Activating All Versions Of Windows Server Without A Product Key

Microsoft released their newest version of their server operating system almost one year ago on October 2, 2019. I have had Windows Server 2019 running in my lab environment since November 2018. It is certainly not advisable to be on the bleeding edge of technology in your production environment and to test thoroughly any new product before committing to it. Major version releases of operating systems are one such technology that falls squarely into that category.

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Here is Microsoft’s comparison chart between 2008 R2, 2012 R2, 2016 and 2019:

On the surface, Windows Server 2019 looks just about like Windows Server 2016. There aren’t many changes to the user interface between the two operating system environments either so if you are already used to Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019 is a familiar face. It is mature enough now after being a year old that I have been putting it into client production environments.

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Note: Remember with every major release version change of operating systems (2003 & 2003 R2, 2008 & 2008 R2, 2012 & 2012 R2, 2016, and now 2019) in addition to the basic server licensing, corresponding user CALs (Client Access Licenses) are required to go along with them.

Once you have logged into the Microsoft Volume License Center and acquired the key needed to activate the operating system, it should be as simple as opening Server Manager, navigating to the Local Server page, clicking the Not activated link and punching in the key, right?


An issue like the one above will need to be rectified by either using a different MAK key that has activations left, or a call into Microsoft.

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