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I'm about to install Windows Server 2008 R2.

I'm concerned when to activate it - before or after I have installed all the hardware drivers?

On one hand new drivers could somehow trigger the activation mechanism to ask for activation again - that's what I want to avoid. On the other hand the hardware vendor_id/device_ids are most likely visible to the activation tool and the hardware configuration won't change no matter what I do with drivers.

What do you suggest the correct course of action?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The correct answer is "whenever you feel like activating it."

It really does not matter either way. Windows already has the device/vendor IDs available when it does not have drivers, it actually gets them straight from the hardware and compares the ids it got with the data in the driver installation file to make sure it installs a driver that claims it is compatible. It's not the other way around with the driver telling the OS "yeah, I'll deal with that for you mate..."

Installing drivers should not trigger reactivation, changing most of the separate hardware pieces is what is likely to trigger it.

You might want to wait and make sure that your system is rock solid before you activate, and you have something like 30 days grace in which to do so, but other than that it doesn't matter when you activate.

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agree with Mokubai, I never had to care. With a legit licences for the OS, MS has never bothered me over activations. even when it flagged my hardware WAY to many times in XP, and required phone cells. They always kicked it back on. They have a list of software I purchached and if they think I am cheating them, I will go buy a mac :-) –  Psycogeek Oct 17 '11 at 17:55
    
What @psycogeek said - even if it trips activation, that's not a big deal. You just reactivate it. –  Shinrai Oct 17 '11 at 17:57

I would wait until I have the system set up just in case you run into trouble. No point in using up an activation until you have to.

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You should be fine to activate prior to installing drivers. Otherwise, they wouldn't give you the option to activate during the installation process.

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