We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

Windows 2000 server licensing help

Sean Rhudy
Sean Rhudy asked
I have a windows 2000 server on a small network of 10 workstations and 4 printers.  Right now, the licensing is per server.  This is the only server and will probably always be the only server.  Should I purchase CAL's and change to per seat?  Also, I am having trouble finding a decent place to buy 2000 Server CAL's.  Anybody have any suggestions?  The OS only has the 5 licenses that came with it.  
Watch Question

Technology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
2000 is not sold anymore... I'm not sure where - if anywhere - you'll be able to get CALs.  However, you may be able to get open license CALs which have downgrade rights... but I've never done that and seem to recall questions about how they would actually get installed on the server.  

I would really suggest, given the size you your company that you would be better off replacing the old unsupported server with a new Small Business Server 2003 server (the SBS license when purchased as OEM software can be as little as $350, plus 5 extra CALs and then you'd have 2003 server with Volume Shadow copy (I love this feature - it's a scheduled periodic backup - I usually run 4 per business day) and it comes with Microsoft Exchange server (though you pretty much HAVE to use Exchange server... not using SBS the way it was intended is generally a recipe for problems... but if you set it up correctly, it's rock solid and a great, easily managed system with many enhancements over 2000.

I agree with Leew about upgrading 100%!!!

However, if you want more info on downgrade rights, look through this FAQ section for more information...

"Q. Can I downgrade a Windows CAL for use on a Windows 2000 server?
  A. Yes. Both Windows Server 2003 User and Device CALs can be downgraded to access a Windows 2000 server."

Sean RhudyPresident


Yes, it says you can downgrade, but I can't find a site that says how.  Also, I don't need licenses for the network printers?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

No, you only need licenses for users OR for the devices that the users use to access the system.  Printers are used by users through the system.

You could buy the 2003 CALS from a reseller or through MS ...

To downgrade, a key should be provided with a media kit (make it very clear with the seller that you expect this).  It would be a good idea to also contact the MS clearinghouse to make sure all your ducks are in a row prior to spending any $$ IMO.   During install, you would then have the option to downgrade.

Here are your Downgrade rights...

Explore More ContentExplore courses, solutions, and other research materials related to this topic.