There may be times when you want to test the SQL server instance first and then purchase a license key after your testing is successful. When you want to apply license key, you have to do it, at least one day before your evaluation time expires. If your expiration date is crossed, your SQL service will not start.
When you try to change the SQL server instance from evaluation to full using a license key, through GUI or command line, it tries to check the SQL service status first. If the service is stopped, setup tries to start it when applying a full license key. If your evaluation license time period is expired, SQL service will not start.
In this case, you have to set the time on your SQL server back when the evaluation time was active. To find that time details follow any of the solutions below:
- Go to the path, C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\sqlVersionNumber\Setup Bootstrap\Log and look for summary.txt file. This file will have the evaluation start time and end time.
- Go to add or remove programs and check the date when SQL software was installed. Evaluation starts when the software is installed.
If SQL server is installed on 01-Nov-2020, set the SQL server’s time (windows system time) as 10-Nov-2020. Once done, start the SQL service. Once the service is started, apply the license key using the GUI or command prompt. It works as the SQL service is started.
Note: Through a group policy or local GPO, if date and time are set automatically, they will change within sometime automatically by that policy. So, in an administrator windows command prompt or PowerShell command prompt, set the pastime continuously like, run “Set-Date -Date 10/Nov/2020” command on PowerShell console continuously. So, with the GPO, if it is changed again, you are changing it immediately. So, SQL service will be in started state for sure. You can then apply your license key.
Once applied, you can set the time back to normal again.