U-Tools: Unique Tools for Windows System Administrators
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Windows Product Activation During Testing

Often you will want to test Active Directory by copying it to an isolated test computer running Windows Server in your lab. Microsoft gives you a grace period of typically 60 days before you must activate the test computer's Product Key at the Microsoft website.

Automatic activation: Depending on how you set up Windows Server, Windows Server might attempt to activate the license code by contacting the Microsoft web site automatically.

How to delay auto-activation

During testing you may want to delay auto-activation. When you select test copy, U-Move will ask if you want to prevent auto-activation. Check the box Prevent auto-activation to prevent the Windows from inadvertently activating the Windows Product Key on your test computer.

How to activate Windows after testing

If you later want to activate Windows, use the following procedure:

  1. Press WIN+R.
  2. In the Open box type control and click OK. This will open the Control Panel.
  3. Double-click on Windows Firewall or Windows Defender Firewall (Windows Server 2019-2022).
  4. Click on Change settings (Windows Server 2008 R2) or Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall (Windows Server 2016-2022).
  5. Click on the tab Exceptions
  6. Uncheck the box Prevent Windows Product Activation
  7. Click OK. This will remove the block.

After you remove the block you can let Windows activate automatically, or you can activate Windows manually yourself using the following procedure:

  1. Open an administrative console
  2. If you have not already installed the Product Key during the initial setup of Windows Server, enter it now.
    Substitute AAAAA-BBBBB-CCCCC-DDDDD-EEEEE with your Product Key.
  3. Activate your Product Key at the Microsoft web site.
      slmgr -ato
    The -ato option stands for “activate online”.