Reimaging Rights_November 2020
Reimaging rights – Benefits
Customers licensing software through Microsoft Commercial Licensing programs benefit from the right to use
Commercial Licensing media to deploy the same standard image of software across multiple licensed devices. It
does not matter whether those devices are licensed under that particular Commercial Licensing program, through
an OEM, or through retail channels, so long as certain eligibility rules are followed. Using standard images can help
with the following:
• More agile software deployment
• Reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) through easier deployment
• Standardized software across devices and streamlined product activation
Reimaging rights, if applicable, are granted in a customer’s Commercial Licensing agreement. Reimaging is permitted only if the products licensed under an eligible Commercial Licensing program (and fulfilled with Commercial Licensing media) are identical to the licensed product the customer wishes to reimage. Commercial Licensing customers who have licensed the same Microsoft software products from an OEM, through a retail source, or under an agreement other than an eligible Microsoft Commercial Licensing agreement can exercise their reimaging rights under those separately sourced licenses using copies made from Microsoft Commercial Licensing media. This means the products licensed through the two sources are the same product, version, and edition, contain the same components, and are in the same language. Rights to reimage a device using a different version or edition of software than what was originally licensed may be granted in some programs via downgrade rights and/or license migration rights. Rights to image a device with different versions/editions of software can be found in the Product Terms. Any exceptions to these requirements are addressed in the product entries in the Product Terms site.
The following are examples that do not meet the eligibility criteria for reimaging:
• Different products: Windows Server Standard and Windows Server Essentials are different editions of the product and cannot be reimaged. This also applies to the Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise operating systems and Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise and Office Professional Plus.
• Different components: The Microsoft Office system suites must have the same component products. For instance, Microsoft Office Standard licensed through the OEM, system builder, or FPP channel and Microsoft Office Professional Plus licensed through Microsoft Commercial Licensing are not the same product. They also do not share the same components. Therefore, you cannot reimage in this example.
• Different languages: English and Multilingual User Interface (MUI) Packs are not the same language. Also, different languages such as English and French do not meet the criteria. Therefore, you cannot reimage in these examples.
• Different versions: Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 are not the same version, just as the Windows 8.1 Professional and Windows 10 Enterprise operating systems are not the same version or edition. Therefore, you cannot reimage among these examples. (See Windows Desktop Operating System section below.)
Commercial Licensing: Reimaging in Open License and Open Value Programs
You must purchase at least one license of the Microsoft software that you want to reimage under your Open
License authorization number or Microsoft Open Value or Microsoft Open Value Subscription Agreement number.
This purchase is required to obtain the media and necessary Volume Licensing Keys (VLK[s]). You may use this
media to reimage as many devices as you have licenses for, subject to the reimaging eligibility requirements
Reimaging of the Windows Desktop Operating System
Microsoft Commercial Licensing programs do not offer licenses for the full version of the Windows desktop operating system. However, the media for the full version is available to customers who license Windows via a Windows Upgrade license in any Commercial Licensing program. Reimaging by using Commercial Licensing full-version media requires that customers have licensed a Qualifying Windows desktop operating system either preinstalled through an OEM or System Builder, as an FPP retail product, or through other Microsoft programs.
Commercial Licensing customers can use their Commercial Licensing full version media to reimage their Windows desktop operating system from an OEM only if it is the same product and version that came with the PC. Rights to
reimage by using a different version or edition may be granted in the EULA that came with your OEM version of Windows, your Commercial Licensing agreement, or in some Commercial Licensing programs specified in the Product Terms site.
The following table summarizes differences between OEM, FPP, and Commercial Licensing Windows Operating
The following clarifies reimaging rights for the Windows Desktop operating system:
• Using Commercial Licensing Media to Reimage. Commercial Licensing Windows Desktop operating system media may be used to reimage devices if all devices being reimaged are licensed for the edition and version of Windows being reimaged onto them. (Note: Each device being reimaged does not need to be licensed under Commercial Licensing if they are properly licensed for the edition and version being reimaged onto them.)
o Downgrade Rights: Using Commercial Licensing Media to Reimage a Device with an OEM License. OEM devices imaged with a Pro version of the Windows Desktop Operating System sometimes include limited downgrade rights. For example, customers purchasing a PC from an OEM with Windows 10 Pro have the right to downgrade to Windows 7 Professional. If a Commercial Licensing customer wants to take advantage of these downgrade rights they may do so and use Commercial Licensing media. In this example, Commercial Licensing Windows 7 Professional bits may be used to reimage any of the customer’s devices licensed for Windows 7 Professional (either with an OEM Windows 7
Professional license or via OEM downgrade rights granted in the Windows 10 Pro OEM EULAs).
o Downgrade Rights: Using Commercial Licensing Media to Reimage a Device with a Commercial Licensing License. Devices assigned a Commercial Licensing Windows Pro or Enterprise Upgrade license have full downgrade rights. If a Commercial Licensing customer wants to take advantage of these downgrade rights, they may do so and use Commercial Licensing media. A chart depicting downgrade rights for the Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows is available in the Windows 10 Commercial Licensing Guide.
• Using OEMs or Other Third Parties to Reimage Devices with Commercial Licensing Media. Many organizations want to deploy a standard image across multiple devices shipped from different OEMs. OEM media (including custom OEM images) may be used to reimage devices, but only those that were originally imaged with such media. Thus, OEM images cannot be used in the scenario where an organization wishes to deploy a standard image across multiple devices shipped from different OEMs. You may contract with an OEM (or other third parties) to reimage devices with Windows Desktop operating system media licensed and procured through Commercial Licensing on your behalf if the devices are licensed with a Qualifying Operating System. Details are available through the Product Licensing Search (under Document Type, click Windows License Verification). When a customer contracts with an OEM to install Commercial Licensing media on the its behalf, the devices procured from the OEM still have underlying OEM licenses and should come with OEM recovery media (even though the customer never had possession of the devices with the
original OEM media installed on them). The customer is free to contract with multiple OEMs and/or third parties to leverage Commercial Licensing reimaging rights in this manner. The customer is thus able to create a standard Windows Desktop operating system image that can be deployed across multiple device types.
Note: Any Microsoft software contained in the product pool media received under your Commercial Licensing agreement and licensed through sources outside Commercial Licensing is covered by these reimaging rights subject
to the eligibility requirements.
Reimaging is the copying of software onto multiple devices from one standard image. Organizations that want to recover their systems by using OEM media or OEM custom images may only do so as follows: OEM media may be used to individually recover an image to a device using recovery media provided by the OEM. The OEM recovery media (1) should match the product version that was originally preinstalled on the system, (2) may only be used to image devices that came with it, and (3) may not be modified prior to recovering an image to a device.
• Using OEM Media to Reimage: You may use OEM media (including custom OEM images) to reimage devices, but only those devices that were originally imaged with such media.
• Downgrading and Reimaging: The EULA that came with your OEM version of Windows may include the right to use prior version of the software. For example, instead of using the Windows 10 Pro software, you may use Windows 8.1 Pro. If the earlier version includes different components, any terms for those
components in the agreement that come with the earlier version apply to your use of such components.
Neither the manufacturer or installer, nor Microsoft, is obligated to supply earlier versions to you. You must obtain the earlier version separately. Note: The right to use a prior version of the software must be in accordance with all other reimaging terms.
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