SUMMARY: What is reimaging and what role does licensing play? Reimaging is the copying of software onto multiple devices from one or more standardized images. Understanding the licensing guidelines related to reimaging is important to maintain software compliance within your organization. In this Licensing How To post, we cover our top 5 questions related to reimaging.
The Licensing How To series posts are provided by our Customer Service Presales and Licensing team members. These scenario based licensing topics are written on trending topics and issues based on their interactions with customers, Partners, and field sellers. For more posts from the Licensing How To series, search the “Licensing How To” tag on this blog.
When writing our “Licensing How To” series we tend to stick to subjects that are frequently asked and are not already covered in another resource. While the Reimaging Rights brief is the definitive resource, we thought we would share the top five questions we get on this important Volume Licensing benefit. We would encourage anyone reading this post to read the content covered in the brief, as this information is supplemental to the brief.
What is reimaging? At a high level, if you have a Volume License (VL) agreement you are permitted to create an image using your VL media and key and then deploy the image on your devices that are licensed for the identical product that is purchased via an OEM, Retail, or other Microsoft Agreement aside from VL. Identical product means the license acquired via OEM, Retail, or other Microsoft Agreement is for the same version and edition, contains the same components, and is the same language as the product(s) contained on the image. For example, Windows 8.1 Professional licensed via a VL program, is identical to Windows 8.1 Professional licensed via the OEM channel and you would be able to reimage the OEM licensed devices with the VL media and key. However, because Office Professional Plus 2013 licensed via a VL program is different from Office Professional 2013 licensed via the Retail or OEM channels and you would not be allowed to reimage. The ultimate resource for the Reimaging Rights is the brief. In addition to the information you will find there, we thought we would share the list of the “Top 5” questions the Customer Service Presales and Licensing team are asked along with our corresponding answers.
Top Five Reimaging Questions
1 – Do I need Software Assurance coverage to reimage?
No. You do not need Software Assurance coverage to have reimaging rights. You simply need to be a Volume License (VL) customer and have the appropriate VL media and keys that match the version, edition, and language for the underlying OEM or Retail license assigned to the device you are installing the image on. Please note that if you obtained rights to Windows Enterprise, you’ll need rights to Enterprise on any devices you are reimaging with Windows Enterprise as well.
2 – May I use reimaging and downgrade rights together to deploy a prior version of the edition licensed?
Yes. If the underlying OEM or Retail license you are reimaging offers downgrade or prior version rights, you are a Volume License (VL) customer, and have the appropriate VL media and keys available that match the edition and language for the underlying license, you are permitted to reimage a prior version. For more information on your downgrade rights, see the license terms applicable to your product, or see the Downgrade Rights Licensing Brief. For more information about access to prior product versions, please see the fulfillment website.
3 – May I use reimaging and down edition rights together to deploy a lower version of the version licensed?
Yes. If the underlying OEM or Retail license you are reimaging offers down or lower edition rights, you are a Volume License (VL) customer, and have the appropriate VL media and keys available that match the down edition and language for the underlying license, you are permitted to reimage to a down edition. For more information on down edition rights, see the license terms applicable to your product. For example, Windows Server 2012 R2 (Standard or Datacenter) purchased via the OEM or Retail channels allow you to install a prior edition of Standard, Enterprise, Essentials, Web, or HPC editions in place of 2012 R2 on any of your OSE’s. If desired, and you have access to the media and keys to do so, you may deploy these instances using an image created under your reimaging rights. Please note that not all products provide down edition rights. For example, Office Professional Plus does not provide the rights to install and use Office Standard. Please refer to the license terms applicable to your product for your rights.
4 – I am an Open License customer, how do I get media and keys to reimage?
Open License customers have the same rights as any other Volume License (VL) customer when it comes to reimaging rights. However, Open License Agreements only provide access to volume license media and keys for software you have licensed under your agreement. For example, if you want to reimage a group of newly purchased Windows 8.1 Professional devices, you’ll need to purchase at least one Windows 8.1 Professional Upgrade license under your Open License Agreement in order to obtain access to media and keys for Windows. Most other volume license agreements (e.g. Enterprise and Select Plus) provide customers with access to all available media and keys.
5 – May I reimage using OEM media and keys?
You may use OEM media (including custom OEM images) to reimage devices, but only those that were originally imaged with such media. Additional information can be found here.
This is one scenario and licensing situation. Each customer scenario can vary by deployment, usage, product version, and product use rights. Always check your contract, and the current Products Use Rights document to confirm how your environment should be fully licensed. The blogging team does not warrant that this scenario will be the right licensing solution for other similar cases.