Can I upgrade my SQL Server 2008 R2 Trial to a full version?

Now that the SQL Server 2008 R2 trial is available for download at, many people want to know whether the trial version can be upgraded to a full version once you have a key.  The answer is: yes!  It is actually very easy and can be done in two ways, through the GUI or through command prompt.

If you are a GUI person just launch the SQL Server setup and go to the “Maintenance Tab”, you will see the “Edition Upgrade” option there.  Follow a couple of steps in the wizard, provide the key and you are all set.


If you are more a command line type of person you can launch setup.exe with the required parameters.
Setup.exe /q /ACTION=editionupgrade /INSTANCENAME=<MSSQLSERVER or instancename> /PID=<PID key for new edition>" /IACCEPTSQLSERVERLICENSETERMS

Comments (20)
  1. Geminiman says:

    When can we expect R2 to come up on MSDN?

  2. SQL Server 2008 R2 RTM has been posted to MSDN about an hour ago.

    Have fun!

  3. Geminiman says:

    Excellent 🙂

  4. Antonio Pereira says:


    Do you know if there is a service stop? Just to upgrade from evaluation to full version of 2008 R2?

  5. Hi,

    I've checked this with my colleagues and apparently the upgrade process itself should not trigger a service stop but it does require a service restart before SQL Server recognizes the edition change.

    In any case, I would first try on a test instance in order to be sure.

    Kind regards,


  6. Green says:

    How to upgrade from sql server 2008 RTM to R2 Standard Edition?  is it through use the edition upgrade option?

  7. Hi,

    Upgrading from a previous version to R2 can also be done through the GUI or command line.

    Just look for Upgrade From SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008… or you can use the /ACTION=upgrade option from the command line.


    Kind regards,


  8. Alan at GE says:

    Hi Wesley,

    Does this only work for SQL Server 2008 R2 or does it work also for SQL Server 2008.


  9. Hi Alan,

    This should work for SQL Server 2008 too.

    Kind regards,


  10. Sean Maynard says:

    Hi I am having an issue upgrading from SQL Server 2008 R2 Evaluation version to full version. I know from previously performing this task on another computer that one of the upgrade processes is to "Select Instance". This step is missing, the upgrade seemingly completes however when I attempt to start the SQL Server service it does not start and Event view notes that it is due to an expired evaluation copy.

    I have attemped it several times with the same result. The CD key is correct. Do you have any suggestions?

  11. Jackie says:

    Since a license purchased through Open licensing is pitted, there is no key given. Can a customer activate a trial license with a volume license (Open) purchase?

  12. Jagdeep says:

    I have SQL server 2008 R2 under VL and media is avilable on VLSC portal but there is no key.

    So how should i convert my trial to VL edition.

  13. @Sean: That step should still be there in the SQL Server setup.  Maybe you can try to use the commandline syntax?  If that doesn't work I suggest you contact support.

    @Jackie & Jagdeep: I am checking how that should function.  I'll get back to you.

  14. My good colleague Balmukund (…/blakhani) told me an interesting thing.

    Apparently the PID can be found in the DefaultSetup.ini on the installation medium.  So you can get the key there to do the upgrade with your VL medium.

  15. John Pacheco says:

    Wesley, I upgraded from the trail version to a SPLA license.  However my SQL Server Management Studio still tells me that the software will expire in x amount of days.  have you come accross anything like that.



  16. Hi John,

    Haven't seen that one.

    What does the engine say when you execute SELECT @@VERSION?

    Kind regards,


  17. Andy Bruner says:

    Volume license has key built into the installation file.  If you run setup.exe from that file and then run "edition upgrade" it will be showing the product key already at the appropriate point.   I just did this and it worked like a charm.

  18. panos says:

    In our case I was upgrading a SQL Server 2008 R2 evaluation 64b to Enterprise 64b. I was getting the same error after following the upgrade steps through the GUI (not from the prompt). After I stopped all services and run the setup.exe as an administrator I was able to upgrade with no problems and it took 1 min max.


  19. Momo says:

    It works also for me. Thanks a lot for your post. I read all kind of suggestions 3 days long.

    It seems like the installation taken from the vlse website is an evaluation version that the user must upgrade to the standard or enterprise one. So I guess reinstalling the product will probably lead to the same situation after 6 months (180 days).


  20. If you choose for an in-place upgrade you should not lose any data.  Of course as a best practice please make sure to have a backup before you start upgrading!

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