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Licensing FAQ

As part of the continuing Microsoft effort to make software licensing more predictable and flexible for our customers, Windows Server 2008 licensing remains consistent with Windows Server 2003 R2, with a few enhancements which will be covered below.

This FAQ answers commonly asked questions about pricing and licensing for Windows Server 2008. Click a question to view its answer. To view all the answers at one time, select the View all answers check box.

Windows Server 2008

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Q.  How will Windows Server 2008 be licensed?

Q.  Will pricing change from Windows Server 2003 R2 to Windows Server 2008?

Q.  Where can I get Windows Server 2008?  

Q.  I currently have Windows Server 2003 Client Access Licenses. Will I need to purchase new Windows Server 2008 CALs?  

Q.  If my server is covered under Software Assurance, do I have to pay for Windows Server 2008?  

Q.  What happens if I already have Windows Server 2003 R2 but have not purchased Software Assurance for the server?  

Q.  How will volume license customers get the software media?  

Q.  Do I have to upgrade to Windows Server 2008?  

Q.  Is Windows Server 2003 R2 a prerequisite for Windows Server 2008?  

Q.  Will all editions of Windows Server 2003 R2 have an associated Windows Server 2008 release?  

Q.  Will there be 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2008?  

Q.  I have valid Software Assurance for Windows Server. How do I get the Windows Server 2008 software to which I am entitled?

Client Access Licenses (CALs)

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Q.  What is the difference between a Windows Server 2008 license and a Windows Server 2008 CAL? Why do I need both?  

Q.  When do I need to acquire a Windows Server 2008 CAL?  

Q.  If a user is only infrequently accessing certain protocols or services of the server software (such as Network Access Protection or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), is a Windows Server CAL still required?

Q.  Are there any differences between the requirements for CALs in Windows Server 2003 versus Windows Server 2008?

Q.  What is the difference between a Windows Server CAL and a Terminal Services (TS) CAL?  

Q.  What is the difference between a Device CAL and a User CAL?

Q.  Can I use a Windows Device CAL and a Windows User CAL on the same server?  

Q.  Can I use a Terminal Services Device CAL (TS Device CAL) and a Terminal Services User CAL (TS User CAL) on the same terminal server?  

Q.  Is there a difference in price between Device CALs and User CALs?  

Q.  My Windows Server 2008 software came with a set number of CALs because I acquired it through a retail store or with a new piece of hardware. How do I designate those CALs to be User or Device CALs?  

Q.  What is the difference between "types" of CALs and "licensing modes" for CALs?  

Q.  What impact will User CALs have on Core CALs and Enterprise Agreements?  

Q.  Can I downgrade a TS CAL for use on a Windows 2003 terminal server?

Q.  How do I designate Windows Server 2008 TS User or Device CALs?  

Q.  I have valid upgrade coverage with Software Assurance on my CALs. Can I choose either User or Device CALs? How do I do that?  

Q.  Will I be allowed to switch between Windows Device CALs and Windows User CALs? What about TS CALs?  

Windows External Connector Licenses

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Q.  When do I need a Windows External Connector (EC) license?  

Q.  For which Windows servers do I acquire EC licenses?  

Q.  Who qualifies as an External User?  

Q.  If a student accesses a school's network, is the student considered an External User?  

Q.  Can I acquire a Windows Server 2008 EC and downgrade it to use on a Windows 2003 server?

Q.  Can I acquire a Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services External Connector (TSEC) and downgrade it to use on a Windows 2003 terminal server?  

Virtualization

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Q.  Can I license Windows Server 2008 without the Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V hypervisor technology?

Q.  If I have one license for Windows Server 2008 Standard and want to run it in a virtual operating system environment, can I continue running it in the physical operating system environment?

Q.  Can I run Windows Server 2008 Standard in place of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise in the physical operating system environment?

Q.  Can I run Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2003 R2 as one of the four virtual instances granted in Windows Server 2008 Enterprise?

Q.  Have the virtualization licensing rights for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise changed?  

Q.  If I am licensed for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, I am allowed to run four simultaneous instances in virtual operating system environments (on the licensed server). However, I am running workloads in only two of those four instances on the licensed server. Under what circumstances can I run the remaining two instances on another server?

Q.  Say I have a Windows Server 2008 Enterprise license assigned to my server. What if I want to add a fifth instance of the server software in a virtual operating system environment?

Q.  Will I still be able to run an unlimited number of virtual instances with Windows Server 2008 Datacenter edition?

Q.  Do the virtualization licensing rights of Windows Server 2008 apply when used with non-Microsoft software virtualization technologies?

Terminal Services (TS)

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Q.  What is the difference between Terminal Services and Terminal Server?

Q.  How do I license a Terminal Server?

Q.  Will TS CALs need to be added to the Terminal Server Licensing Management (TSLM) for distribution to desktop systems?  

Q.  I have different versions of the operating system running on my terminal server(s) and my Terminal Server Licensing Management. Which operating system governs my license rights?  

Q.  I have valid upgrade rights (Enterprise Agreement or Software Assurance) for my TS CALs. How do I exercise my upgrade rights?  

Windows Web Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 Datacenter

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Q.  How do I obtain Windows Web Server 2008?  

Q.  How do I find the pricing and licensing terms for Web Hosters and Service Providers?

Q.  Can I use Windows Web Server 2008 as a file server or a terminal server?  

Q.  Do I need to acquire Windows CALs to access servers running Windows Web Server 2008?  

Q.  What applications are restricted from running on Windows Web Server 2008?  

Q.  Is there any additional functionality included in Windows Web Server 2008 that is not included in the other editions of Windows Server 2008?  

Q.  How do I obtain Windows Server 2008 Datacenter?  

Q.  How do I license Windows Server 2008 Datacenter?  

Q.  Do I need to acquire Windows CALs to access servers running Windows Server 2008 Datacenter?  

Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems

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Q.  How is Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems licensed and priced?

Q.  What are the specific workloads intended for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems?

Q.  Do I have virtualization rights with Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems?

Q.  Where can I acquire licenses of Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems?

Other

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Q.  What is volume licensing?  

Q.  What is Software Assurance (SA)?  

Q.  Do I get downgrade rights if I receive my server license with the purchase of new hardware through an OEM or if I acquire my software through a retail store?  

Q.  I understand that I get downgrade rights, but where do I go to get the other media and product key?

Q.  I understand that if I have Windows Server x64 edition my license permits me to use the 32-bit edition instead. How can I obtain that media and product key?  

Q.  Which editions of Windows Server 2008 have 64-bit versions?  

Q.  What are the pricing and licensing terms for the 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2008?

Q.  I am partitioning my server so I can run multiple virtual instances of the operating system on one server. How many server licenses do I need to acquire?  

Q.  If I acquire my licenses through Volume License how would I receive my Windows Server 2008 x64 and 32-bit OS versions?  

Q.  I read about additional system components of Windows Server 2008 that are not in the current product but are available separately. What are the licensing implications of those additional features?  

Q.  Except for Windows Server 2008 Datacenter and Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems, why are Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise, and Windows Web Server 2008 not licensed on a per processor basis like some of the other server application products?  

Evaluate Windows Server 2008 R2

Windows Server 2008 R2 Licensing Overview

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