Microsoft Volume Licensing Blog iconTwitter

Frequently asked questions

Get answers to frequently asked questions on select Software Assurance.

  • What is Software Assurance, and why do I need it?
    Software Assurance is a comprehensive Volume Licensing program that includes a unique set of technologies, services, and rights to help you deploy, manage, and use your Microsoft products more efficiently. Using Software Assurance benefits can help you take full advantage of your investments in IT.

    How do I get Software Assurance?
    Software Assurance is included with some Volume Licensing programs and is an optional purchase with others. You can purchase Software Assurance through Microsoft partners via your Volume Licensing agreement.

    Which Software Assurance benefits are included in my Volume Licensing agreement?
    The Interactive Benefit Chart (PDF, 768 KB) includes an overview of each benefit, and describes which benefits apply to each type of Volume Licensing agreement.

    How do I activate my Software Assurance benefits?
    Your Software Assurance benefits are activated in the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). Before you can activate your Software Assurance benefits in the VLSC, your organization needs to provide you with Software Assurance Manager permissions. Once you have signed in, you’ll find a complete list of your available Software Assurance benefits. The process to start using each individual benefit may differ slightly, but the process is similar for most. Review the VLSC Software Assurance Guide (PDF, 785 KB) for steps to activate, download, and use your benefits.

    Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA)
    If your organization has a Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), go to the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center (MVLC) to access and start using your benefits. Your Software Assurance benefits are ready to view and use as soon as you have signed in to the MVLC. In the MVLS, you’ll find instructions to get started with each benefit, links to more detailed information about each benefit, and sample communications to send to your users.

    Is Software Assurance available for my small organization?
    Software Assurance is available to organizations that support as few as five devices. Software Assurance is only available through Volume Licensing and is purchased when you buy or renew a Volume Licensing agreement. It is included with some agreements and is an optional purchase with others. Your available benefits are determined by the types and quantity of products that you purchase. The size of your organization may determine which of the broad range of benefits are most immediately useful to you.

  • What is the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA)?
    The new Microsoft Products and Services Agreement is a single purchasing agreement that provides flexible options for your software, Online Services, and Software Assurance purchases across your organization.

    Is Software Assurance available through the MPSA?
    Yes, Software Assurance is an option available through the MPSA.

    Where can I find information about the Software Assurance benefits available through the MPSA?
    Software Assurance offers tools and resources to help your company deploy, manage, and maximize your MPSA purchases, including deployment planning, training, and 24x7 support. For details about the broad range of SA benefits available through MPSA, refer to the MPSA Licensing Manual found on the Product Licensing Search page under Document Type.

    Are Software Assurance benefits managed differently through the MPSA?
    With the MPSA, your Software Assurance benefits are easily managed through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center (MVLC), where you’ll find clear, consolidated views of how benefits are earned and straightforward ways to allocate them.

    Where can I learn more about Software Assurance through the MPSA?
    Learn more on the Software Assurance through the MPSA page.

  • What is the Windows Software Assurance Add-on?
    The Windows Software Assurance per User Add-on is an optional subscription license that provides Windows Software Assurance per User rights for a Primary User whose primary device is licensed with Windows Software Assurance, or Windows per User VDA rights for a Primary User whose primary device is licensed with Windows VDA. For more details, visit the Windows Volume Licensing page.

    What does the Windows Software Assurance Add-on provide to the licensed user?

    With the Windows Software Assurance Add-on, the licensed user can:

    • Install Windows Enterprise locally on any of the licensed user’s devices that are licensed for Windows 7/8/8.1/10 Pro, and any Windows tablet with a diagonal screen size less than or equal to 10.1 inches.

    • Access Windows Enterprise across any of the licensed user’s devices with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and/or Windows To Go.*

    • Utilize the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) across all the user's devices.

    * Subject to licensing and technical limitations

  • How many Software Assurance support incidents do I get with Software Assurance?
    When you have at least one Server License covered with a Software Assurance (SA), you get a complimentary phone support incident, plus unlimited web support for all the Servers that are covered with Software Assurance. You are also entitled to an additional phone support incident for every US$200,000 spent on System and Application Software Assurance, and for every US$20,000 spent on Server or Client Access License (CAL) Software Assurance.

