Access to prior product versions – April 2014 update
- Customers who have licensed software through a Microsoft Volume Licensing program are eligible to use prior versions of the software edition that they have licensed. This is known as a downgrade right. More information is provided in the Downgrade Rights Volume Licensing brief, as well as in the Product Use Rights.
- If you have legally obtained physical media (CD/DVD) of older licensed Microsoft products that your organization is currently licensed to use through downgrade rights, you can use these prior software versions at your discretion.
- In general, the
Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) provides download access only to the current (N) and the last (N-1) version of products.
Note: In addition to VLSC download software access, Volume Licensing customers can order physical media (CD/DVD) copies of their licensed software through the VLSC.
- With the release of new product versions, previously available products are removed from the VLSC as they become N-2 versions. Support for physical media purchases of these N-2 products through Microsoft also ends at that time.
- As of December 2012, a limited set of N-2 and N-3 prior product versions remain available for download through the VLSC:
Current Version (N)
Prior Version (N-1)
Added Prior Version
Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
Exchange Server 2010
Exchange Server 2007
Exchange Server 2003
Microsoft Office 2013
Microsoft SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows Server 2012
Windows Server 2008 R2
Note: In the event that Product Keys for the N-2 versions listed above are not available from the VLSC, please contact a Microsoft Product Activation Center.
On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates, non-security hotfixes, or technical support for Windows XP. After this date, Windows XP media will not be available for download or ordering through the VLSC.
If your organization continues to require access to specific prior version products, we recommend that you first contact your Microsoft reseller to determine whether they still have media inventory. If you received past shipments of physical Volume Licensing media (comprehensive or subscription kits) or purchased physical CD/DVD media, you can continue to use these discs to install prior versions of products that are no longer available from the VLSC.
Product availability information
Microsoft releases new products and product updates for Volume Licensing customers each month. To find out what new products are available, read the following documents:
- Volume Licensing Subscription Updates Notice. New products and product updates available this month to Select and Enterprise Agreement Volume Licensing customers.
- Shipment Content List. The latest contents of physical media Comprehensive Kits and Subscription Kit updates for a variety of Volume Licensing customers.
How to get updates for Microsoft products
For Volume Licensing customers, the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) is your key resource to manage your software licenses and access licensed software from Microsoft. For those customers who are unable to take advantage of downloading from the VLSC because of Internet access limitations, regulatory policies, or other factors, Microsoft continues to support physical media shipments (CD/DVDs) as required.
Product updates are available as follows:
- By Download. To download products from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) site, sign in to the VLSC, and
Note: To access the VLSC, you must be a registered user on the site and have access to agreement data. If you need assistance accessing the site, visit the Help section to contact the Microsoft Support Center.
- As Software Product Disk Kits. Disk kits (CDs or DVDs) can be purchased from your Microsoft reseller.
For more information:
- Download the list of Disk Kit Product Families (Word document, 280 KB)
Note: This list contains product families that are included in Microsoft Volume Licensing Comprehensive Welcome Kits sent to Enterprise Agreement and Select License customers if physical fulfillment is chosen. Customers who have disk kit subscriptions are also provided periodic updates to these products.
- Go to the Volume Licensing Service Center
- Contact your Microsoft reseller
Verifying your base license when ordering Windows Upgrade installation services
Which customers need to verify their licenses?
This information is for Microsoft Volume Licensing customers who order software upgrade installation services for computers, also known as “imaging.” These services involve the installation of a Volume Licensing Windows Upgrade operating system product by a PC manufacturer, known as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or Licensing Solution Provider (LSP).
When you order Volume Licensing Windows Upgrade operating system product installation services for computers from an OEM or LSP, you are required to certify that a qualifying Windows operating system base license has been purchased for these computers. OEMs and LSPs are required to directly collect this certification from their customers before they install images on the computers.
Volume Licensing software cannot be installed until the customer provides this verification in writing (see details below).
What is a “qualifying Windows operating system”?
Windows Upgrade operating system software licensed through Volume Licensing agreements can be placed only on computers that have an appropriate Certificate of Authenticity (COA) for a qualifying Windows base license. For example, in the case of a computer being imaged with Windows 8.1 Enterprise under a Volume Licensing agreement, a COA for a qualifying base operating system, such as Windows 8.1 Pro, must first be affixed to the computer, and the appropriate license must be purchased. Learn more about qualifying Windows operating systems.
To reduce the potential for mis-licensing, before an image can be installed, you must complete the “Microsoft Customer License Verification for Upgrade Installation Services for Microsoft Windows Operating System Software by Third Parties” form and return it to the OEM or LSP that is performing Windows Upgrade operating system installation services.
OEMs and LSPs must verify with customers that each computer that is distributed with Windows Upgrade operating system software has a COA for the appropriate qualifying Windows license, and they must cooperate in investigations related to possible piracy or mis-licensing.
How do I complete the verification process?
Sign, date, and send the completed form to your OEM or LSP.
Note: To return the form, follow the return instructions provided by your OEM or LSP. Do not send this form to Microsoft.
Who can answer my questions?
- For questions about the verification process, contact your OEM or LSP.
- For questions about your Volume Licensing agreement, contact your Microsoft Volume Licensing account manager.
- For all other questions, contact Microsoft customer support.