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Archive for the ‘Edition Upgrade’ Category

Help : How to get Product Key for SQL Server

Posted by blakhani on June 5, 2014

If you have come here by the search engines to get free product key for the SQL Server then you may want to stop right here and search to some other site. The idea of this post is to help those who are downloading (or downloaded) it from MSDN or volume licensing site or already have a installation media.

Below are some frequent questions which I have seen on forums.

  • Where can I get a product key from MSDN subscription for SQL Server 2012 edition upgrade?
  • How to Find SQL Server product key from an installed instance?
  • How to change SQL Server 2008 R2 product key change on production server?

Most of the question would be answered automatically once you understand how setup works.

When you go to “Subscriber Downloads” page search for SQL Server, and we can easily get the software. I have seen various post in the forum stating they they are seeing “No product key is required” as below.


This is very normal. From SQL 2008 onwards (2008 R2, 2012, 2014), the setup media comes with pre-pidded (except Evaluation and Express editions) Whenever we invoke setup.exe from that location, the PID would be picked automatically and filled in the screen. I have mentioned in one of my previous blog that PID would change the edition of SQL getting installed.

I have the media, how to get the PID?

When we run setup.exe from the media, the PID is picked from DefaultSetup.ini file located under Root\X86 or Root\x64 folder. This file is also used to make slipstream media (refer KB


The file would look like below

;Configuration File
PID="your pid value"

I don’t have that file. What’s wrong?

This would mean that your media is a evaluation media. You need to get full media.

Can I change the product key?

There are various product keys for same edition of SQL. You can use “edition upgrade” and change product key (assuming no edition change)

I have installed Evaluation Edition and want to upgrade to Enterprise Edition / Standard Edition

I have already written a blog on that. Can I Upgrade SQL Edition without reinstall?

Can I get PID for installed version?

The value is stored in registry in obfuscated format and there could be software to convert that. In good world, you may not need to use such software because if you have media, you know how to get product key.

  • Cheers,
  • Balmukund Lakhani
  • Twitter @blakhani
  • Author: SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOnPaperback, Kindle
  • Posted in Edition Upgrade, PID, Product Key | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

    Help : I purchased proper media to upgrade SQL version, still setup thinks that its Evaluation. What’s wrong?

    Posted by blakhani on February 12, 2012

    Have you came across the scenario where you are performing a version upgrade of SQL Server as per supported path described here but still you are facing below error message during rules check?

    Rule "SQL Server 2008 R2 Feature" failed.

    The specified edition upgrade is not supported. For information about  supported upgrade paths, see the SQL Server 2008 R2 version  and edition upgrade matrix in books online.

    If you look at Detail.txt file created by setup, search for “FeatureUpgradeMatrixCheck” and have a closer look at the log. From the highlighted you can easily understand the source and destination version+edition. So as per below log, setup is trying to upgrade from SQL 2000 Standard to Evaluation Edition (which is not in the link I provided earlier)

