RC1 has Timebombed and the Product Key has been used the maximum number of times – HELP!

If your WHS has time bombed by changing the system date or for any other reason, you will see the following message:

“The Evaluation period for this copy of Windows has ended!  Windows cannot start. To continue to use Windows, please purchase and install a retail copy of this product!”

If this is the case first check the system date and time in the bios (on the server) and correct if necessary. If this does not work you will have to reinstall your Release Candidate (RC) copy of Windows Home Server again. As long as you select “Server Reinstallation”, your data (including shared folders and backups) will be safe.

When you come to activate you’ll be told that the product key has been used the maximum number of times. Now that the beta has ended new keys are not available so when prompted use the activate by phone option , the wizard will supply the phone number, which varies depending in which region you live.

Make sure you have your RC1 product key handy so the Microsoft operator can activate it for you and remember after the “Server Reinstallation” you will need to recreate the “Users”.

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  1. danb says:

    This was the thing that p****d me of royally about the beta, and especially the fact that this was not make completely clear in the beta documentation or on the forums.

    Basically, if you were beta testing WHS and your system time or date changed in any way – ie. correcting the date or time in the bios, or even from within the OS iteself, your entire install was rendered useless… 🙁

  2. Thanks for your comment danb

  3. Colin Hodgson says:

    It’s Beta software for goodness sake, how many times are you going to be changing the date and/or time?

    Up until release of the RTM code and closure of the beta test, it was easy to just pick another key from Connect and it now takes all of 4 minutes to do it via the phone.

  4. Hi Colin Hodgson,

    Thanks for the post. I agree the phone activation is quick and very easy.

  5. Harold Nason says:

    Thanks for the warning and notification. That can be really confusing especially when working with multiple computers. We have a relatively large domain running Windows Server 2003 forest. I don’t know of operating systems but sometimes software inventory can be more problematic because after all there’s normally only a single operating system per a computer but this OS can in turn have a zillion of user applications installed. A go find then which application should be updated with a new license if licensing requires a subscription when for example one of our departments have nearly a hundred of different applications installed on various user desktops. But in fact one department needs that set of applications, another one needs its own set and it comes to be nearly impossible to track all the stuff and keep it in mind. I’m an admin not a Cray XT3. I found it especially hard to control versioning of installed software. Some users don’t dig deep into what version of software they’re using . They just use it because the project they are working on requires them to use this product. A good example of the department experiencing much problems about that is our translating bureau. Some workers there are required to use various versions of terminology management software to work with different versions of terminology bases they receive from the customer. And sometimes such computers environments get really messed up with that variety of software installed for the particular user account. Then I receive a call from our help desk that I’ve been assigned to resolve the problem with Kate’s computer because her application can’t open the file for some reason. That’s where automatic collection of software and hardware inventory in a desktop management product from Scriptlogic that we’ve purchased recently helps me a lot. I don’t need to go to Kate’s computer, I don’t even use a remote desktop client to remotely find out the software conflict. I just gather the information about the what software has been installed on her computer using the information collected by Desktop Authority software inventory http://www.scriptlogic.com/desktop-authority-software-inventory.asp and that’s what from I can start researching on the solution to help Kate with her problem. Very frequently if find out that the problem was in fact connected to the licensing peculiarities of the particular product.

    Talking about Widows Home Server, how do you like it? Is it NT5 or NT6 core based? I haven’t seen it live and the information available from different sources has some inconsistency on this question. By the way, I guess as a workaround for your licensing problem with the evaluation of a beta version of WHS, I’d recommend you look to Windows Server 2008 RC0. It can be overkill if you need to find out if it will fit your company if you are working SMB but you can disable some services and free up some resources. The evaluation period for Windows Server 2008 lasts until April, 7. Consider also disabling some services although the server management in Windows Server 2008 didn’t go much further since the Windows Server 2003 in my opinion. At least it’s not as handy as what can be achieved today using some third-party tools. But in general the OS looks promising. Let’s see what we’ll get in Q1, 2008.

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