HOW TO: Add a License Key to Exchange Server 2007

by Bharat Suneja

When you install Exchange Server 2007 or Exchange Server 2010, including the downloads posted on Microsoft’s web site, it is unlicensed. Unlicensed servers function as 120-day trials, according to Exchange Server 2007 documentation.

Starting with Exchange Server 2007, Service Packs are slipstreamed — the downloads/media contain all the binaries required to install Exchange + the Service Pack. You can use it to upgrade an existing Exchange install, or to install Exchange (with the Service Pack) from scratch. It’s no longer required to install the RTM version of Exchange 2007/2010 first, and then install the Service Pack.

When you start the EMC, you get a list of all unlicensed servers in your Exchange organization and the number of days left for the trial to expire.

Figure 1: The EMC displays a list of unlicensed servers and the number of days remaining before the trial will expire

Unlike previous versions of Exchange, the trial versions can be upgraded to fully functional versions by entering your product key. You can do this easily from the console by right-clicking the server in Server Configuration, and selecting Enter Product Key [screenshot here].

From the Shell (EMS), you can enter the product key using the Set-ExchangeServer cmdlet:

Set-ExchangeServer SERVERNAME -ProductKey aaaaa-aaaaa-aaaaa-aaaaa-aaaaa

To get a list of all Exchange 2007/Exchange 2010 servers and their product keys and trial status, including number of days left:

Get-ExchangeServer | Select name,ProductID,*trial*

(Note: I typically format this as a list rather than a default table, particularly for a smaller number of objects. The table tends to chop off bits of a field when you have too many fields displayed:

Get-ExchangeServer | Select name,ProductID,*trial* | fl

The output looks something like this:

Name: E12EDGE
IsExchange2007TrialEdition: True
IsExpiredExchange2007TrialEdition: False

Yes, the timing displayed is very precise, down to the seconds and milliseconds :) – but you can probably tell it’s 29 days.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Somu December 22, 2007 at 2:24 am

I am having almost similar problem.
Everytime I open the MBX/CAS server it warns for license for EDGE, which we already entered @ EDGE server.
But, when tried to enter the product key Set-ExchangeServer : An error happened while accessing registry of the specified server: The error message: “Attempted to
perform an unauthorized operation.”.

Any early suggestion is welcome..
Soumen, Kolkata, India


Anonymous December 27, 2007 at 8:53 pm

In case you didn’t get an answer to your question. This is from the release notes for Exchange 2007:
A subscribed Edge Transport server might not appear as licensed to the Exchange organization
For Edge Transport servers to appear licensed, the license key must be applied on the Edge Transport server before the Edge Subscription is created. If the license key was applied after subscription, you must remove the Edge Subscription from both the Edge Transport server and the Active Directory site and start the subscription process from the beginning.


Anonymous September 29, 2008 at 6:55 am

I have a server that is dying and want to transfer a license to a trial version. Possible? Also, I have 25 CALs, are they valid for the new server, meaning do they need to be moved also?


HKUNNANA April 7, 2009 at 2:31 am

For me the above Exchange Shell command to enter the key for the Edge solved the problem.


Anonymous May 22, 2009 at 6:08 am

I had the same issue. I guess I had entered the product key after doing the subscription.
For me, the issue was also resolved simply by running the Exchange Shell command.
Note that, running the command on the Edge produces a message saying the server is already licensed.
Running the command on a server in the Organization resolves the issue, I guess by updating the license information in AD.
You would think edge sync would take care of this. But its not a big deal.


Bharat Suneja May 22, 2009 at 6:45 am

@Anonymous from May 22: This is known and documented issue. EdgeSync is one-way replication from Hub Transport to Edge. No data is replicated back from the Edge to the Hub.

Exchange Management Console Reports that Edge Transport Server is Running in Evaluation Mode


Anonymous July 6, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I'm trying to upgrade Exchange Server 2007 SP1 from the standard edition to the Enterprise version but I haven't found any good HOWTO on the topic. What is the easiest and less painful way to do the upgrade? I was expecting it to be as easy as entering the new key ( Enterprise edition) to upgrade but it seems like it's a little bit more complex than that.
Any help, ideas, suggestions,…are more than welcome.
Thanks in advance.
Ramadji –


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