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Software Assurance: More Benefits and Maximum Value

License Advisor for Volume Licensing


How to Buy Microsoft Products

Published: June 26, 2006

The first step in learning about Microsoft Volume Licensing is to understand what volume licensing is and how it compares with other methods of acquiring licenses for Microsoft software.

What Is a Software License?

A software license grants you the right to run or access a software program. Licensing software is different from purchasing a car or house in that you have the right to run the software but there are ongoing requirements that determine how the software can be used. These requirements include such things as transferring software to other users and downgrading to earlier versions of the software.

Microsoft software licenses generally come with one of two kinds of agreements that specify how you may use the software. The first kind, and the one most users are familiar with, is Microsoft Software License Terms, formerly known as the end user license agreement or EULA. If you have ever acquired a license for software from a retailer or purchased a new computer with software already installed, then you have probably seen Microsoft Software License Terms. The license terms generally either come in the box on paper or cardstock or pop up onscreen when you install new software. You typically must accept the terms and conditions before installing the software.

The Product Use Rights (PUR) is similar to the Microsoft Software License Terms except that it pertains to software licensed through a Microsoft Volume Licensing program. The PUR, together with the Microsoft Volume Licensing program agreement under which a license is acquired, governs the use of Microsoft Volume Licensing software.

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Your Microsoft Licensing Options

Microsoft licenses software three primary ways: Full Packaged Product (retail), Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), and Volume Licensing. Making a decision is easy if you know what your current software needs are.

What is it?

Purchasing a new computer equipped with OEM Microsoft software and equipment

Customer: Anyone purchasing a new computer
Description: Licensed software preinstalled on a new computer
How to purchase: Licensed software is preinstalled on a new computer. This is the easiest and most economical way to acquire the Microsoft Windows operating system for a new computer.

Ensure that the Windows software on your computer is genuine

Who is it for?

Purchasing Microsoft products from a certified Microsoft retailer

Customer: Home users or small businesses requiring software for fewer than five computers
Description: Individual packages of licensed software purchased at retail
How to purchase: Licensed software can be purchased through any software retailer.

Locate a retailer through the Microsoft Product Information Center

How does it work?

Signing a Volume Licensing agreement

Customer: Businesses that require licenses for five or more desktop PCs
Description: Groups of licenses for five or more desktop PCs
How to purchase: Volume Licensing agreements are available through Microsoft partners and resellers.

Find the right Volume Licensing program for you



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