Microsoft Licensing

Posted on 2005-05-16
Last Modified: 2010-04-19
I've been learning computers and want to set up a rack in my house to practice some stuff on...I need to buy Windows Server 2003 but am not sure how the licensing works. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure how any of their licensing works; for example, is a server 2003 client license sold to install one more copy of the OS to allow another user to log on to the OS? I searched the net and microsoft's website but just found alot of vendors and mumbo jumbo. Anyone got some good resources? thanks in advance guys
Question by:bluntz48
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    If you're looking to practice and/or learn, I strongly recommend getting yourself a copy of Microsoft Technet Plus - see - it has licenses to MANY microsoft products and as long as your not using them in a production environment, you should be legally ok.

    Author Comment

    im actually looking more for something to learn about the licensing and how it relates to each software category, etc
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    The best person to talk to about Microsoft licensing is a local Microsoft Reseller.   There are many things that can have an impact on what you need to buy and how much it will cost you including what exactly you will be using it for, whether you have an MSDN subscription, whether you are an educational institution, government body or student... there are so many variables that the only way to be sure is to talk to the Reseller about your specific requirements.  They will then be able to advise you appropriately.

    Accepted Solution

    The EULA or PUR will provide all the licensing info for the products, the EULA accompanies products purchased via Fully Packaged Product, like off the shelf at a resellers, the PUR covers products purchased via any Volume License program

    The up to date PUR is available at:

    Windows Server 2003 Server Use Rights - PUR
    For each license acquired, you may install only one copy of Server Software on a single Server, even if multiple copies of Server Software (for example, 32-bit and 64-bit versions) are included in the Software.  
    Features supported on 32-bit and 64-bit versions, including some features mentioned in these product use rights, may not be identical or available in both versions; please refer to product documentation for a list of specific features included with each version.
    Separate component parts of the Server Software may not be used on more than one Server.  
    An additional license is required if you install another copy of the Server Software on the same Server (whether in a separate partition, by using server emulation software, or otherwise) or to install or run a copy of the Server Software on a different Server (for example, a Server employed for backup or fail-over support).

    To “log” onto the Server the client PCs need a CAL, a CAL is required when any services of the server are being utilised, such as authentication via username/password, they only time a CAL is not required is when the connection is via the web or completely unauthenticated

    CALs come in either Per User or Per Device

    Per User covers 1 user connecting with unlimited devices
    Per Device covers 1 device connecting with unlimited users
    There is also External connectors etc etc,

    On the same note:
    Windows Server OS licenses cannot be downgraded to a desktop license OS, if you want to use a server as a desktop then you must purchase a new desktop OS for the machine or use the server in a server role

    You are not clear on the objectives you want to achieve, is the server for testing, development, live environment, do you plan to host websites from it etc?

    I am the UK Licensing Manager for Microsoft, so feel free to come back with additional questions and I will be happy to answer them for you!

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