"Evaluation period has expired" error message when working with SQL server

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Article ID: 971268 - View products that this article applies to.
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Symptoms

You may encounter the following error message when using Microsoft SQL Server tools such as SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or SQL Profiler:
Evaluation period has expired. For information on how to upgrade your evaluation software please go to http://www.microsoft.com/sql/howtobuy

Additionally you may see the following error message when you try to connect to an expired installation of SQL Server instance:
A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: Named Pipes Provider, error: 40 - Could not open a connection to SQL Server)

Note The connectivity error message is a generic message, and it is not always tied to an expired installation of a SQL Server instance.

Cause

The problem usually occurs when you are running an evaluation instance of SQL Server and the evaluation time period has expired.

Note In the case of SQL Server 2008, you may see this error message even after upgrading to a licensed version because of a known bug.

Resolution

Case 1 - You have an expired version of SQL server evaluation edition


Note This also applies to scenarios wherein only tools are installed from an evaluation version.

To upgrade the Evaluation Edition to a retail edition, you can consult the following topics in Books Online:
Note In either of these topics, you can select the version picker tool at the top to pick a topic that is relevant to your environment.

Note For SQL Server 2008 you can also refer to the following KB article:Note For SQL Server 2005, check the following KB article

Case 2 - Moving from an enterprise evaluation edition to an express edition

In some cases, you may decide to move from an Enterprise evaluation edition to an Express edition. Since there is no upgrade path available, you can consult the following article on moving your user databases from the evaluation edition to express edition.

Scenario 1 - You are still able to start your SQL Server evaluation version
Consult the following topic in SQL Server Books Online on how to move user databases:
Database Detach and Attach (SQL Server)
Note The maximum relational database size for SQL Express editions is 10 gigabytes (GB).
Scenario 2 - You cannot start an expired edition of your Enterprise evaluation edition because the evaluation period has expired
If the database size is less than 10 gigabytes (GB), you can follow these steps:
  1. Install an express edition of the product.
  2. Locate the data files (mdf and ldf) files for your database.
  3. Attach these files to the SQL express edition.

    Note Before you attach the data files to SQL Express edition, if these files are currently located in the default data directory for the old instance, you may want to move the database files from their current location to either the new data directory for the new installation or to another location on the server.

Case 3 - You are running into this issue in SQL Server 2008 environments even after upgrading to a licensed version of SQL Server

In this case, you have the following options.

Note
You will also notice this issue on systems where you had originally installed the evaluation edition of the shared tools and later upgrade to a licensed version.

Option 1

Apply Service Pack 1 for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 before upgrading the evaluation edition to a licensed edition.

Note If you had already performed the edition upgrade before applying Service Pack 1 for SQL server 2008, you will be required to go through all the steps mentioned in the Option 2 section to resolve the problem. The service pack will only prevent issues that involve future edition upgrades.

Option 2

Use the following procedure to fix the issue:

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
  1. Click Start, click Run, type Regedt32, and then click OK.
  2. Locate and then click the following key in the Registry Editor:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\100\ConfigurationState
  3. In the right pane of the Registry Editor, select CommonFiles DWord value.
  4. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
  5. Type 3, and then click OK.
  6. Quit Registry Editor.
  7. Rerun the edition upgrade procedure to complete the upgrade of all the components to a licensed edition.
  8. After the edition upgrade is complete, refer to the following Knowledge Base article to prevent issues with future updates to the instance.

    970608 Updates to Microsoft SQL server 2008 will fail after an edition upgrade

More Information

How to check whether SSMS will expire?
  1. Start SQL Server Management Studio.
  2. Select the Help menu and then the About… submenu from the list.
You will run into the problem discussed in the article if the component "Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio" has "expires in 'x' days" next to it.

Additional pointers on the connectivity error
If you are encountering the connectivity error in the "Symptoms" section, you can check various posts on the following blog:
SQL Protocols Team blog

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Properties

Article ID: 971268 - Last Review: July 12, 2014 - Revision: 4.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Developer
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Standard
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Web
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Workgroup
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Developer
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express with Advanced Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition for Small Business
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Developer
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Standard
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Web
  • SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Core
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Developer
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Core
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Express
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Standard
Keywords: 
kbsqlsetup kbrapidpub kbnomt KB971268

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