Help: SQL Server

Sharing my knowlege about SQL Server Troubleshooting Skills

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    June 2011
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Help: SQL Server Evaluation Edition Expired!

Posted by blakhani on June 1, 2011

Many time in forums, I have seen question about Enterprise Evaluation Edition expiration. So idea of this blog post is to avoid repetitive screenshots (which i love to put in my replies as they are more powerful). So here we go…

If you have SQL Server 2005/2008/2008 R2 Enterprise Evaluation edition and its already expired then you may see below error message when you open SQL Server Management Studio.

Here is the text of the message for better search.

Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio:
Evaluation period has expired. For information on how to upgrade your evaluation software please go to

There could be two possibilities.

  • SQL Server is really really expired (This is most common question in forum)
  • SQL Server 2008 has been upgraded to full version but tools are not working. This is a known issue which i have blogged here

Now, if SQL 2005 is expired then you have no choice other than uninstall/reinstall SQL Server (of course you can reuse mdf and ldf files). In this blog I am not going to cover SQL 2005 upgrade (come on, its 6 years old product when I was writing this post). If SQL 2005 is not expired then you can perform edition upgrade by putting CD/DVD of new edition and choosing proper instance .

From SQL 2008 onwards, you can perform edition upgrade even if its expired. Cool! Isn’t it? Well, this feature was introduced by hearing feedback from customers. Here are the steps to do it.

  • Launch the Setup.exe from the DVD/Shared Location. You would get below screen titled “SQL Server Installation Center” .
    • If you have SQL already installed then you can also launch “Installation Center” by going to Start->Programs ->Microsoft SQL Server 2008[R2]->Configuration Tools-> SQL Server Installation Center[(64-bit)].


  • Click on “Maintenance” and choose “Edition Upgrade”
  • Go through the Wizard and choose the Instance you want to upgrade.

Simple, huh?

Fewer times I have been asked if I need to download mount/extract complete ISO to run edition upgrade? Well, here is the trick. Media for all the edition is same. Its the PID which decides which edition to be installed. PID is picked from a file called DefaultSetup.Ini (DVD\x86 or x64 or ia64 folder). It essentially means that you can extract that file from ISO image, run setup of Evaluation media and in below screen type the PID manually.


Hope this helped someone today!

Balmukund Lakhani


21 Responses to “Help: SQL Server Evaluation Edition Expired!”

  1. That is really a cool tip

  2. David said

    Hi Bal, you’re a genius. This saved my day. God bless you.

  3. chintan said

    thanks. you saved my life.

  4. Nikki from Phoenix, AZ said

    Great tips! I’m trying to perform an upgrade to avoid a re-install after an evaluation period expired. When I hit the part in the Wizard for Edition Update Rules, it failed at SQL Server Analysis Services Upgrade Edition Validation Check. Here’s the error message: “SQL Server Analysis Services Evaluation Edition can be upgraded only to Standard, Enterprise, or Developer Edition.”

    Internet research has yielded nothing. Any ideas?

  5. Rahul said

    thanks that’s really helpful

  6. saad said

    Very helful.God bless

  7. darshani said

    Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips and hints for first-time blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  8. Kartiikeya said

    followed the same processs…still not working…

  9. pandiarajan said

    I also have this expired issue. My doubt is if we upgrade evaluation to licensed, Then the old Databases will presence or any issue will happen. And I want to be sure before upgrade to license.
    Another thing is how to take backup in the expired SQL server without Management studio..

  10. Frank said

    God Bless you 🙂

  11. SG said

    I have installed the Management Studio 2014 evaluation that could be expirying in 1 month. Now i just want to put in the PID to make it never-expirying. My question is
    1. Will it effect the databases in any way ? Do they have to be stopped or will the work interrupt ?
    2. The current version showing on my server is 12.0.4100.1. I have the PID for SQL Server 2014 enterprise edition with service pack 1 x64. After I put in this PID, will this work safely, and in case it does not can i go back to the evaluation edition temporarily again ?

    • blakhani said

      1. Are you upgrading database engine? Only SSMS upgrade?
      2. it would just upgrade edition not version.

      • SG said

        Firstly, thank you for your immediate response.
        I installed full featured Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition with SP1 x64. So I think it is only SSMS upgrade, not the engine. So I hope after putting the PID of the same thing, it will all remain the same. Please clarify.

      • blakhani said

        @SG – you are correct.

  12. sreesha sankar said

    How can i check the license expiry date of Enterprise edition SQL Server 2008 R2

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