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Downgrading Server 2008 R2 Enterprise to 2008 R2 Standard?

Posted on 2013-01-15
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Last Modified: 2013-01-18
We have several servers that currently have Server 2008 R2 Enterprise installed. Microsoft sent us product keys for this product but we actually only purchased 2008 R2 Standard. So now we need to downgrade the server to 2008 R2 Standard to ensure we're legal. Is this possible and if so how do we go about doing it?

Thanks.
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Question by:David
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by:David
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I should have mentioned; we really don't want to re-install the OS. I'm hoping we can just do an in place downgrade in the same way you can upgrade from Standard to Enterprise.
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choward16980 earned 250 total points
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Impossible from a supported standpoint moving forward.  You need to re-install the machines and accept the EULA for standard edition.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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If you think a clean install is too much for you, then upgrade to Server 2012 Standard.  Don't actually upgrade unless you want/need to, but the licenses for 2012 Standard allow downgrades to Enterprise, so if you have them, then you are licensed and you can keep what you have.  (in 2012, the only difference between Standard and Data Center is the number of included VM licenses - they are feature identical which means there is no more Enterprise Edition and for upgrade/downgrade rights purposes, Standard 2012 can equal Enterprise 2008 R2.

(Also very curious how you installed Enterprise in the first place...)
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by:choward16980
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Hopefully the BSA isn't involved.  They don't play nice.
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by:David
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Thanks for the comments everyone. I'll look into the options and portion out points ASAP.
The BSA isn't involved yet, Microsoft has requested that we perform a licensing audit. We think this is because we used to employ quite a few software dev's and testers who all had MSDN licenses that were kept current. Now we're a much smaller company and our licensing requirements have dropped drastically. So we've suddenly stopped spending tons of money with MS.

We managed to install Enterprise because MS sent us Enterprise product keys and the install media allows you to install whatever version you like providing you have the relevant product key. We bought a lot of licenses for various products at the same time, so there must have been a mix up and some confusion as to what we were entitled to.

We were also under the impression that you could swap between the various versions at any point by simply choosing the version you wanted to swap to and then entering a valid product key. It seems the process isn't as user friendly as we thought. Nothing's ever easy.
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