    Because other rules apply, use Microsoft Volume Licensing Advisor or the Volume Licensing Service Center reporting tools to check your benefits. Your Microsoft Account Manager or Microsoft partner can also help you calculate the number of incidents that you may receive.

    How do I start using these benefits?
    The first step is to make sure you have been identified as someone who can initiate support requests for your organization. Your organization’s Software Assurance Manager identifies you by using the Volume Licensing Service Center and gives you a Software Assurance Access ID (SAID) that you will need when requesting support.

    Then, depending on the level of support you need, you can do one of the following:

    • Initiate a Problem Resolution Support Incident at Microsoft Assisted Support.

    • Initiate a problem resolution request through the Microsoft Support website. Although access to this electronic support site is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, electronic or web-based support responses will occur during business hours. As such, web-based support incidents should not be initiated for business-critical situations that require more immediate assistance.

    In both instances you'll need to supply the following:

    • Your Software Assurance Access ID (SAID)

    • The Product edition and version that shows the issue

    • Contact information for the person who is authorized to use Software Assurance support benefits

    How do I transfer incidents to Premier Support?
    You can convert Software Assurance 24x7 Problem Resolution Support incidents to Premier Problem Resolution Support by reserving the incidents for Premier through the VLSC and contacting your Technical Account Manager. The conversion ratio will depend on local Premier list prices and can vary by country/region.

    For more information about transferring Software Assurance support incidents to Premier Support, contact your Microsoft Services representative or visit the Microsoft Services Premier Support website.

    Where can I go for more help?
    For additional support options outside of the United States and Canada, see Microsoft International Help and Support. You can also use the "Chat Online" feature that is available in the right navigation column of this page between the Central European Time (CET) business hours of 08:00 and 17:00.

  • Who gets to use Software Assurance E-Learning?
    Anyone in your organization can take advantage of Software Assurance E-Learning. In general, the number of licensed copies of qualifying products that your organization has with Software Assurance determines the number of users in your organization who may access e-learning courses for the corresponding product(s).

    If you’re considering purchasing Software Assurance, you can estimate your Software Assurance E-Learning benefits by using Microsoft License Advisor. This online tool asks about your product decisions, deployment situation, and whether you want Software Assurance and then recommends “best fit” purchase option(s) indicating your estimated Software Assurance benefits.

    If you’re a current Software Assurance customer, you can check your Software Assurance benefits through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). You’ll need Software Assurance Benefits Manager privileges (or other access permissions) to do so.

    What courses are available, and in which languages?
    Software Assurance E-Learning offers hundreds of hours of select courses in multiple languages for some of Microsoft’s most popular products. Courses are grouped into three categories: Applications (such as Microsoft Office), Systems (such as Microsoft Windows), and Server (such as Microsoft Exchange Server). Select Systems and Applications courses are offered in English, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Czech, French, Danish, Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. Select Server courses are offered in English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

    You can view the current list of Software Assurance eligible courses. Under Program Type, select SA Systems, SA Applications and/or SA Server.

    How long do I have to complete an E-Learning course? Do courses ever expire?
    Your right to initiate a Software Assurance E-Learning course expires with your Software Assurance coverage. If you start a course before your Software Assurance coverage expires, you have one year to complete that course, regardless of your contract expiration date.

    What's the difference between the Microsoft Software Assurance E-Learning benefit and the Training Vouchers benefit?
    Microsoft Software Assurance E-Learning courses provide interactive, self-paced training that is designed to help employees get more out of using a broad range of Microsoft products. The Training Vouchers benefit is instructor-led technical training provided by Microsoft Certified Partners. It is designed to help IT professionals and developers build their technical skills and prepare for the deployment of new software.

    What if I want to access other E-Learning courses that are not part of Software Assurance?
    There are more than 1,400 hours of in-depth official Microsoft E-Learning available for IT professionals, developers, and information workers/home and office users. If you need additional training for your organization, there are several ways to supplement your existing benefits. Find out more.

    Can I use E-Learning with my organization’s Learning Management System (LMS)?
    Yes. All courses in the Applications and Systems course categories can be integrated into an LMS. You can download SCORM-compliant content from the Volume Licensing Service Center or order CDs from your reseller. Courses in the E-Learning Server category cannot be integrated into your LMS because they provide virtual labs that must be hosted on the Microsoft website.