    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: Init rule target object: Microsoft.SqlServer.Configuration.SetupExtension.SkuUpgradeRule
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: — SkuUpgradeRule : Rule ‘FeatureUpgradeMatrixCheck’ looking for previous version upgrade data for feature package ‘sql_as_Cpu32’.
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: — SkuUpgradeRule : Rule ‘FeatureUpgradeMatrixCheck’ feature package ‘sql_as_Cpu32’ found no upgrade features.
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: — SkuUpgradeRule : Rule ‘FeatureUpgradeMatrixCheck’ looking for previous version upgrade data for feature package ‘sql_engine_core_inst_Cpu32’.
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: — SkuUpgradeRule : Found feature package  ‘Sql2000Ent_Cpu32’ with SkuValue=STANDARD ProductVersion=8.00.2039
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: — SkuUpgradeRule : Rule ‘FeatureUpgradeMatrixCheck’ found sourceVersion 8.0 and edition STANDARD for feature package ‘sql_engine_core_inst_Cpu32’.
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: — SkuPublicConfigObject : ValidateSkuMatrix checking sku matrix for sourceVersion=8.0 sourceEdition=STANDARD sourceArchitecture=X86 targetEdition=EVAL targetArchitecture=X86
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: — SkuPublicConfigObject : ValidateSkuMatrix source and target architecture match.
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: — SkuPublicConfigObject : ValidateSkuMatrix did not find a match in sku matrix .
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: — SkuUpgradeRule : Rule ‘FeatureUpgradeMatrixCheck’ feature package ‘sql_engine_core_inst_Cpu32’ is blocking upgrade.
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: — SkuUpgradeRule : Rule ‘FeatureUpgradeMatrixCheck’ detection result: IsValidFeatureUpgrade=False
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: Evaluating rule        : FeatureUpgradeMatrixCheck
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: Rule running on machine: SQLSERVER
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: Rule evaluation done   : Failed
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: Rule evaluation message: The specified edition upgrade is not supported. For information about supported upgrade paths, see the SQL Server 2008 R2 version and edition upgrade matrix in Books Online.
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: Send result to channel : RulesEngineNotificationChannel
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: Initializing rule      : Incomplete upgrade
    2011-01-27 22:53:34 Slp: Rule applied features  : SQL;SQLEng

    On a side note, Do you know the media difference for Standard and Evaluation edition? Well, there is no difference! Its the PID (Product ID) in below screen which decides the edition to be installed. The value of PID is picked from DefaultSetup.Ini file located on media. If there is no such file on Media then it would be enterprise evaluation edition of SQL Server.

    Here is the little test which would prove the theory. I swear to god that I have not hit cancel while doing the test. Its the same media used for all the screen (Evaluation Media) All I did was change value in Enter the Product Key and hit next> or previous<.





    Since I had media for various editions (How? Did I tell you that I work with Microsoft SQL Support team.. lol!), I copied/pasted the PID from DefaultSetup.ini file and rest can be seen above.

    You might say, Nice to know what’s happening behind the scene but what you need to do if you run into such situation. In my scenario customer informed that they purchased Standard edition of SQL Server 2008 R2 still its taking EVAL in targetEdition and there has to be flaw somewhere. Later we found that screen was selecting Enterprise Evaluation by default (not sure why) So once he entered the Product Key, it worked like a charm!

    Now, go ahead with the setup and post a comment here if this helped.

    Balmukund Lakhani
    Twitter @blakhani

    Posted in Edition Upgrade, Error, Evaluation, Images, PID, Product Key, Screenshot, SQL Server, Step by Step, Version Upgrade | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

    Help : Can I Upgrade SQL Edition without reinstall?

    Posted by blakhani on June 3, 2011

    And answer is “it depends”. Well, I have seen posts in forum asking steps to upgrade SQL Standard to SQL Enterprise OR SQL Developer to SQL Standard etc. So I am writing this blog to bring some clarity in steps to be performed.
    First of all, refer below matrix to know if in place edition upgrade is possible or not. (SQL Server 2008 R2) (SQL Server 2008) (SQL Server 2005)

    Above links are for version upgrade as well as edition upgrade. Now, if matrix says you can upgrade from edition X to edition Y then steps are pretty simple.
    For SQL 2008 and SQL 2008 R2:

    • Run setup.exe from media.
      • 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)].
    • You would get below screen titled “SQL Server Installation Center”
    • Go to “Maintenance” and click on “Edition Upgrade”

    • Go through the Wizard and choose the Instance you want to upgrade.

    It would hardly take few minutes to upgrade and I have done with many customer.

    One question which was asked many times is where the hell is the key which i should enter. If you have media, look for DefaultSetup.ini file and you would find PID there.

    For SQL 2005:
    I would update this post once I take screenshot from SQL 2005 setup.

    Balmukund Lakhani

    Posted in Edition Upgrade, SQL Server, Upgrade | 5 Comments »