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Licensing Options and Requirements

The following table can help you determine which licensing option is right for your organization. It summarizes the features, benefits, and specific documentation requirements for each type.

Once you’ve chosen the best option for your needs, contact an authorized Microsoft reseller for purchasing options.

If You Are

Recommended Licensing Option

Documentation Requirements

Looking to purchase fewer than five copies of software from a local retail store or online retailer

Full Packaged Product (FPP)

New, boxed, shrink-wrapped software that is purchased in any retail store or online software retailers. Typically, each FPP includes one license, along with media and documentation, and is designed to meet personal or low-volume needs. You can purchaseboth full versions and upgrades of software through FPP.

Benefits: Boxed software is quickly and easily obtained from any online or retail store.

For each unit you purchase, you should keep:

  • Software License Terms (also known as the End User License Agreement or EULA) the agreement between the PC manufacturer and the purchaser.

  • Certificate of Authenticity (COA)

  • Original media and manuals (if applicable)

  • Purchase invoice and/or receipt

In the market for a new PC and want the convenience of having pre-installed software included

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

Software, such as the Windows operating system, that comes preinstalled on your new computer. Operating systems and other software applications are available through the OEM channel.

Benefits: Pre-installed software is convenient and easy to get started with.

To establish and prove license ownership you should retain:

  • Software License Terms (also known as the End User License Agreement or EULA)theagreement between the PC manufacturer and the purchaser.

  • Certificate of Authenticity (COA)

  • Original media and manuals (if applicable)

  • Purchase invoice and/or receipt

A corporate, industry (Academic, Charity, Government, or Health), or other organization that wants to purchase software for five or more PCs

Volume Licensing Programs

Software that is purchased in volume for multiple computers within a single purchasing organization, often resulting in easier and more affordable software management. By acquiring software licenses through Volume Licensing programs, you pay only for the software license. Boxed software includes media (the CD-ROM or DVD), a user's guide, and other packaging items. Eliminating these physical costs and purchasing in volume often reduces cost and provides more customized purchasing options and improved software management for organizations.

Microsoft Volume Licensing programs include:

In addition, Microsoft offers two programs for partners:

Microsoft Volume Licensing offers customized programs for certain industries, suchas academic, charity, government, and health organizations.These programs offer flexible and affordable solutions that are tailored to the size and purchasing preference of your organization.

Review Volume Licensing programs for industries

Learn more about Client Access Licenses (CALs) now

For some Volume Licensing programs, you can also purchase Software Assurance,a comprehensive maintenance offering that can help you get the most out of your software investment. It combines the latest software with phone support, partner services, training, and IT tools.

Benefits: Purchasing in volume makes it easier and more affordable to run software on multiple computers in a single purchasing organization. In addition, it offers flexible, convenient options to help academic, government, and similar organizations purchase software licenses that are affordable, valuable, and easy to manage.

Microsoft Volume Licensing customers have access to the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center (VLSC), where they can download licensed products, access product keys, and manage all licensing agreements online.

Download the complete table of Microsoft Licensing Options (PDF file, 462 KB)