Rob Kraft's Software Development Blog

Software Development Insights

How to activate Windows Server 2008

Posted by robkraft on February 7, 2010

I spent several hours a few weeks ago simply attempting to activate my copy of Windows Server 2008 (64bit) on a new computer. The problem I experienced is that I was not prompted to activate it at any time during the install or during the configuration and subsequent reboots over the following few days. In the past, didn’t the operating systems nag us early and often to be activated?
I thought that maybe Windows had already activated itself somehow based on the way I had acquired the DVD. I was not sure what was going on or how to figure out if it had been activated. Eventually I called a Microsoft rep but I had a very difficult time explaining to him that I did not have an immediate problem; rather that I just wanted to know why I was not prompted to activate Windows. The lack of activation concerned me because I was going to deliver this server to a remote site then occasionally manage it via RDP. I did not want to discover one month later that the operating system locked up because it was not activated and that it required me to be there in person to unlock it.
I finally found the place to activate Windows Server 2008 in Control Panel, System. There, I was able to enter the Product Key and complete the activation. I wish that Microsoft would have made this easier to find, or included in their help documentation an entry about it.

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