    How can I get help deciding on the best Software Assurance E-Learning delivery option for my organization?
    The Software Assurance E-Learning Delivery Option Guide gives you a quick overview and tells you what to expect with each delivery option (for example, Online Delivery and SCORM).

    This matrix can help you assess your options and discuss them with others. This one page helps you quickly compare the pros and cons of different delivery options. It is the perfect complement to the Software Assurance E-Learning Delivery Option Guide.

    How can I tell when staff members complete their coursework?
    If your staff members access the Software Assurance E-Learning benefits through the Online Learning Learner Portal, you can view reports of user progress through the Online Learning Administrator Portal. Recall that when you give an employee an E-Learning access code, he or she can choose from hundreds of courses. Using this course allocation and reporting method you can:

    • Track training initiatives tied to new product introductions.
    • See how your E-Learning benefits are being used throughout your entire organization.
    • Create customized reporting on the consumption and completion of select E-Learning courses.

    What administrative functions are available for Software Assurance E-Learning courses?
    For customers who would like a more hands-on administrative approach to managing their Software Assurance E-Learning, administrative features are available through the new Microsoft Learning Central Business Portal. Administrators will be able to:

    • Create user accounts for learners
    • Create groups of learners
    • Create access codes that direct students to a pre-defined set of e-learning courses
    • Develop specialized Learning Plans
    • Generate real-time reports that summarize student sign-in, attendance, and assessment data
    • Access documentation, Help text, and FAQs

    Where can I find out more about the administrative functions available for Software Assurance E-Learning?
    The Software Assurance E-Learning Resources page offers detailed guidance on E-Learning administration options.

    Where can I go for more help?
    More help is available on the Software Assurance E-Learning Resources webpage.

  • What products can I get through HUP?
    The list of products varies by region, offering, application, version, and language. HUP typically offers your qualifying employees a low-cost download of Microsoft’s most popular and newest Office products. As an example, your qualifying employees who use Office Professional Plus 2013 on their work computers at your company would be eligible to acquire the HUP equivalent (Office Professional Plus 2013 HUP or Office 2011 for Mac, not both) for use on their home (or mobile) computers. See Benefit Admin FAQ (PDF, 428 KB) for additional information.

    To address the needs of multilingual individuals who routinely create or edit documents and presentations in different languages, HUP offers you optional Office Language Packs that enable Document Proofing Tools, Localized User Interface, and Help and User Assistance Tools for 40 different languages.

    Please visit the HUP website to see current offers.

    How much does HUP cost?
    Customers pay $9.95 for the license and download of each product available. Physical back-up media is available for an additional $13.99 (includes shipping; not available for Language Packs). Prices can change and do vary outside the United States. See the HUP website for current offers.

    What do I need to do to offer HUP to my employees?
    Offering the HUP to your employees is easy. First, your organization’s Software Assurance Manager will need to log in to the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) and activate your Home Use Program benefits. After the benefits have been activated, your Software Assurance Manager will get a HUP program code that he or she can send to employees by using the email templates, banner ads, or other downloadable marketing resources from HUP.

    Employees who receive this information will use their HUP program code and work email address to validate their eligibility. After they have been accepted, they’ll get a confirmation email message that allows them to make purchases directly through the HUP Online Store.

    Do I have any other responsibilities?
    As the Volume Licensing customer, you are not responsible for your individual employee’s compliance with the Home Use Program end-user license terms. Those terms are between Microsoft and the individual employee. We do require that you limit Home Use Program access to employees and tell them when they should discontinue use of the Home Use Program software——for example if your Software Assurance coverage ends or the employee leaves employment.

  • What is License Mobility?
    With License Mobility through Software Assurance, you can deploy certain application server licenses on-premises or in the cloud in a shared hardware environment and assign your existing licenses to an Authorized Mobility Partner. This lets you choose between deploying on-premises or through any Authorized Mobility Partner’s shared data center. By letting the partner use your existing licenses, you can help lower your cloud infrastructure costs.

