SQL Server Evaluation Period has Expired and How to Upgrade it?

Generally, we download SQL Server evaluation edition to learn or do some testing before deployments. Evaluation edition of SQL Server is free for 180 days and it is equivalent to SQL Server Enterprise Version. If the validity of Evaluation period i.e. 180 days will exceed then SQL Server will shut down and will not come online. We need to activate this SQL Server instance to a licensed version if we want to keep it running. Here, I will show you how to upgrade SQL Server Evaluation edition to Enterprise, Standard or Developer edition in step by step process.

Recently, one of the SQL Server Instance suddenly stopped working and shutdown automatically. We failed to bring its services online. Even we were not able to launch SQL Server Management studio. When we checked windows event viewer, we had seen multiple event ids for SQL Server like Event ID 7024, Event ID 17051 etc. We got this error because SQL Server evaluation period has expired for this instance.

As I said, SQL Server was down and I tried starting it from SQL Server Configuration Manager. It never come online so I decided to check Windows event viewer. I saw event id 7024 that says something wrong with application SQL Server. You can see the screenshot of event id 7024.

Event ID 7024

We can see error 17051 is captured for SQL Server in above screenshot. When I scrolled next error details I saw below details with event id 17051 that says “SQL Server evaluation period has expired”. When you look into SQL Server error log, you will get below details.

Error: 17051, Severity: 16, State: 1.
SQL Server evaluation period has expired.

SQL Server Evaluation Period has expired

Then I decided to check the installed version of SQL Server that clearly says that we had installed SQL Server Evaluation version on this database server. You can get it by launching property window of SQL Server service in SQL Server Configuration Manager. You can see this in below screenshot.

Evaluation Edition in Service Property Window

Now we had to upgrade SQL Server evaluation edition to bring it online and make it work as it was working before. To start this, we need SQL Server setup files to perform this upgrade. Follow below steps to activate your expired SQL Server evaluation version to either standard, enterprise or developer edition.

Upgrade SQL Server Evaluation Edition to Enterprise Edition

First decide on which edition you want to upgrade your expired SQL Server evaluation edition instance. Copy identified edition of SQL Server setup files to the target or impacted SQL Server machine. Now we will launch SQL Server Installation Center to run this upgrade. Make sure to run this whole process using sysadmin account.

Double click on Setup.exe file to start the upgrade. You will get SQL Server Installation Center once you run setup.exe file of SQL Server setup. Click at “Maintenance” tab from left side pane as shown in below image and then click on “Edition Upgrade” option from right side pane.

SQL Server Installation Center

Once you click at Edition upgrade, below image will come to proceed. This screen will come to enter the product key of SQL Server. Verify the correct product key and click on next button to proceed.

Enter Product key

Once you click at next button you will get below pop up “Evaluation period has expired”. Click on Ok button to proceed.

Pop up evaluation period has expired

Next screen will come to accept the License Terms. Click at Next button after selecting “I accept license terms” checkbox option.

Accept License Terms

Here, you will get installed components of SQL Server. Verify the SQL Server instance and click on next button to proceed. You can see edition is showing as Evaluation in below screenshot.

Instance of SQL Server Installed on this machine

Once you will click at Next button, rules will be checked by the setup and you can see the progress bar in below image.

Check Rules

Now it’s time for final window of this upgrade process where you need to recheck and verify the details and if everything looks good then click at “Upgrade” button to start the upgrade process.

Run the upgrade

Setup will process and end up with new upgraded edition. You have been activated SQL Server to run it on your server and it has been upgraded to your identified edition of SQL Server i.e Enterprise edition.

Upgraded

You can check the upgraded edition by launching property window of SQL Server service in SQL Server Configuration window. We can see now edition is showing as Enterprise Edition. Here, we have upgraded SQL Server evaluation version to Enterprise edition of SQL Server 2014.

SQL Server Service Property

Now you can go ahead and launch SQL Server Management Studio and establish database connection to check and verify all details to make sure everything is ok on your database server.
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Manvendra Deo Singh

I am working as a Technical Architect in one of the top IT consulting firm. I have expertise on all versions of SQL Server since SQL Server 2000. I have lead multiple SQL Server projects like consolidation, upgrades, migrations, HA & DR. I love to share my knowledge. You can contact me on my social accounts for any consulting work.
Manvendra Deo Singh
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Summary
Article Name
SQL Server Evaluation Period has Expired and How to Upgrade it?
Description
If SQL Server evaluation period has expired for any instance then it will shut down and will not come online. Read this article to activate such SQL Server instance to a licensed version if you want to keep it running.

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