Showed up to work awhile back and got an email from a client stating that their SharePoint farm was reporting "The trial period for this product has expired".

Even with valid licenses keys (we validated 3 times with MS to make sure), we got an error message saying that license was expired on only 1 of the WFE’s, causing WSS functions to work fine (team sites, etc.), but ANYTHING MOSS related would throw the error message.  Since the WFE’s were load balanced, we were able to test them individually so I was able to pinpoint which one had the issue.


I decided to reinstall the problem WFE.  After reinstall, things seemed to clear up and we were fine….for about 2 months when the OTHER WFE decided to act up and throw the same error message.  At this point, I reinstalling would probably only cause the issue to go away for awhile, then we’d hit the problem again.

I search google high and low and didn’t come up with a fix.  Some sites said to make sure that your app pool accounts were admins, or in the SharePoint Admin Group on the server, or in the local admins group.  Frankly I wasn’t confident with this solution, nor did it work for me. 

I checked the SharePoint ULS logs and came up with the following info which helped me track down the problem files, but not the solution.


10/03/2008 14:34:45.75     w3wp.exe (0x07E0)                           0x027C    CMS                               Publishing Provisioning           1ght    Medium      Publishing Feature activation event handled.    
10/03/2008 14:34:45.77     w3wp.exe (0x07E0)                           0x027C    Office Server                     Setup and Upgrade                 78ya    High        Microsoft.Office.Server.Administration.LicensingException: An error was encountered getting expiration info. ---> System.DllNotFoundException: Unable to load DLL 'OfficeServerSettings.dll': The specified module could not be found. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x8007007E)     at Microsoft.Office.Server.Administration.Licensing.NativeMethods.GetExpirationTime(Int64& expirationTime)     at Microsoft.Office.Server.Administration.Licensing.GetExpirationFileTimeFromRegistry()     --- End of inner exception stack trace ---     at Microsoft.Office.Server.Administration.Licensing.GetExpirationFileTimeFromRegistry()     at Microsoft.Office.Server.Administration.Licensing..cctor()    
10/03/2008 14:34:45.77     w3wp.exe (0x07E0)                           0x027C    CMS                               Publishing                        98e6    Monitorable    The trial period for this product has expired.    
10/03/2008 14:34:45.77     w3wp.exe (0x07E0)                           0x027C    CMS                               Publishing Provisioning           75ot    Unexpected    Publishing Feature activation failed. Exception: Microsoft.SharePoint.SPException: The trial period for this product has expired.     at Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing.CmsSecurityUtilities.EnsureEvaluationNotExpired()     at Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing.PublishingFeatureHandler.FeatureActivated(SPFeatureReceiverProperties receiverProperties).    

Another solution was saying that McCaffe was blocking it.  Again, I tried everything and couldn’t find anything to back that up.

I spent hours in front of Sysinternals process monitor and process explorer but again, I didn’t find anything other than what I knew.  I even tried explicitly giving permissions to the folder where I knew SharePoint was looking for the files.  I even copied known good files to the problem WFE but no luck.

I broke down and decided to use one of our MS support tickets.  Thankfully it was a “production” issue, which meant that we got immediate support and support from a highly qualified support tech.  He instantly knew what the problem was and was able to give us the remedy.


  • Add "%CommonProgramFiles%\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\Bin;%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office Servers\12.0\Bin;" to the MIDDLE of the PATH environment variable.
  • Reboot server

We had to paste this in our PATH variable and paste it somewhere in the middle.  Apparently when updates in windows occur, installs, etc. but sometimes they truncate off the last section of the PATH variable for some reason.  Due to this, SharePoint can’t find the license code that it needs and therefore throws the error message.

After adding the strings to the path variable, make sure to restart the PC so that the settings take affect.

Additionally, we had to apply the “fix” to all servers in the farm to make sure that this message wouldn’t come up again.

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