    What Microsoft products are eligible for License Mobility?
    Customers who have active Software Assurance coverage on applicable Microsoft products, including Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange, are eligible for License Mobility. For specific terms and a complete list of Microsoft products that are eligible for License Mobility, refer to the “Appendix 2: Software Assurance Benefits” section in the Microsoft Product Terms.

    Note: Because the Authorized Mobility Partner provides Windows Server to you as a part of their infrastructure software, Windows Server is not included in the License Mobility benefit.

    How do I use this benefit?
    To take advantage of License Mobility, you can deploy on Microsoft Azure or work with any Authorized Mobility Partner. Complete the verification form available on the Volume Licensing website and give it to your Microsoft representative or preferred partner, who can help you submit it to Microsoft. After receiving the form, Microsoft will confirm your eligibility and communicate your verification status to you and your chosen Authorized Mobility Partner.

  • What is the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack?
    The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) is a dynamic desktop solution available to Software Assurance for Windows customers. MDOP helps you manage Windows features; virtualize the operating system, applications, and the user experience; and restore user productivity after a system issue.

    What is included in MDOP?
    There are six key technologies in the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack:

    • Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM)

    • Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)

    • Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM)

    • Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT)

    • Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V)

    • Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V)

    Where can I get MDOP?
    You can download the software through the Volume Licensing Service Center.

    How can I evaluate MDOP?
    MDOP is available for test and evaluation through certain MSDN and TechNet subscriptions in accordance with MSDN and TechNet agreements.

  • If my organization has Software Assurance, can we upgrade to the new version of any product?
    You may upgrade to the latest version of any underlying licensed product for which you have Software Assurance coverage.

    What determines eligibility to receive new versions of product releases—the availability of the product on the monthly Price List or availability of the product for download on the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC)?
    For Software Assurance customers, eligibility to receive new versions of products is the earlier of either:

    • the month Microsoft makes licenses for that product available for ordering (on the Price List), or
    • the month the product is available for download from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).

    Software Assurance customers have rights to the next version of a product as long as their Software Assurance coverage continues through the month of the availability of the product.

    We recommend that you stay in touch with your Microsoft reseller or Microsoft Account Manager for news about new products and their availability.

    What happens if my organization drops Software Assurance in the same month that a new product is made available on the VLSC? Can I still download and use the new product?
    Yes. Active Software Assurance coverage always expires at the end of a month no matter what day within the month your organization originally signed the agreement. For new product version rights, this means that you can still download eligible new products posted to the VLSC during that final month.

  • How many days of Planning Services will my organization receive?
    The number of days and hours depends on the number of qualifying Office Application, Server, and Developer Tool licenses and the number of Core CAL suites, Enterprise CAL, and SQL CAL suites for which Software Assurance is acquired. Days earned across all software purchases are pooled and can be used on any of the Planning Services offerings regardless of the software type purchased.

    There are several resources you can use to check your benefits. You can also ask your Microsoft partner or Account Manager or consult the Microsoft Product List for more information.

    How do I find qualified consultants who deliver these services?
    Planning Services are delivered by qualified Microsoft partners or Microsoft Services. You can search for Planning Services providers on the Software Assurance Planning Services Providers site. Your Microsoft reseller or Account Manager can also help you locate qualified consultants to suit your planning needs.

    Do the Planning Services include deployment of software?
    Planning Services offer structured consulting engagements provided by qualified partners or Microsoft Services to help develop a deployment plan; the actual deployment of the software or services is not included.

    How do I convert Training Vouchers to a Planning Services voucher?
    Your Software Assurance manager can increase the number of available Planning Services days by converting unused Training Voucher days in the Volume Licensing Service Center. See step-by-step instructions in the VLSC Software Assurance Guide (PDF, 785 KB).

  • Is the TechNet Subscription benefit still available with Software Assurance?
    Starting in May 2014, all new and renewing Volume Licensing agreements with Software Assurance will no longer include TechNet Subscription service benefits. Customers will be able to access their benefits until the expiration of their current term of Software Assurance coverage or May 31, 2017, whichever is earlier.

    What TechNet resources will be available after my subscription ends?
    After your TechNet subscription ends, you will continue to have access to TechNet resources including evaluation resources through the TechNet Evaluation Center, trial rights through the VLSC as part of certain Volume Licensing agreements, expert-led learning through the Microsoft Virtual Academy, and community-moderated technical support through the TechNet Forums.

