Hybrid Configuration Wizard and licensing of your on-premises server used for hybrid

A few years ago, we created a web site that would allow our hybrid customers to obtain what’s generally known as the “hybrid key”. This self-service site would validate your O365 tenant and after a few clicks, give you the key to license your on-premises server used for hybrid purposes. This site is no longer available for use, and we’ve come up with a better way for you to get the key.

We are excited to inform you we have added a feature that will allow the Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW) to detect and license your designated on-premises “hybrid server”, without having to go to a separate web site or call our support team. This change is now available. You can access the HCW here.

What does the new experience look like?

When you choose the “Detect the optimal Exchange server” option, HCW will perform the license check on the server and give you a new “license this server now” option, if the server is currently not licensed. Note: HCW will not let you continue from this point on if this server is not licensed, unless you specify an alternate Exchange server to run Hybrid against (second radio button below):


Selecting the “license this server now” link will prompt you for your online administrator credentials. We realize this is an extra credential prompt at this time, but it is needed to validate and obtain the key (the old key distribution site also required authentication).

HCW will then indicate the progress of applying the server license to your on-premises server:


Next up, you will get a confirmation that the server has been licensed. You will also have an option to copy the product key (and the CMDlet needed to use it) if you wish to do so:


At this time, unless you want to complete the setup of Hybrid in the HCW, you can exit / cancel the wizard. Full completion of the HCW workflow is not needed for this process to be executed; your on-premises server will remain licensed, and you can re-run HCW at a later date / time.

Let us know what you think!

Update 7/24/2018: Updated this post to reflect that the feature has now been released.

The Exchange Hybrid Team

Comments (27)
  1. Mike Crowley says:

    Cool – How does the HCW validate the customer is entitled to a license? From what I recall, not all Exchange hybrid customers were entitled to this key.

    1. Georgia Huggins (Microsoft) says:

      HCW will verify your global admin credentials for your tenant are valid and if so, provide the key for you.

      1. Mike Crowley says:

        How would the tenant be aware of my on-premises licensing situation?

  2. So only a server unlicensed at the time running HCW will be licensed as a Coexistence Server. HCW will not change the product key of a server already licensed as Standard or Enterprise?

    How will a customer get a product key to license an Edge Server?

    1. Nino Bilic says:

      What I would suggest is to get a license key and then copy it, and use it on the Edge server. We allow this as per https://products.office.com/en-us/exchange/microsoft-exchange-licensing-faq-email-for-business – see under “If I have deployed multiple Hybrid Edition servers for the purposes of redundancy, can I get multiple Hybrid Edition server keys?”

  3. Daleritf says:

    Let’s say that we have licensed exchange 2016 on prenises server with 100 exchange CALS and we also have 100 O365 business premium licenses, if I migrate all 100 users to O365 does it mean that I freed up 100 on. premises CALs and I can add 100 more users to use my on premises CALs?
    Technically have hybrid environment with 100 on premises and 100 O365.
    Do I have to get on prem Windows CALS for O365 users since we synchronize users from on premises AD to Azure AD?

    1. Mike Crowley says:

      CALS = Client Access Licenses, which have nothing to do with this. The “Hybrid Key” is for activating server installations used for Office 365 on-boarding.

  4. Why put this page up and remove the licensing wizard before the new HCW is available? I’m trying to move an old Exchange 2007 server to the cloud, I finally got an Enterprise Office 365 license in place today and came back to the page I was at in the week only to find you’ve removed it and replaced it with this advert for a future possible improvement to something I think only covers Exchange 2010 upwards. You seem to want to make it harder and harder for on-site customers with ageing server to move to the cloud! Please put the old page back, or a link to it, for those of us who don’t want to sit and wait for another few weeks for you to actually release this and see if it does help.

    1. @Laurie Even the “old” way to fetch a coexistence key would not have provided an Exchange Server 2007 product key (https://www.granikos.eu/en/justcantgetenough/PostId/342/get-your-exchange-server-hybrid-key). Exchange Server 2007 is EOL and is not supported in an hybrid configuration /w Exchange Online (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/exchange-hybrid). In regards to a licensed Exchange 2007 on-premises your option is to install a single Exchange 2013 Server for coexistence. That server will run fine until the new HCW is available and will license the Exchange 2013 server accordingly.

