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Windows 7 Volume Licensing, OEM License, KMS Activation

    Pregunta

  • Hello All,

    I've been working with a VAR and Microsoft's Volume Licensing Center to try to determine exactly what we need to purchase so that we have re-imaging rights, and can use KMS activation for our deployment of new personal computers with Windows 7.  I've read all of the technet articles, and spent many an hour searching the internet, and have posed multiple questions to both the VAR and Microsoft, but still haven't gotten a clear answer. 

    I want to be absolutely sure that we are appropriately licensed, and have the ability to work efficiently in the new environment. So, here's the scenario, we're looking at purchasing a small number of computers (max right now of 30) which will have the Windows 7 Professional OEM license included as part of the purchase.  According to Microsoft Customer Service Information Center's email to me,

    "For OEM Windows 7 Licenses, all you need is a one Windows 7 Software Assurance so that you can have access to Volume Licensing key and media."

    According to the VAR:

    "A single win 7 license will give you the key and download to reimage.  The reason we were going with 25 (ed.) SA only for the new systems ... was to get a KMS key generated." "...to get a KMS key generated you have to meet the min qty 25 threshold for win 7"

    I have read and understand that for a Volume License Agreement, I have to have five (5) licensed products, and I have also read and understand that I need to have 25 client devices contacting the KMS server in order for it to begin activation.  I have not read anywhere that I have to have twenty-five (25) licenses to have a KMS Host Key generated to Window 7 Professional.

    So, at this point, I'm hoping that someone with some more experience can offer some guidance. 

    Question 1
    If I purchase thirty (30) computers, do I have to purchase Software Assurance on all thirty (30) copies of the OEM Windows 7 Professional in order to be in licensing compliance if my intent is to use the Windows 7 Volume License software to reimage these thirty (30) computers with our software load?

    Question 2
    If I don't have to purchase Software Assurance for all thirty (30) copies of Windows 7 Professional, but rather as per my understanding of what Microsoft Customer Service Information Center sent to to me via email, I need to only purchase one instance Windows 7 Software Assurance, will this allow me to download a Volume Licensing Host Key from my Volume Licensing Center that will allow me to activate all thirty (30) personal computers that I have put my custom image of Window 7 (plus my organization's standard software load) via KMS?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    viernes, 28 de septiembre de 2012 19:35

Respuestas

  • Looks to me like MS answered half of your question (quite cleverly), and the VAR answered the other half (not nearly so cleverly). Now you have to put them together.

    A few background facts:

    1. To re-image n number of Windows 7 Professional PCs with a volume image (capable of using KMS activation), you need to build a master image with the volume bits. So you must buy a single volume upgrade (you can't buy full Windows OS bits in a volume program), upgrade one of your PCs with those bits, and make your image from it. You can then deploy that image to all 29 other PCs, as long as they came with OEM Windows 7 Pro (as you intend to do). 

    2. SA can only be purchased with a new license, or within 90 days of the purchase of an OEM license.

    MS answered the question about where you get the upgrade from, and it's actually a clever answer. You could purchase a volume Windows upgrade without SA (SA isn't needed for re-imaging), which is $187 in Open License. However, since these are new machines, you have the 90-day window to work with, and you can simply add SA to one of your new PCs. SA alone costs $108 (2 years of SA) so it's about $80 less than the upgrade license. Because SA gives you upgrade rights to Windows 7 (actually, Windows 8 right now, but you can downgrade to Windows 7), you're then entitled to download the volume bits for your "downgrade." You can configure the image to use KMS activation

    The VAR is right that you need 25 activation requests to get KMS activation going, but you don't need to purchase 25 SA licenses ($2,700). You do need to get a KMS key, but that doesn't cost anything, and you should be able to download it from the VLSC. Since all of your 30 new PCs will be reimaged with volume software that is configured to look for a KMS server, once the 25th machine starts up and looks for a key, you'll hit the threshhold. So your total cost for all of this will be about $108. 

