Windows Server 2008 R2 does not ask for a CD key in setup, and it can be run for 30 days for free before needing to be active. You can continue to use it after 30 days trial but the system will reboot every 2 hours and run with reduced functionalities.
If you really want to evaluate or run testing on a server with Windows Server 2008 R2 installed. There are two workarounds.
Type in the following from an elevated command prompt:
This will reset the activation expiration and the machine is good for another 30 days. You can do this up to 3 times and get 120 days free trial in total.
Or you can
USE WINDOWS SERVER 2008 R2 EDITIONS 180DAY EVALUATION KEY
Windows Web Server 2008 R2 = KBV3Q-DJ8W7-VPB64-V88KG-82C49 Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard = 4GGC4-9947F-FWFP3-78P6F-J9HDR Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise = 7PJBC-63K3J-62TTK-XF46D-W3WMD Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter = QX7TD-2CMJR-D7WWY-KVCYC-6D2YT
How to install Windows Server 2008 without activating it
Run the Windows Server 2008 Setup program.
When you are prompted to enter a product key for activation, do not enter a key. Click No when Setup asks you to confirm your selection.
You may be prompted to select the edition of Windows Server 2008 that you want to evaluate. Select the edition that you want to install.
Note After Windows Server 2008 is installed, the edition cannot be changed without reinstalling it.
When you are prompted, read the evaluation terms in the Microsoft Software License Terms, and then accept the terms.
When the Windows Server 2008 Setup program is finished, your initial 60-day evaluation period starts. To check the time that is left on your current evaluation period, run the Slmgr.vbs script that is in the System32 folder. Use the -dli switch to run this script. The slmgr.vbs -dli command displays the number of days that are left in the current 60-day evaluation period.
How to manually extend the evaluation period
When the initial 60-day evaluation period nears its end, you can run the Slmgr.vbs script to reset the evaluation period. To do this, follow these steps:
Click Start, and then click Command Prompt.
Type slmgr.vbs -dli, and then press ENTER to check the current status of your evaluation period.
To reset the evaluation period, type slmgr.vbs –rearm, and then press ENTER.
Restart the computer.
This resets the evaluation period to 60 days.
How to automate the extension of the evaluation period
You may want to set up a process that automatically resets the evaluation period every 60 days. One way to automate this process is by using the Task Scheduler. You can configure the Task Scheduler to run the Slmgr.vbs script and to restart the server at a particular time. To do this, follow these steps:
Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Task Scheduler.
Copy the following sample task to the server, and then save it as an .xml file. For example, you can save the file asExtend.xml.