Mark Russinovich at www.sysinternals.com has released the freeware utility IsTrial which
displays whether the Windows NT / Windows 2000 is a trial version of NT. Useful
to Windows NT admin.
Microsoft makes available a 120-day time-locked
version of Windows NT, and their Beta versions expire 240 days after they are
installed. However, Microsoft does not provide any means of determining if the
version of NT you are running is a time-locked version or not. Many
organizations run into problems when an installation they had forgotten was a
trial version suddenly announces it is shutting down. This applet will tell you
whether your systems are running trial versions of NT, and if they are, their
exact expiration times.
I know of a major web site that went off the air for a time because it had
been installed on trial versions of NT server which began to reboot once each
If you get caught in this situation, with a production server running under
an evaluation copy, you can try the upgrade procedures supported by Microsoft.
Before attempting this, check out U-Deploy which is
a commercial utility designed for this purpose. Be sure to check out their
cautions about Microsoft’s upgrade recommendations which have left people with
no option but total reinstall.