Last word on TFS Expirations (I hope)

Brian Harry

This blog post has been replaced by a newer one that covers both TFS 2005 and TFS 2008: People seem to still be having issues with trials.  Some are because they forget to purchase a licensed copy before the trial expires and some have difficulty getting a volume license key from Customer Service.  The other day I remarked how proud I am some days to work here.  We’ll this is one of those issues that tries my pride.  We have struggled with different aspects to this issue for months.  This blog post will contain everything you need to get unblocked and handle the trial upgrade issue.  I am working to make sure we improve all aspects of this experience for Orcas. Your TFS has expired? As I blogged before, TFS does not give you any warning that it is about to expire.  One day it just up and quits.  This catches some people by surprise.  A month or two ago, I posted a utility that allows you to tell what edition of TFS you have installed and how long until expiration.  I’ve now taken it one step further and enabled it to extend your trial by 30 days – one time.  If you run to the end of you trial, this can be a life saver.  There are some fine points on using the tool. It can only be used to extend a trial of TFS.  If you are also using a trial of SqlServer (with your trial of TFS) and it is nearing expiration, your only option is to upgrade to a full licensed version of SqlServer. You can run TFSVersionDetection.exe using an admin account on the TFS application tier.  A dialog will appear and you need to press the “Check” button.  If you are within 10 days of expiration of a trial of TFS, and “Extend Trial…” button will appear in the lower left hand corner.  Press that and your expiration date should be extended to 30 days from “today” (today being the day you run you click the Extend Trial button). Once that 30 days runs out, you are out of luck until you upgrade to a fully licensed version. Have a fully licensed volume license of TFS and can’t figure out how to upgrade your trial? This has been constant source of confusion (and embarrassment for us).  I won’t bore you with the details but the short of it is this…  The most straight forward thing to do when upgrading a trial TFS is to use the Add/Remove Programs “repair” capability and enter a new product id.  The problem is that with volume licensing, we don’t give you one.  We instruct you to call customer support and request one.  And here’s where the really embarrassing part is – we haven’t been able to educate the support people around the world on how to handle this.  So they tell you they have no idea what you are talking about (and probably pass you around a bit just to make you feel like you talked to enough people who don’t know what you are talking about). I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.  It’s not for lack of trying.  The funny thing is if you can get routed to the right people, they know how to deal with you.  The problem is getting you routed to the right people.  My big take away is that we should never rely on this mechanism for distributing keys again.  Until then, I’m going to do my best to help you out. You have two options. 1) Continue to try to get keys from customer support.  In order to be more successful with that, you tell the CSS rep that this is in reference to internal KB article 909688 that map to documents on http://visualkb/VKBWeb/ or 2) Give up and help yourself.  There actually is a key buried in the volume licensing media.  Here’s how you find it:

  • Go to the media
  • Open up the ‘AT’ directory
  • Use notepad to open the setup.sdb file
  • Search for “Product Key” in that file
  • That product key can be use in TFS repair to turn TFS into a fully licensed copy (assuming of course you legally own the volume licensing media to start with :))

I sure hope this helps people and I’m sorry for the trouble we’ve caused.  Feel free to send me hate mail and I’ll appologize to each of you in person 🙂



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