Fixing the Automatic Shutdown Annoyance of Windows Server 2016/2012

If you’ve installed the 180-day Evaluation Edition of Windows Server 2016 or 2012, you’re likely to have experienced the server getting shutdown automatically every hour without any notification. This can just be a rebuff or a serious destruction of your unsaved work. For me it was serious as the server had abruptly shutdown while I was installing the AppDynamics Controller on it.

This hourly-unpleasant-surprise-shutdown behavior is because the server has not yet been activated. Yes, it’s something you need to take care even in evaluation mode.

To fix the issue, run the following command in an elevated command prompt:

slmgr.vbs -ato

The “ato” option means Activate Windows.


The above script works only on the Standard Edition of the Windows Server. If you’re running the Datacenter Edition or some other one, run the following command:

slmgr.vbs -rearm

The “rearm” option is to reset the licensing status of the machine.


The successful execution of the VB script is notified by a message. As indicated in the message, restart the server so the license gets activated.


As you may have guessed, SLMGR stands for Software Licensing Manager.
slmgr.vbs is a Visual Basic script to control the tasks related to licensing of Windows OS from the command line.