Downgrade Rights for Microsoft Commercial Licensing,OEM, and full-package product licenses_September 2020
Downgrade rights by product pool for licenses acquired through Commercial Licensing, OEM, and FPP
Frequently asked questions
Q1: Where can I confirm my specific downgrade rights and eligible versions to downgrade for my organization’s Commercial Licensing agreement?
A: Downgrade rights (rights to use any prior version) are granted as part of all the Commercial Licensing
agreements. Please refer to the Microsoft Product Terms site for specific downgrade paths for your products.
Q2: How do I get prior versions of products when I need to downgrade to a prior version of a Microsoft product my organization licenses through Commercial Licensing?
A: While you have the right to downgrade products, in general, the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service
Center (VLSC) provides download access only to the current (N) and the prior version (N-1) of products. Note:
In addition to the VLSC download software access, all Commercial Licensing customers may choose to purchase physical media (CD/DVD) copies of their licensed software through their Microsoft reseller.
If you have legally obtained physical media (CD/DVD) of earlier Microsoft products that your organization is currently licensed to use through downgrade rights, you may use these prior software versions at your discretion. For more information about access to prior product versions, please see the fulfillment information.
Q1: Where can I find the specific downgrade rights for my Windows licensed product?
A: Your ability to downgrade to a prior version of Windows is stated in the License Terms for these products.
You may use the following media for your downgrade version: Commercial Licensing media (provided the
user has a Commercial Licensing agreement), retail (FPP), or OEM (which includes a system builder hologram CD, provided the software is acquired in accordance with the Microsoft OEM System Builder License). Use of the downgraded operating system is governed by the License Terms for the original product preinstalled on the PC. You may not use both the licensed Windows product and the downgrade product; only one Windows product may be used at a time.
Q2: What are the downgrade rights for Windows?
A: For Windows 10 Pro licenses acquired though an OEM, you may downgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro. For
Windows 10 licenses acquired though Commercial Licensing, you may downgrade to any prior version of the licensed Windows edition. Refer to the table below for more specific product downgrade rights.
Q3: Because the multilingual user interface (MUI) is included with Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 8 Pro, may I use downgrade rights to run MUI on a Windows 7 PC not covered by Software Assurance?
A: No. MUI is only available for Windows 7 in the Windows 7 Enterprise edition, which requires Software Assurance.
Q4: If a user is licensed with Windows Software Assurance per User, do Windows downgrade rights extend to all of the licensed user’s devices?
A: Yes. With Windows Software Assurance per User licensing, all of the user’s devices receive the same downgrade rights as they would if they were covered by Windows Software Assurance per Device.
Q1: What products may I downgrade to if I have Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2019?
A: Downgrade rights in Commercial Licensing programs give you the right to downgrade to any prior version of the same product. Therefore, you may downgrade Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2019 to any prior versions of Office Professional Plus. You may not, however, downgrade to a prior version of Microsoft Office Standard Edition because it is a different product and not considered a prior version of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2019.
In addition, Office Professional Plus 2019 users may not use earlier versions of any application included in a prior version license that is not included in license the user owns.
Q2: May I downgrade my Office Professional Plus 2019 license to Office Standard 2019 or Office Standard 2016 through my Commercial Licensing agreement?
A: No. Downgrade rights grant the user the right to use prior versions of Microsoft software, not other editions of the software released simultaneously unless explicitly stated in the Product Terms (for example, Windows Server 2019 Datacenter to Standard, Microsoft SQL Server 2019 Enterprise to Standard software).
Skype for Business and SharePoint
Q1: If I purchase Skype for Business Server 2019 Client Access Licenses (CALs), which Microsoft Lync Server 2013 CAL may I downgrade to?
A: Downgrade rights grant the user with the right to use prior versions of Microsoft software, not other editions of the software released simultaneously, unless explicitly stated in the Product Terms. Lync Server was renamed Skype for Business Server. Therefore, you may downgrade Skype for Business Server 2019 Standard, Enterprise and Plus CALs to prior versions of Skype for Business Server or Lync Server Standard, Enterprise and Plus CALs, respectively.
Q2: Are there any exceptions for SharePoint Server 2019?
A: Yes. Customers licensed for SharePoint Server 2019 may access and use any of the products listed in the table below in place SharePoint Server 2019 as follows:
A customer’s right to access and use copies of SharePoint Server 2016/2013/2010 or FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Server in place of licensed copies of SharePoint Server 2019 under this offer is subject to the terms and conditions of a customer’s Commercial Licensing agreement, the product use rights for SharePoint Server 2019, and these terms. That right expires upon the expiration or termination of the SharePoint Server licenses.
Q1: What are the downgrade rights for the three main editions of Windows Server 2019?
A: The Windows Server 2019 product is streamlined and simple, making it easy for customers to choose the edition that is right for their needs. Although Windows Server 2012 R2 is a prior version of the Windows Server 2019 software, Windows Server processor-based licenses are not prior versions of the Windows Server 2019 core licenses. Windows Server 2012 R2 was the last version of the software to be licensed by processor.
As an exception to the standard downgrade rights applicable to Commercial Licensing products, customers are permitted to downgrade to and use earlier versions and editions of the Windows Server software in place of licensed copies of Windows Server 2019. When invoking downgrade rights or down edition rights, the license terms of the version and edition acquired still govern use of the software.
Q2: Does the transition from processor-based to core-based Windows Server licensing have any effect on downgrading to a processor-based licensed prior version of Windows Server?
A: The ability to downgrade does not change the licensing under which a customer can use the software; the rights for purchased software (i.e. Windows Server 2016) apply. This means that core-based licensing and use rights apply to the version the customer downgrades to and that the virtualization rights do not change.
Below are a few examples.
Q3: What version of Client Access License (CAL) or External Connector (EC) do I need for each Windows Server version?
A: CALs and ECs permit access to the same version, or earlier versions, of the server software. Below are a few examples.
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