Microsoft licensing guide

The rules of Microsoft licensing are sometimes confusing -- even to the most seasoned IT pro. There are numerous complex rules, so it's hard to know what's right and what's prohibited. This guide will help you figure out just that. We cover everything from software licensing to virtual desktops to Microsoft Office.

Table of contents:

The basics of licensing

Are you just getting started with licensing? This section can help any IT staffer get up to speed.

It's not too soon to think about Windows 8 licensing
Microsoft licensing is getting even more convoluted with the future release of Windows 8. Our expert explains why it's a good idea to start thinking about licensing Windows 8 now.

The facts about Windows 7 licensing
Windows 7 licensing can be complicated, partly because the operating system has multiple predecessors and editions. Get control with these helpful tools and avoid common problems.

The truth about Microsoft licensing for portable devices
Microsoft's rules for portable devices are different from those for desktops and include a catch-22 in its licensing policy.

Who should know about Microsoft licensing? And why should you care?
Microsoft software licensing is complicated, but our licensing expert breaks it down and gives the basics of what you need to know. In the first part of this two-part tip, topics such as budgeting and volume purchasing are discussed.

Why you should take notice of Microsoft’s licensing rules
In the second part of our expert’s tip, you can learn to tame the process of Microsoft licensing. He explains areas of licensing rules ranging from procurement to asset management.

How much should employees know about Microsoft software licensing?
Here are some guidelines for what Microsoft licensing information that employees -- from line-of-business managers to systems administrators -- should be familiar with.

Enterprise Agreement renewal: Is it worth the cost?
Instead of renewing your EA, perhaps considering coverage on Client Access Licenses would be a better use of expenses. However, there are some setbacks to not renewing Microsoft Windows and Office, so all angles have to be taken into account.

Improving software licensing management with application metering
Software providers can augment their relationships with customers by using metering to save money on unneeded licensing. Find out how to cut costs through End-User License Agreements and Client Access Licenses.

Microsoft licensing enhancements aid service-model approach
In this interview, Andrew Wolfe, Microsoft's senior product manager of worldwide licensing and pricing, explains what the company's changes mean for enterprises and why Microsoft's licensing rules are so difficult to understand.

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Licensing virtual desktops

The following tips focus on the nitty-gritty of virtual desktops, including costs and Software Assurance.

Mastering the dark art of Windows virtual desktop licensing
Finding a reasonably priced way to license Windows virtual desktops can be difficult. Here are some guidelines on how to go about virtualization without overspending. Our licensing expert discusses Software Assurance, Microsoft’s Virtual Desktop Access and Open License, as well as how to license virtual desktops for free.

Microsoft virtual desktop licensing guide
Microsoft licensing is convoluted, particularly for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Learn how to reduce licensing costs, and find out what you can and can't legally virtualize. Categories within this guide include licensing virtual desktops, licensing Microsoft applications and Microsoft licensing news.

Options for licensing Windows in virtual scenarios
Confused by Microsoft's virtual desktop licensing? Our expert describes options you may not know about -- including Windows XP Mode and Remote Desktop Services -- and explains how to bypass Software Assurance's stringent requirements.

Microsoft virtual desktop licensing costs still hinder virtual desktop adoption
The expense of Microsoft licenses for desktop virtualization has deterred many organizations from adoption. We’ll take you through two scenarios: buying Windows 7 off the shelves and just adding Software Assurance to your operating system licenses. Find out how they both turn out and why Microsoft is keeping desktop management and Windows upgrade costs high.

Using P2V Migration for Software Assurance for Windows 7 upgrades
P2V Migration for Software Assurance automates the Windows 7 migration process and preserves XP applications and data, yet its limitations may be a deal breaker.

Microsoft's stripped-down Windows 7, WinTPC, stripped of value
Microsoft's Windows Thin PC will give customers a stripped-down version of Windows 7 to run on legacy hardware -- as long as they have Software Assurance. But is it worth it?

Microsoft licensing and virtualization: Taxation needn't be taxing
Once you understand Microsoft's licensing policies, the so-called "Microsoft tax" disappears, and the company's "virtualization discount" becomes available.

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Licensing Microsoft products

Find out about licensing rules for multiple Microsoft products, including Internet Explorer and Intune.

Tablet licensing gotchas with Microsoft Office
As tablets make their way into the enterprise, it might be time to brush up on licensing rules for mobilizing Microsoft Office. We also provide some solutions for reducing costs.

Licensing options for accessing Office remotely
There are plenty of choices for licensing virtual applications, but you need to understand which ones to use and when to take full advantage of them. Find out if Client Access Licenses, Office Web Apps, Work at Home licenses or Software Assurance is right for you.

How Office 365 is changing the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement
See how the release of Office 365 will bring many changes to Microsoft's premiere volume-licensing agreement, including a more diverse selection of applications and a subscription option for the Office suite.

Obey Microsoft licensing rules and run IE6 on Windows 7
It's still illegal to use application virtualization to run Internet Explorer 6 apps on Windows 7, but there is software available that skirts Microsoft's rules and runs IE6 apps in IE8 browsers.

Assessing Microsoft's cloud-based Intune for Windows management
Microsoft Intune, the company's cloud-based application management tool, has many good features, but is it better than on-premise or third-party tools? Here is a step-by-step account of accessing Intune.

Analyzing the Windows Intune value proposition
Windows Intune is touted for its promising feature set and price. However, a closer look at the cloud-based antivirus product could make admins think twice about investing in it.

Microsoft formalizes cloud computing enterprise licensing
Microsoft is trying to catch up to cloud computing with its licensing. Buy Software Assurance and get "license mobility" for your volume licenses. The vendor has also updated its Service Provider License Agreements. Microsoft said the licenses will provide "confidence" when contemplating using cloud services. Customers call it playing catch-up.

Microsoft licensing changes with standalone Windows Enterprise upgrade
Microsoft launched a standalone Windows Enterprise upgrade SKU, but is it a true value or simply a way to lure IT pros to Windows 8?

Microsoft updates Windows 8 licensing requirements
Windows 8 licensing poses new challenges for IT admins, who need to know how it will affect costs, desktop virtualization and remote access.

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