    Where can I learn more?
    You can learn more about TechNet services by visiting the TechNet website.

  • Who gets to use Software Assurance Training Vouchers?
    Anyone in your organization can benefit from Training Vouchers based on eligible training requirements. The number of training days available varies by licensing program and the number of qualifying licenses that you have with Software Assurance. For details, refer to the Microsoft Product List for Volume Licensing.

    If you’re considering purchasing Software Assurance, you can estimate your Software Assurance Training Voucher benefits by using Microsoft License Advisor. This online tool asks about your product decisions, deployment situation, and whether you want Software Assurance and then recommends “best fit” purchase option(s) indicating your estimated Software Assurance benefits.

    If you’re a current Software Assurance customer, you can check your Software Assurance benefits through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Services Center (VLSC). You must be registered to use this tool.

    What courses are available?
    Available courses are those that have been created for IT professional and developer participants or courses specified as a Demonstration Session delivery. Courses that are NOT eligible include First Look Clinics, Hands-on Labs, and Microsoft Press books. With the exception of Demonstration Sessions, courses that have been created for end users—for example, Microsoft Office Excel, Word, and PowerPoint—are also not eligible for Software Assurance Training Vouchers. You may accommodate and supplement end-user education through your Software Assurance E-Learning benefits. Software Assurance TechNet also offers additional resources for IT professionals.

    All courses are taught by Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCT) through a Microsoft partner with a Learning Competency (Microsoft Learning Partner) using Microsoft official courses. Use the Microsoft Learning Class Locator to find a classroom training site in your area.

    You can view the current list of Software Assurance eligible courses. Under Program Type, select SA Training Vouchers.

    How long do we have to use the Training Vouchers?
    The right to access training vouchers expires with your Software Assurance coverage. If you create a training voucher before the expiration of your Software Assurance coverage, the voucher remains valid for 180 days after the date it was created.

    How can I use Training Vouchers to get more Planning Services Days?
    Planning Services are structured consulting engagements provided by qualified Microsoft partners to help you plan the deployment, migration or upgrade of Microsoft software or services and help you maximize the value of your existing software. Software Assurance Planning Services include:

    • Public Cloud, Microsoft Azure Planning Services (AZDPS)
    • Desktop Deployment Planning Services (DDPS)
    • Developer Tools Deployment Planning Services (DTDPS)
    • Private Cloud Deployment Planning Services (PVDPS)
    • SharePoint Deployment Planning Services (SDPS)
    • SQL Server Deployment Planning Services (SSDPS)

    You can increase the number of engagement days by converting unused Software Assurance Training Voucher days into Planning Services days on a three-to-one basis (three Training Voucher days equal one Planning Services day). Your Software Assurance Manager can manage this conversion by using the Volume Licensing Service Center. For details, refer to the Microsoft Product List for Volume Licensing.

    Where can I go for more help?
    More information is available on the Software Assurance Training Voucher Resources site and the Microsoft Learning Support site.

  • What are Enhanced Edition Benefits?
    Enhanced Edition Benefits give you the ability to run current or prior versions of Windows or Windows Embedded Industry to ensure that you have the right Windows edition for any scenario, on any device.

    What is Windows Embedded Industry?
    Windows Embedded Industry is part of the Windows Embedded family. It combines the full power of Windows 8.1 Pro or Enterprise with enhancements designed to meet the needs of industry devices like ATMs, point of service systems, kiosks, and medical devices.

    Which Windows products can I run under Enhanced Edition Benefits?
    You can run the following products on devices that are covered by Software Assurance for Windows or Windows Embedded Industry:

    Run Under Enhanced Edition Benefits

    Windows Enterprise Upgrade with Software Assurance

    Windows Embedded Industry Enterprise Upgrade with Software Assurance

    Windows 8/7/Vista Enterprise


    Windows 8 Pro


    Windows 7 Professional


    Windows Vista Business


    Windows XP Pro


    Windows 2000 Professional


    Windows 95/98/NT


    Windows Embedded 8.x Industry Enterprise


    Windows Embedded 8.x Industry Pro


    Windows Vista Business/7 Professional/8 Pro for Embedded Systems


    Windows Embedded POSReady & Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Retail