There are several new headaches involved with activated Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2. This guide is for people who already have the host server activated but the VMs are not being compliant!
You can’t activate EVEN with the Microsoft certified product keys (included below.) You have checked everything and still can’t figure it out! SLMGR or Activation Wizard just doesn’t accept your key.
Well, basically it is probably because you are using a Trial/Evaluation copy of Server 2012. That is okay except Microsoft added the word “Eval” at the end of product Id. The license manager was not updated to include these extra letters and fails to identify which product you are on. Luckily you can change the Set-Edition of your product to the correct one and activate all in one swoop.
You can also verify your product edition/id with this in an elevated command prompt: DISM /online /Get-CurrentEdition
DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX /AcceptEula
Microsoft’s AVMA Product Keys (Legally Public):
Note: Only usable if the VMHOST is activated with Microsoft Server 2012 R2 Datacenter at this time.
Note 2: If you /Set-Edition:ServerDatacenter, there doesn’t appear to be a legal/Microsoft Approved downgrade method! Be careful!
DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerStandard /ProductKey:DBGBW-NPF86-BJVTX-K3WKJ-MTB6V /AcceptEula
Microsoft AVMA: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn303421.aspx
Edition Change Source: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/b32c32e5-476c-49e7-95d5-9eaa74f1a669/need-to-activate-a-win-svr-2012-from-eval-to-standard-having-issues