ-8NRM3-FDDYY-2BFGV-KHKQY /accepteula

The product key that is used here is the KMS key for Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition.

Reboot the server (it will reboot twice!).

Checking winver.exe:

In an elevated prompt type the following:

Again, this is the KMS key for Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition.

After that, activate Windows by typing the following in an elevated prompt:
slmgr /ato

Of course, this will only work if you have a KMS host running on your network and have configured the KMS correctly.



20+ years experience in Microsoft powered environments. Enjoy automating stuff using scripts, powershell, and even batch files. In my free time (hah! as if there is any) I hunt achievements and gamerscore on anything Xbox Live enabled (Windows Mobile, Windows 8, Windows 10, Xbox 360 and Xbox One). When I'm not doing that I enjoy traveling or riding my Yamaha R1 on the edge ;)

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Posted in Windows 2016
26 comments on “Convert Windows Server 2016 Evaluation to Licensed
  1. tscholem says:

    Interesting enough that “dism /online /?” shows a switch called “/set-productkey”, which cannot be used on Online images. The help doesn’t show your “/productkey” switch, but this actually works and does what is needed! Good catch!

  2. ahmed says:

    what if ihave “MAK” key ? is it the same steps ?

  3. Warren says:

    Hey Arjan,

    Are you able to assist with a RD Wed portal redesign? Or do you know of someone who would be? Thanks in advance.

  4. Kevin says:

    Do we actually use the KMS product key for Windows 2016 on the dism commands and the slmgr? Or do we use our product key. When exactly do we type in our product key ?

    • Arjan Mensch says:

      Hi Kevin,
      If you have a MAK key for 2016 you can use that in the command instead of the KMS key. Alternatively, if you are running 2016 in a VM on 2016 Hyper-V or Datacenter, you can use the 2016 AVMA key.

  5. Ricky says:

    if I install a domain controller on the windows server 2016 evaluation, and after 180 days will purchase the standard license, must be follow the steps like the windows server 2012? Example: create a new server, promote the new dc….etc


    • Arjan Mensch says:

      Hi Ricky,
      There’s no need to reinstall any evaluation servers. You can change the license as described in this article.

      • Steve says:

        thanks Arjan, good research
        will 2012 r2 standard eval convert to standard and accept an open license activation key,? eval has domain/activedirectory/hyper-v configured.

      • Arjan Mensch says:

        Hi Steve,
        I think so yes, but only one way to find out. You won’t break anything if it doesn’t work. The command won’t be accepted.

  6. Thank you. Worked like a charm! :)

  7. Andrew says:

    I’ve done this successfully by just running the first step. Then go in and activate via the GUI.

  8. Alex says:

    Hi Arjan,

    I dont see a contact you on this page. I am sorry to write it over here.

    I want to know if there is a proper way to edit the size of a vhdx file of a user?

    For example the default vhdx is 10gb for the users. Now I want to give just one user 20gb in size of the profile. Is that possible? I am using vmware and server 2012r2. I can’t find anything on the inet. Your tutorials are straight to the point. Is this something you can write up in a new blog post and point it out for me and the other guys? Would be great.

    Thank you,

    • Arjan Mensch says:

      Hi Alex, the vhdx size limit is for the entire collection, which in your case is 10GB. You cannot go over this size for a single user within the same collection as far as I know.

  9. P. Potgar says:

    Hi Arjan,
    Would you, perhaps, be able to provide a short phone support (20/40 minutes) for a good fee (I can do it over your paypal donation link. It is related to this issue hereto)? I crashed my server-16/standard yesterday after sucessfully commanding the proper dism…, with a brand new MSDN Prod-key. Got the repair menu after reboot. But I will need to talk to you over the phone due to my urgency, etc.

  10. P. Potgar says:

    Thanks anyway. I’m wondering if the Prod Key that I purchased could, eventually, be restricted to 32 bits? (my evaluation download is a 64 bit standard server 2016). The MS reseller gave me a little discount and I got it “as is” so to speak. Or, if the MSDN download source is different from the file I got from the Microsoft current default URL. Any clue?

    • Arjan Mensch says:

      Hi P,
      Windows Server is only available as 64-bit OS. It could be that customizations you did to the server image or installation are interfering, or maybe the OS was in the midst of installing Windows Updates when you executed the dism command. As far as I know this process will never kill your installation. It will simply not execute using a faulty key.

  11. craig says:

    Worked for me, thank you much. It is awful that this info isnt attached to the GUI activation. Typical of MS I suppose.

  12. Nadeem says:

    If customer download trial version 180 days from the Evaluation Center of Windows Server 2016 (64-Bit) it possible to purchase open license to activate the same trial version after evaluation.

  13. Jonathan says:

    I’m grateful to see a delineation between retail, OEM, and Open. Very thankfully I was able to get my test DC to activate to standard with my Open MAK. Huge relief, was not looking forward to redoing it all.

  14. Chris says:

    I too can confirm what Jonathan says. The commands above worked fine with a MAK key. Many thanks to you Arjan, saves me having to reinstall a DC from scratch. Also be careful on that R1 :-)

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