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Education Operating System Licensing Q&A

Please Note:  This Q&A is provided solely for informational purposes.  Your use of Microsoft Software Products is governed by the terms and conditions of your licensing agreement.

For more information on licensing please visit http://www.microsoft.com/licensing or http://www.microsoft.com/education/HowToBuy.mspx

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a software license?

ANSWER. A software license gives a person (or an institution) the right to use a software product in a particular way.   The terms of the license agreement describe the permitted uses of the software.  Copyright law also limits how a person may use the software.  A person needs a license for each software program he or she installs on a computer.


How does copyright law apply to software licensing?

ANSWER. According to the U.S. Copyright Act, it is illegal to make or distribute copyrighted material (which includes computer programs) without specific authorization from the copyright owner. The unauthorized duplication of software constitutes copyright infringement, regardless of whether it is done for sale, for free distribution, or for the copier's own use.


What is an OEM license?

ANSWER.  An “OEM” license is a license distributed by an Original Equipment Manufacturer, or an “OEM.”  An OEM is a person or company who builds and sells computers.  Some OEMs also distribute software, especially operating systems such as Microsoft® Windows.


When a school or institution enters into a Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement (Campus Agreement, School Agreement, Academic Open, Academic Select), does that mean it is licensed for a full Microsoft® operating system (OS), such as Windows?

ANSWER: No. Microsoft Volume Licensing only licenses a school or institution for an upgrade for Windows, and sometimes for a downgrade to an earlier version of Windows. There are only three ways for an education institution to obtain a full operating system:

Acquire the Full-Packaged Product from a retail store.

Acquire a new PC with an OEM version of the operating system preinstalled.

Acquire an OEM license with additional hardware from your system builder.


What underlying full operating system license qualifies for Windows operating system upgrade licenses offered through Microsoft Academic Volume Licensing programs?

ANSWER. For upgrade eligibility for licenses acquired through Academic Open or Academic Select, refer to the current Microsoft Product List available at http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/resources/default.asp#prodlist.

In order to qualify for the Windows OS Upgrades offered through Campus Agreement or School Agreement, you or your users must have a valid license for a Microsoft Windows operating system on each PC on which the software is run.


What is the difference between OEM product and Full-Packaged Product (FPP)?

ANSWER.  OEM products are intended to be preinstalled on hardware before the end user purchases the product.  They are “shrink wrapped” and do not come in a box like the retail products do.  Full-Packaged Product (FPP) is boxed with CD(s), manuals, and the

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