|Windows Server 2008 R2 Downgrade Licensing Rights|
Windows Server Downgrade
General Downgrade Options and Rights
Downgrade rights are granted in the license terms for most editions of Windows Server (Web, Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter). Downgrade rights allow customers to run an instance of any previous version or lower edition of Windows Server (also referred to as a downgrade or downgrade instance) in place of the instance of Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 that they are licensed to use. When exercising downgrade rights, the use rights of the Windows Server version and edition that the customer has licensed apply to the down level or down-edition product that the customer is running. If the earlier version includes different components, any license terms for those components in the license terms that come with the earlier version apply to the customer’s use of them. At any time, a customer may replace an earlier version with the newer licensed version of the software. Additional information on obtaining earlier versions of Windows Server is contained in this document and more information on support for earlier versions of Windows Server can be found at http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle.
Microsoft provides product downgrade rights to customers because in many channels, only the latest version of a product can be acquired. By providing customers with downgrade rights, customers are able to acquire the right to use the latest version of a product while still deploying an earlier version of that product.
Windows Server 2008 R2 Downgrade Licensing Rights
The following table shows the available downgrade options for each edition of Windows Server 2008 R2 the customer is licensed to use. If a customer already has media and product activation keys for the earlier version of the product for which the customer already has downgrade rights, the customer can use that media and keys to downgrade to an earlier version. If the customer does not have media and keys, please see below on how to obtain a fulfillment kit only and which versions and editions are available for order.
*These editions are only available for OEM and VL customers.
Note: Downgrade kits are not available for Foundation editions.
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Customers
Customers who obtained their Windows Server license from a server manufacturer or installer (OEM) have the same rights to run a prior version or lower edition of Windows Server as Volume License and Retail customers: Customers may run an instance of an earlier version of Windows Server in place of Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008. However, the server manufacturer or installer are not obligated to supply and may not support earlier versions of the software. In addition, for some products, the OEM may not have any additional rights to supply the downgrade media.
OEM customers will need media and a product key to run a previous version. There are several options to obtain them.
Microsoft Volume License Customers
When a Volume License customer desires to downgrade their version of Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008, they will need to use the product key from the prior version to activate. With a Windows Server 2008 R2 license, Microsoft Volume License customers will receive product keys for:
Keys will be available through the appropriate customer portal:
In the process of downgrading, if Volume License customers have a product key that was already activated, the product activation centers will provide an activation override but customers will need their original product key when contacting them. Contact the Activation Call Centers - http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/resources/vol/numbers.mspx.
Special Note Regarding Product Keys for Windows Server 2003 Web
Note: As an exception to the above policy Microsoft Volume License customers who license Windows Web Server 2008 will NOT automatically receive product keys for Windows Server 2003 Web Edition. Those customers should contact the activation call center to request a product key for Windows Server 2003 Standard or Enterprise Edition.
Obtaining Keys for Versions Prior to Windows Server 2003 R2
Volume License customers who need to obtain a product key for versions prior to Windows Server 2003 R2 will need to contact the Activation Call Center to make the request. The customer will need to contact the activation call center to get an override if they have already activated the product key they received with the earlier version. The customer may also use Windows Server product keys that were previously assigned (but not activated). If such customer has renewed their Volume Licensing Agreement, they may very well already have the appropriate product key.
Obtaining Media for Previous Versions
Microsoft Volume License Customers can obtain media for some previous versions of Windows Server, specifically for Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows Server 2003 from their VAR/LAR or via the appropriate customer portal (note that there will be a media cost associated with these orders):