Activate an evaluation copy of Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016 with a valid key

A client recently asked me to setup several VMs using the evaluation copy of Windows Server 2016.  After they had put lots of data on the servers and decided to use them for production purposes they decided they wanted to keep the existing server setup. When inputting a purchased Volume Licence Key they were presented with the error ‘That key can’t be used to activate this edition of Windows. Please try a different key’.

The solution turned out to be fairly simple, first you need to determine the installed edition by running:

DISM /online /Get-CurrentEdition


Then you need to see which versions are available for you to upgrade to by using:

DISM /online /Get-TargetEditions


Then finally you need to run the upgrade by running the command:

DISM /online /AcceptEula /Set-Edition:<edition> /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX


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