Licensing
Make sure you have the right licensing for your Microsoft products.

Microsoft can help you make sense of your organization’s current licensing situation, including pointing you to easy solutions if you find that your organization is not properly licensed or has inadvertently acquired counterfeit software.

      • Running genuine software matters. PCs running genuine software are faster, more secure and are more reliable than those running counterfeit software.
      • Proper licensing helps you save. When implemented correctly, Microsoft’s volume licensing solutions are designed to make it easier and more affordable to run software on multiple computers within a business or organization.
 
When making your next home or business PC or server purchase, the best and most cost-effective way to get Microsoft software that’s genuine and properly licensed is to buy a PC with Windows and Office preinstalled, or a server with Windows Server preinstalled.

How to tell if you’re properly licensed

Figuring out whether Microsoft software installed on your PC is properly licensed is important. Here are a few scenarios that will help you understand the most common licensing mistakes:

Confusing an upgrade with a full license

Windows volume licenses are for upgrades only and require a qualifying full operating system to be installed on the PC as a pre-requisite. Companies often purchase Windows volume licensing agreements and mistakenly apply them to computers that don’t have a full operating system already installed. Windows volume licenses provide the opportunity to extend the life of a previously acquired full Windows desktop license, or other qualifying license, by upgrading to a newer version of Windows.
 
If you think this might be happening within your business or organization, Microsoft and our trusted partners offer easy, economical ways to help ensure that the software installed on your PCs is properly licensed.
 
Learn more about: how volume licensing works

Using volume licensing to install a Professional edition over a Home edition

Sometimes companies will use a Windows volume license to install Windows Professional edition software on more PCs than are allowed. For instance, Windows volume licenses require an existing qualifying operating system pre-installed as a pre-requisite on each PC. In most cases, this means a Professional-level operating system is required. Microsoft and our trusted partners offer easy, economical ways to help ensure that the software installed on your PCs is properly licensed.
 

Unintentional purchase of counterfeit software

From time to time, both companies and individuals discover that they have been unintentionally using counterfeit software. This is a common occurrence when PCs are acquired through a trusted PC manufacturer without Windows or other operating systems pre-installed or in a full retail package.
 

How to correct licensing mistakes

For businesses

Microsoft offers several easy, affordable licensing solutions to help you and your business or organization ensure that you have genuine Microsoft software. To get started, contact your local Microsoft volume licensing representative or authorized Microsoft reseller and ask them about Get Genuine Solutions. You can also learn more about genuine Windows offerings for businesses.

For home users and small businesses

If you are receiving notifications on your home or small business PC that the Microsoft software you're running may not be genuine or activated, follow the instructions or link provided to either troubleshoot the issue or purchase genuine software.