Windows 10 is familiar and easy to use, has more built-in security to help keep you safe, and is designed to work with software and hardware you already have. Whether you want to upgrade your PCs to Windows 10, gain access to offerings such as Software Assurance, or use Windows with greater flexibility, there is a Microsoft Volume Licensing solution that is right for your organization.
What’s newIntroducing Windows 10
Windows 10 brings a new way of delivering Windows, with new features and functionality delivered in an incremental manner without requiring a large operating system redeployment. Active Software Assurance will enable you to receive ongoing features and functionality for Windows 10 Enterprise, along with security updates, on a regular basis. Organizations that are using Windows 10 Enterprise now have the opportunity to choose which Windows service best fits their needs. If your organization is looking for the latest innovation on an ongoing basis for a variety of devices, the Current Branch for Business is a great fit. For mission critical environments with strict change management policies, the Long Term Servicing Branch is a good choice because it offers the latest security updates—but no new features.
For the first year of availability, many customers who currently use Windows will qualify for a free upgrade to Windows 10.
Software Assurance for the Windows desktop operating system enables flexible workstyles by providing access to Windows instances in a variety of ways across devices. With access to the offerings and use rights listed below, Software Assurance for the Windows desktop operating system provides the maximum value for your investment.
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 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise
Volume Licensing is the most cost-effective way for commercial customers to upgrade PCs to Windows 10 Enterprise. You can purchase upgrade licenses through a Volume Licensing program to gain access to Windows 10 Enterprise, and you can attach Software Assurance to your Windows 10 Enterprise Upgrade licenses.
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.
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.
Software Assurance is automatically included in certain Volume Licensing programs, such as Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise Subscription Agreement, Open Value, Open Value Subscription, and Enrollment for Education Solutions.
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.Licensing Windows Software Assurance on a per-user basis
You can license access to Windows Enterprise on a per-user basis through the Windows Software Assurance per User 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.
There are three different per user options: Windows Software Assurance per User, Windows VDA per User, and Windows Software Assurance per User Add-on. The following table offers a comparison of these three options.
Windows Software Assurance per User
Windows Software Assurance
When Added to Windows Software Assurance per Device
When Added to Windows VDA per Device
Primary user’s primary device must be licensed for Windows 7/8/8.1/10 Pro or Enterprise
No device requirements; may be assigned to any user
Primary user’s primary device must already be covered by Windows Software Assurance
Primary user’s primary device must already be covered by Windows VDA
Per user; no device limits
Local Install of Windows Enterprise
On any device running Windows 7/8/8.1/10 Pro or Enterprise or Windows tablet up to 10.1 inches in diagonal screen size
VDI Access and Windows To Go
Available from any device
Extends across all of a user’s devices
Note: ”Primary user’s primary device” means the user is the primary user of the device AND the device is that user’s primary work device.
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.