    I'm assuming you already have an Open License agreement in place, but if you don't, you need to buy five licenses of any kind to start an Open agreement. So you could buy your one SA and 4 Windows DVD packs for Vista (cheapest thing on the Open Price list, at $6 each). More useful purchases might be 4 Windows CALs (about $30 each). 

    Paul DeGroot | Principal Consultant | Pica Communications | "Solving the Microsoft Licensing Puzzle"
    sábado, 29 de septiembre de 2012 0:13

Todas las respuestas

  • Looks to me like MS answered half of your question (quite cleverly), and the VAR answered the other half (not nearly so cleverly). Now you have to put them together.

    A few background facts:

    1. To re-image n number of Windows 7 Professional PCs with a volume image (capable of using KMS activation), you need to build a master image with the volume bits. So you must buy a single volume upgrade (you can't buy full Windows OS bits in a volume program), upgrade one of your PCs with those bits, and make your image from it. You can then deploy that image to all 29 other PCs, as long as they came with OEM Windows 7 Pro (as you intend to do). 

    2. SA can only be purchased with a new license, or within 90 days of the purchase of an OEM license.

    MS answered the question about where you get the upgrade from, and it's actually a clever answer. You could purchase a volume Windows upgrade without SA (SA isn't needed for re-imaging), which is $187 in Open License. However, since these are new machines, you have the 90-day window to work with, and you can simply add SA to one of your new PCs. SA alone costs $108 (2 years of SA) so it's about $80 less than the upgrade license. Because SA gives you upgrade rights to Windows 7 (actually, Windows 8 right now, but you can downgrade to Windows 7), you're then entitled to download the volume bits for your "downgrade." You can configure the image to use KMS activation

    The VAR is right that you need 25 activation requests to get KMS activation going, but you don't need to purchase 25 SA licenses ($2,700). You do need to get a KMS key, but that doesn't cost anything, and you should be able to download it from the VLSC. Since all of your 30 new PCs will be reimaged with volume software that is configured to look for a KMS server, once the 25th machine starts up and looks for a key, you'll hit the threshhold. So your total cost for all of this will be about $108. 

    I'm assuming you already have an Open License agreement in place, but if you don't, you need to buy five licenses of any kind to start an Open agreement. So you could buy your one SA and 4 Windows DVD packs for Vista (cheapest thing on the Open Price list, at $6 each). More useful purchases might be 4 Windows CALs (about $30 each). 

    Paul DeGroot | Principal Consultant | Pica Communications | "Solving the Microsoft Licensing Puzzle"
    sábado, 29 de septiembre de 2012 0:13
  • Hi,

    Paul's response aligns with mine, in that your VAR seems to have confused the "technical" aspects of KMS/VL, with the "commercial/usage" aspects of VL.
    This is where a lot of IT people come unstuck, and MS don't help one bit with providing clarity.
    Most times, I find people just want to get it right, without over-licensing, and, mostly want to avoid the penalties that may arise from under-licensing.
    MS don't make it easy to understand, and resellers of varying competence abound.
    From memory the wording goes like this: "re-imaging rights require a VL agreement".
    That doesn't explicitly state that you must buy certain stuff under that agreement, but I think it's assumed/implied.

    From a technical perspective, if you are going to have around 25-30 clients, KMS may not be the best choice.
    If a KMShost server drops below the "minimum" threshold for that product (5 for WindowsServer products and Office products, 25 for WindowsClient products), the KMShost server ceases issuing (re)activations.
    This can be a knife-edge for small organisations, where laptops may be offline or out of the office, or isolated in other ways.

    If you think this may be an issue, you can use MAK activation instead, and you get both types (KMS and also MAK) of pkeys when you buy.

    I have many thousands of client machines, so dropping below threshold is not likely to affect me anytime soon ;)
    As a large organisation we have SA on all those for both WindowsClient and Office, so I don't have to overthink it myself.


    Don
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    sábado, 29 de septiembre de 2012 3:02