Get Fast Answers to Top Microsoft Licensing FAQs


Get answers to your product licensing questions. The following questions are related to product licensing under Microsoft Volume Licensing agreements.

  1. Downgrade rights
  • My organization has a Volume Licensing agreement. Where can I confirm my specific downgrade rights and eligible versions to downgrade? Downgrade rights (rights to use a prior version of a product) are granted as part of all the Volume Licensing agreements. However, you need to refer to the Microsoft Product Terms for particular downgrade paths for specific products because they may have migrated to other products or other editions.
  • I have licensed Office Professional Plus 2013 through a Volume Licensing agreement. Can I downgrade it to Office Standard 2013 or Office Standard 2010? No. Downgrade rights grant the end user the right to use prior versions of Microsoft software, not other editions of the software released at the same time.

Note that Microsoft makes a distinction between the terms 'version' and 'edition' when referring to product licenses. The term 'edition' means different functional offerings within a product family that are usually released at the same time (for example, Office Professional Plus 2013 and Office Standard 2013). The term 'version' refers to different generations of a product family. Downgrade rights between the current generation (N), the prior generation (N-1), and the generation prior to that (N-2) are limited to the same functional editions within each version (for example, Windows 10 Pro downgrades to Windows 8.1 Pro).

  • I need to downgrade to a prior version of a Microsoft product that my organization licenses through Volume Licensing. How do I get prior versions of products? Although you have the right to downgrade products, the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) generally provides download access only to the current (N) and the prior version (N-1) of products. Note: In addition to VLSC download software access, all Volume Licensing customers can choose to purchase physical media (CD/DVD) copies of their licensed software through their Microsoft Reseller. If you previously received physical media (CD/DVD) of prior Microsoft products that your organization is currently licensed to use through downgrade rights, you may use these prior software versions at your discretion.
  1. Software Assurance
  • I purchased Office Professional Plus 2013 with Software Assurance, and my Software Assurance coverage recently expired. How can I confirm which product version I’m entitled to upgrade to under the Software Assurance New Version Rights benefit? To confirm when products were made available, review the Microsoft Product Terms.
  • Can I add Software Assurance to an OEM/Retail product license? Yes, you can attach standalone Software Assurance coverage to an OEM/Retail product license, but you must do so within 90 days of purchasing the OEM/Retail (full packaged product) product license. This option is available only for particular products through particular Volume Licensing programs. For details, see the Microsoft Product Terms.
  • If I attach Software Assurance to an OEM/Retail product license within 90 days, which use rights apply? If you acquire Software Assurance for an OEM/Retail (full packaged product) product license within 90 days of purchase, you gain the option of installing and using the Volume Licensing software version
  1. Third-party use
  • In our company, we have onsite contractors who work on short-term projects. Can we assign Microsoft product licenses (Office, CALs, etc.) that we purchased through our own Volume Licensing agreement to these contractor-owned devices so that they use our licensed software for our projects? Yes, as long as those licenses are used for the benefit of your company, the licensee, you can assign your licenses to third-party devices. You’re limited in how often you can assign your licenses. Volume Licensing product licenses can be reassigned to other devices every 90 days, not more frequently. If the software will be used for the benefit of the contractors and not your organization then the contractors need to purchase their own licenses or explore other types of short-term software subscription licenses.
  1. Upgrade License
  • What is a 'Volume Licensing Upgrade License' for the Windows operating system for PCs? Microsoft Volume Licensing programs don’t offer Windows desktop operating system licenses; Volume Licensing provides only Windows upgrade licenses. Before you’re eligible to acquire an upgrade license for the Windows desktop PC operating system through Microsoft Volume Licensing programs, you must first have licensed and installed a qualified full desktop operating system on your device.