      1. The whole point of the license key wizard page that this article has removed was to gain a free license for a hybrid server for those stuck on Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 to install a hybrid only mode Exchange 2012 or 2016 server and allow the move of accounts across to Office 365. Why would we go out and pay a fortune for a new exchange server license then pay again for Office 365? You seem to be abandoning your older customers with this move – or maybe as your post above shows, whoever replaced the wizard with this page didn’t actually read the source pages like this that show why it was provided in the first place. Either way, removing it with no notice at all before the replacement is ready is incredibly unfair and I hope they manager or director views how they are treating their customers in public with a very dim view.

        Where can I send the bill for my wasted Sunday in the office after this was removed with no way to perform the planned work, no way for your support staff to generate the keys and just a ‘wait until 7th August’ message on the replacement page? Had there been notice I’d have got the key last weekend in preparation, I just didn’t want to start the Office 365 Enterprise subscription until I was ready to use it, and ended up wasting most of the day going back and forth to Microsoft Support who tried their best to support but ended up being unable to help due to the same daft early replacement of the wizard.


        1. Nino Bilic says:

          Hi Laurie – actually, support does not need to run the wizard to get you the key. But it is possible that the engineer you talked to thought they did. :( Please email me at ninobATmicrosoftDOTcom and send me your ticket number and I’ll look into this for you.

  5. testrrrr says:

    What about connecting a Testserver (without a Licence) with a Testtennant. You say the “HCW will not let you continue from this point on if this server is not licensed, …” – so that is not possible anymore?

    1. @testrrrr I believe that you can even license your test server for existence, as long as your tenant utilizes a license plan containing an Exchange Online plan.

    2. Georgia Huggins (Microsoft) says:

      If you choose to not license the optimal server shown, select the second radio button and manually input the same server name. That workflow will allow you to proceed without the server being licensed.

  6. Rods- says:

    I’m in a hybrid environment.
    And now I need to upload Exchange 2013 in another place just install that will already pick up the settings automatically?

    1. Nino Bilic says:

      If adding another hybrid connectivity server for the sake of redundancy (guessing that is what you are doing?) – we allow you to reuse the key on another server as per https://products.office.com/en-us/exchange/microsoft-exchange-licensing-faq-email-for-business

      1. Rods says:

        Nino, today Microsoft Exchange 2013 is in a datacenter, but they will not stay there, so we will only install the 2013 Microsoft Exchange CAS for that new server, just run the Exchange 2013 Wizard and it will pick up the settings automatically and then we have to run hybrid wizard to activate license ok?

  7. Richard Downer says:

    I have a client with a 365 environment, who then added “on-prem” AD environment (in Azure) for access to certain things (Print server, NPS etc)
    So the Exchange online came first, with the sync’d accounts second.
    I’m looking at extending the schema to enable us to hide mailboxes etc..

    Would this allow me to install exchange and license it to manage the sync’d accounts? based on that fact we are using Exchange Online?

  8. Nino Bilic says:

    In case people are subscribed to comments on this post – FYI, the new version of HCW with this functionality is now live, so you can now self-service getting the ‘hybrid key’ again.

    1. @Nino Thanks for the update.

  9. Angel says:

    Can this HCW generate a valid activation key for Exchange Server 2010 SP3 installed with a standard evaluation edition?

  10. I have just completed the migration for SBS2011/Exchange 2010 to O365. However, Microsoft suggests keeping an on-prem exchange environment to manage by. Can I get an updated version of Exchange and use this key to continue to manage mailboxes and attributes by when support for 2010 runs out?

  11. Bret Appleby says:

    It appears that this does not work for Exchange Server 2019, can you confirm that this is the case and when we are likely to see a change to this?

    1. Bret Appleby says:

      Sorry to reply to myself but I just wanted to confirm that manually selecting a server will allow you continue the wizard with Exchange Server 2019 (Public Preview)

      1. Georg T says:

        Does this work with Exchange 2019 Server RTM ? Regarding several blogs the Hybrid Exchange key is not available for Exchange 2019!?

  12. MatthewCTM says:

    Hi there,
    We currently have an Exchange 2010 / Office 365 hybrid setup in production. I would like to upgrade that server to Exchange 2016 so that we can use the EAC via Internet Explorer. This would allow our overseas offices to manage Exchange a lot easier than now. Can you please let me know if I could get this license? I don’t want to waste my time and run up a new server, install Exchange 2016 and run the hybrid config wizard and find I am not allowed to have the Exchange 2016 license. Thanks for your help.

    1. Jordan Nguyen says:

      Curious to know this as well.

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