What is a TechNet+ Subscription?

I get asked this question all the time and there are a lot of misconceptions about what exactly is included with a TechNet+ Subscription and how it can be used.  So let’s clear this up!  I copied the following from the TechNet+ Subscription page but I’ll try and go a little deeper in explaining things.

Subscribe to TechNet Plus and receive:

  • Full-version software for evaluation - without time limits – including Microsoft operating systems, servers, and Office System software. This is software that is “ licensed for evaluation purposes only—not for use in production environments” which basically means you can use it in your home, your test lab, you learning environment etc…  I took a peak in my subscription and saw Windows 2000, 2003, 2008, XP, Vista, Office 2003, 2007 and so much more.


  • Pre-release versions of Microsoft operating systems, servers and business applications.  These are beta and/or release candidate versions that carry the same limitation as the full versions, i.e. no production use.  Right now this includes Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, Exchange 2010 and more.  While a lot of this is available publicly TechNet+ subscribers usually get access a few days before everyone else, plus you download from private servers meaning faster speeds!


  • Complete access to a technical information library including knowledge base articles, resource kits, technical training, and security updates.  The technical library is quite a vast set of information and it is hard to sum it up.  A lot of it is also public but some of the pay for materials, like e-Learning courses are offered free.  Every quarter there is a selection of these online courses that you can take for free via your subscription.


  • Two (2) technical support calls and a 20% discount on additional phone support incidents to help you quickly resolve mission-critical technical issues.  I believe this is the most overlooked part of the subscription.  It is 4PM on a Friday and something is not working.  Do you A) spend hours trying to figure it out and fix it yourself in the process ruining your weekend? B) fork over $249USD to Microsoft technical support to get assistance?  Now what would your answer be if instead of $249USD it was free?  I once used one of these in an Exchange DR scenario to save my weekend!


  • Unlimited managed newsgroup support and online concierge chat to provide the extra assistance you need to be successful.  This is also overlooked and a great way to get some help with those non-critical issues that we all deal with.  Unlike most newsgroups these are private, managed groups that are monitored by the product teams and technical support.  In fact when tech support workers are not on the phone, they are answering questions in these forums.


  • A free subscription to TechNet Magazine with hands-on information for the IT Professional.  This is the same magazine that is available in an online format but we all know it looks odd when you take your notebook into the bathroom 🙂

So now that you know what a TechNet+ Subscription includes and what you can do with it doesn’t it make it more appealing?  No I am not asking you to buy one, I mean you can if you want, but remember we are including a 12 month subscription with your TechDays Learning Kit among other things.  So you can pay $349USD now or pay $299CDN for your TechDays pass and get some great training as well as a boat load of other goodies!

Comments (16)

  1. Sean Kearney says:

    And I can tell you for a fact that the FIRST time you go into your "Technet Downloads" and see all the goodies you get to download (Did you know you can DONWLOAD Server 2008 Datacenter Edition even?) Your eyeballs with pop out and you’ll just stare in amazement.

    And then of course your hard drive will just fill up with all those ISO’s.  

    Bonus too.   When Windows 7 is available or Server 2008 R2 is available, you can download THAT too 🙂

  2. Dave Hildebrand says:

    "Two (2) technical support calls and a 20% discount…"

    I recently had a issue with my CA handing out certs and had to place a call with MS support.  Since I am a technet subscriber I thought I could use one of my 2 free calls.  While going through the ticket process it read, to me, like these support calls were for non-production systems.  Did I read this wrong?

  3. Rodney Buike says:

    Hi Dave,

    I checked it out and it says nothing about the technical support calls being limited to non-production systems 🙂

    "As a TechNet Plus or TechNet Direct subscriber, you are entitled to receive two (2) complimentary incidents and a 20 percent discount on any additional phone incidents you purchase.* These support incidents can be used to resolve technical break-fix issues and are the equivalent of paid Professional Support incidents."


  4. Ed says:

    Question. Techdays 2008 included a 6 month subscription to Technet Plus [I’ll assume the download version and not the one that ships the media]. But you mentioned it’s a year. Is there a goof somewhere or it’s been bumped to a year?

    See http://blogs.technet.com/canitpro/archive/2008/10/30/had-your-techie-crunch-today.aspx

  5. Rodney Buike says:

    Hi Ed,

    The 2009 version of TechDays will include a full 12 month subscription!


  6. francois jean says:

    Hi Dave,

    I’m not and technet + subscripter but I have a an MSDN subscription, and with that that non-production restriction.

    Technical Support Incidents

    As an MSDN Subscriber, you are entitled to receive up to four support incidents depending on your subscription level. These support incidents can be used for assistance with technical break-fix issues you encounter in a non-production environment.

  7. Rick says:

    I went to the Tech Days registration site and it says nothing about including a 12 month TechNet Plus subscription…please confirm.

  8. M Chan says:

    If you already have an existing Technet subscription, and also pay for Techdays, do you get a free one-year extension to your existing Technet subscription?

  9. Uran Shushka says:

    What if I already have a technet subscription, would Techday’s subscription add 12 months to my existing one?

  10. Rodney Buike says:

    A load of questions and comments posted today so let me address them all with one reply!

    Francois Jean & Dave – There is a difference between the TechNet and MSDN subscriptions as to what software you are entitled too, usage and support availability.  MSDN has a few different levels but with TechNet there is one option and no restriction.  As stated on the TechNet website

    "As a TechNet Plus or TechNet Direct subscriber, you are entitled to receive two (2) complimentary incidents and a 20 percent discount on any additional phone incidents you purchase.* These support incidents can be used to resolve technical break-fix issues and are the equivalent of paid Professional Support incidents."

    Rick – I can confirm 100% that TechDays 2009 will include a 12 month TechNet Plus Direct subscription.

    M Chan & Uran – The TechNet subscription provided with TechDays is not an extension to current subscriptions.  There is a possibility if you still have a subscription that you would end up with two.  That would double your support incidents from 2 to 4, double the e-learning credits you receive and get you an extra magazine to share with colleagues.

    Feel free to continue posting questions here, I will continue to answer them!


  11. Sean Kearney says:

    Ah! I have a question.  If you would like to pay Microsoft the extra coinage to change your Technet Plus to the "Technet Single" subscription (which gives you the same but they ship those DVD’s straight to your door!)

    It’s $599 U.S. but can you upgrade your Technet Direct Plus to a full Technet Single by paying the extra bit?


    the energized Tech

  12. Rodney Buike says:

    Great question Sean.  I did some digging and it maybe possible to call the subscription center and upgrade.  I’d suggest buying an external USB hard drive and just downloading to that, all those DVDs are bad for the environment when they are out of date 🙂


  13. Gilles says:

    Hi Rodney

    I purchased the techdays 2009 and received confirmation by email.

    Will I receive another confirmation about the technet Direct + registration ?



  14. Manish says:

    i just signed up and hope i get 1 months subscription. As noted by Rick above, i too couldn’t find any info on TechDays regarding 12 months free sub.

  15. Rodney Buike says:

    More questions, more answers 🙂

    Gilles, you will get an email within 10 business days of the end of your TechDays event with your subscription info.  There will also be information inside your TechDays Survival Kit that will be handed to you when you arrive.

    Manish, it is a 12 month subscription, nothing posted on the TechDays site yet but I can confirm it 🙂

    Rodney Buike

  16. Ramana says:

    Hi All,

    I am using Technet resources for last 6 months (from Techdays 2008 kit).

    Even though not advertized on techdays website, I believed Rodney’s words and registered for techdays  2009 (Vancouver).

    Let us wait for Techdays survival Kit…


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