Microsoft Licensing Question


(Craig Mashburn) #1

What I login to the Volume Licensing Center and look at Downloads and Keys and click on the KEY link for something, lets say, Windows 10, it says…

Activations or Seats
5/50

Does that mean there are 50 allowable installs? Or something else?


(Jeremy Nelson) #2

Craig, I think that in theory you can do 50 activations. I’ve always read the TechSoup donations to read that a license needs to be purchased for every computer, however, regardless of the number of activations they put in the VLSC (which usually seems to be 50, but I’ve seen 100 in some situations). I also infer that same info from the fact that if I purchase 1 copy, they claim a “donation” of one copy, so if you purchase 1 copy and install it 10 times, you’re cheating Microsoft out of their tax deduction for those other 9 copies.


(Optimus Prime) #3

Yeah, volume licensing through MSFT is interesting. I had a non-profit get volume keys, but they were KMS keys. For a small (8 PC) office, I wasn’t going to set up KMS Server. When they converted the keys to MAC keys, there were 50 activations available. When I asked about it, they said they give 50 so that people don’t have to call in the first time they have to reinstall or move to new hardware. They also said that if we use up all 50 activations, we can call back in to get more or have them reset. As long as we only have 8 or fewer computers running on the license at once, we’re in compliance. If one dies and I replace it, I can use another activation on the new hardware while still being in compliance because we’re still at 8 computers.


(James Grissom) #4

Good info from the first two, I’d just like to tag on to @jeremyrnelson’s response. You do have to have a retail copy of the same version purchased for each computer you put this key on; it is not an “upgrade” for the product. So, if you have 10 Pro, you must purchase the computer with 10 Pro, or buy another license. The MAK key simply makes management easier and really serves no other purpose. You probably already know that, I’ve just seen people mistake the use of these a lot.


(David Szpunar) #5

Yep, volume licensing is only Upgrades. Have to have an existing Windows license (can be an old version or a lower edition) but it brings them up to the version you buy.

The activations thing is normal even for retail volume licensing. You’re agreeing to manage your actual computer quantity and to have enough licenses, they give you activations for convenience, KMS doesn’t really limit your activations (as long as they can reactivate regularly with it) vs permanent MAK activations, but it’s all just the balance Microsoft has tried to find in preventing piracy and letting volume licensees do whatever they need/want to as long as they manage their own license qualities accurately.

You may disagree with their balance. And their audits are a major pain in the *ss if you’re chosen (the license agreements all give MS the right to request a self-audit or to come and do an audit themselves).


(Karl Peterson) #6

Not to muddy the waters, but while volume licensing Windows is only upgrades in and of itself, if you need Windows licensing for raw hardware, there are ways to do that.

VDA per user / device, Enterprise Upgrade + SA + SAPerUser, Enterprise E3 / E5, or SPE E3 / E5 are all ways to get windows for raw hardware or VDI situations.

Not that this is directly relevant to the OP, but for posterities sake…


(Craig Mashburn) #7

So I bought 20 more from techsoup and got only one MAK with 50 activations.


(David Szpunar) #8

That is normal, it’s up to you to manage uses. The activations count is just to dissuade casual piracy while allowing enough to reinstall whenever you need to or move to new computers when you get rid of old ones. You’re responsible for using what you purchased. The same key is used to activate all of the licensed computers.