Windows 10 Licensing
Windows 10 is the most secure Windows ever. We’ve introduced a number of major security enhancements, including advanced biometrics*, advanced threat protection, malware protection, and trusted hardware. From devices to the cloud, Windows 10 helps to strengthen identity and protect data, with protocols and features designed to prevent malware from running on your device.
It’s familiar and easy to use. Windows 10 was built to bring the best of Windows 7 and 8.1 together in one natural user experience that dynamically adjusts to the way you work. With Tablet Mode*, whether you’re working on a tablet, laptop, or 2-in-1 device, you’ll see how Windows 10 offers a touch-friendly, mobile, and desktop experience all in one operating system.
Upgrade with confidence. With strong app and device compatibility, you can now perform an in-place upgrade** directly to Windows 10 with all your apps, settings, and devices. Purchasing new devices? You can quickly set up new devices out of the box with your corporate apps, data, and settings without having to create and manage images.
Simplify IT and save. Windows 10 is our last major Windows system release. With Windows as a service, we’re beginning the journey to simplify the delivery and management of Windows, while providing the most flexible management and deployment options today. With One Windows, we have one app platform, one security model, and one management approach that can reduce complexity and save costs.
**Hardware/software requirements apply; feature availability may vary. Internet connection required. To check for compatibility and other important installation information, visit your device manufacturer’s website and www.windows.com/windows10specs. Additional requirements may apply over time for updates.
Software Assurance provides access to enterprise offerings and unique use rights to extend the Windows experience across your organization. Software Assurance benefits for Windows include a core set of technologies, services, and use rights to help improve productivity, streamline software deployments, and reduce costs in a variety of ways across devices.
Flexible access to Windows Enterprise
One of the most valuable benefits you receive through Windows Software Assurance and Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) is flexible access to Windows Enterprise. This table outlines those access rights. For full details about the access rights granted, refer to the Software Assurance Benefits section of the Microsoft Volume Licensing Product Terms.
Access Rights to Windows Enterprise:
Virtual Desktop Access
Virtual Desktop Access
Any device licensed for Windows 7/8/8.1/10 Pro or Enterprise and any Windows tablet with a diagonal screen size of 10.1 inches or less
The licensed device only
The licensed device only if also licensed for Windows 7/8/8.1/10 Pro or Enterprise
Remote Access Through Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) or Windows To Go
Noncorporate devices while away from the office (through Roaming Use Rights)
Software Assurance benefits
Whether you license Windows Software Assurance or Windows VDA on a per-device or per-user basis, you receive a number of benefits specific to Windows. Learn more about the unique benefits of Software Assurance for Windows.
To learn about your options for acquiring Windows Software Assurance, see How to buy.
Windows 10 Enterprise
There are two core Windows 10 Enterprise offers: Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and Windows 10 Enterprise E5. Each of these can be purchased on a per-device or per-user basis, and are only available through Volume Licensing.
Windows 10 Enterprise E3
Windows 10 Enterprise E3 provides access to Windows 10 Enterprise Edition, and includes advanced protection against modern security threats, a broad range of options for operating system deployments and updates, and comprehensive device and application management. Windows 10 Enterprise E3 is available with Software Assurance in some Volume Licensing programs.
Windows 10 Enterprise E5
Windows 10 Enterprise E5 is the newest offer for customers who want to take advantage of everything in E3 with the addition of Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (Windows Defender ATP)—a new service that helps enterprises detect, investigate, and respond to advanced attacks on their networks.
Building on the existing security defenses in Windows 10, Windows Defender ATP provides a new post-breach layer of protection to the Windows 10 security stack. With a combination of client technology built into Windows 10 and a robust cloud service, it can help detect threats that have made it past other defenses, provide enterprises with information to investigate the breach across endpoints, and offer response recommendations.
Software Assurance for Windows
You can license Windows Software Assurance on a per-device or per-user basis. For devices or users that do not qualify for Windows Software Assurance, you can license Windows VDA for access to the benefits of Windows Software Assurance. With Windows Software Assurance and Windows VDA, you get flexible access to Windows Enterprise, plus a number of additional benefits. Learn more about Software Assurance.
Licensing Windows Software Assurance on a per-device basis
You can license Windows Software Assurance on a per-device basis in the following ways:
When you purchase a Windows 10 Enterprise Upgrade license through Volume Licensing, you can also acquire Software Assurance for that license.
For devices that do not qualify for Windows Software Assurance (such as thin clients), you can access Windows Software Assurance benefits by purchasing the Windows VDA subscription.
You can license access to Windows Enterprise on a per-user basis through the Windows 10 Enterprise E3, Windows 10 Enterprise E5, and Windows VDA per User licensing options. These options put your users at the center of your Windows licensing solution, give you flexible options for how you deploy and access Windows across devices, and simplify Windows licensing and management. With per user licensing you can:
Enable users to access Windows Enterprise across all of their devices.
Deliver Windows Enterprise across devices through local install, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), or Windows To Go.
Gain the simplicity of counting users instead of counting all of their various devices—enabling Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scenarios eliminates the need to track every device and license.
For additional help choosing the right per user option, plus more details on the access rights to Windows Enterprise and other benefits of Software Assurance, refer to the Volume Licensing Guide for Windows 10 (PDF, 725 KB).
Windows Volume Licensing
Properly licensed Microsoft operating systems (such as Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista) have either a full operating system license or the combination of an upgrade operating system license and a pre-existing, full operating system license. If you do not have a pre-existing full license for a genuine operating system on your PC, see Get Genuine Legalization Solutions.
Only certain editions of the Windows operating system qualify for upgrades under Volume Licensing agreements. For more details, download the Windows 10 Qualifying Operating Systems Chart (PDF, 276 KB).
If your operating system license qualifies, you can purchase the Windows 10 Pro Upgrade license or Windows 10 Enterprise Upgrade license under your Volume Licensing agreement. Note that Windows licenses that are available through Volume Licensing are upgrade-only licenses and can only be acquired on top of a base operating system license; these licenses are not a replacement for a pre-existing full operating system license.
The following conditions must be met for a licensed PC to be eligible for a Volume Licensing upgrade license:
A licensed, qualifying Windows operating system must already be installed on the device that will be assigned the Volume Licensing upgrade license.
You must remove the existing qualifying operating system from the device to deploy the Volume Licensing upgrade license, unless the PC is covered by Microsoft Software Assurance.
If you want to install or run more than one licensed operating system at one time (including the qualifying operating system), you can either:
Acquire Software Assurance for your Volume Licensing upgrade license.
Purchase full Windows licenses separately.