How to Convert a Windows Evaluation Copy to Retail

This will work for Windows Server 2019, Windows 10 Enterprise, etc. This guide will run you through the process of converting an existing Windows evaluation copy to retail.

(!): This will not work for Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC Evaluation.

(!): This is not a ‘free’ activation guide.


A Windows Evaluation Copy (Windows Server, Enterprise, etc.)

In order to complete the process, we must use a Windows 10 built in tool called dism.

What is Dism? Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM.exe) is a command-line tool that can be used to service and prepare Windows images, including those used for Windows PE, Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) and Windows Setup. DISM can be used to service a Windows image (.wim) or a virtual hard disk (.vhd or .vhdx).

—Source: Microsoft

#: Personal comments/notes, etc. Commands that are to be typed will be in italics.

Step 1: Launch cmd (command prompt)

# Type this command to find out the current edition of Windows that you are running.

dism /online /Get-CurrentEdition

# The output is similar to this > Current edition: ServerStandardEval where the last string stands for Evaluation.

# Next, we need to know to what retail editions we are permitted to upgrade to.

dism /online /Get-TargetEditions

# My output read: Target Edition: ServerStandard/ServerDatacenter

# In order to convert or upgrade an Evaluation copy to retail, we run this command: dism /online /Set-Edition: /ProductKey:XXX /AcceptEula where Product Key needs to be replaced from a generic one from Microsoft. KMS Setup Client keys are publicly available here.

# In order to upgrade Windows Server 2019 Standard Evaluation to retail, run this command:

dism /Online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:N69G4-B89J2-4G8F4-WWYCC-J464C /AcceptEula

# For Windows Server 2019 Datacenter

dism /Online /Set-Edition:ServerDatacenter /ProductKey:WMDGN-G9PQG-XVVXX-R3X43-63DFG /AcceptEula

You’ll get a prompt that your machine must reboot. Accept and the upgrade process will commence. Once it is finished, your evaluation copy is now converted to retail. Since generic keys won’t activate Windows, you must activate your retail edition with a legitimate key.

This guide uses Windows Server 2019 evaluation as an example to run the user through the conversion process. Other editions of Windows will be added at a later time.