Reimaging Rights


For as long as I have been answering licensing question, one topic that keeps coming up is reimaging rights, and the do's and don'ts, so I thought I would take some time to explain this.

Reimaging is the copying of software onto multiple devices from one standard image. Reimaging rights are granted to all Microsoft® Volume Licensing customers. Under these rights, customers may reimage original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or full packaged product (FPP) licensed copies using media provided under their Volume Licensing agreement. However, there are certain conditions to using the volume licensing media for reimaging software previously installed either by the OEM or from FPP.


A key benefit to licensing Microsoft software under a Microsoft Volume Licensing program is the use of volume licensing media to deploy the software with the same standard image across multiple licensed devices, whether those devices are licensed under that Volume Licensing program or through OEM or FPP. Use of a standard image leads to:

§ More timely software deployment

§ Reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) through easier deployment

§ Standardization of software on multiple devices and streamlined product activation

Reimaging Eligibility

Reimaging is permitted if the copies made from the volume licensing media are identical to the originally-licensed product[1]. If a Volume Licensing customer has licensed Microsoft software products from an OEM, through a retail source or under any agreement other than its Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement, the customer may use copies made from Microsoft Volume Licensing media in place of any copies made from the media provided through that separate source, so long as they are the same product, contain the same components, are the same language, and are the same version.

Examples that do not meet the eligibility criteria for reimaging are:

Different products: Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 and Microsoft Office Standard 2007 are not the same product. Therefore, you cannot reimage in this example. Additionally the Windows Vista™ Business and Windows Vista Home Premium operating systems are not the same product. Therefore, you cannot reimage in this example.

Different components: Suites such as in the 2007 Microsoft Office system must have exactly the same component products (e.g., Microsoft Office Word 2007, Microsoft Office Outlook® 2007 messaging and collaboration client, etc.). Microsoft Office Professional 2007 licensed through the OEM, system builder, or FPP channel and Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 licensed through Microsoft Volume Licensing are not the same product, nor do they do share the same components. Therefore, you cannot reimage in this example.

Different language: English and Multi-lingual User Interface Packs are not the same language. Therefore, you cannot reimage in this example. Also, different languages such as English and French do not meet the criteria. Therefore, you cannot reimage in this example.

Different version: Microsoft Office 2003 and the 2007 Microsoft Office system are not the same version. Therefore, you cannot reimage in this example. Windows Vista Business and the Windows® XP Professional operating system are not the same version Therefore, you cannot reimage in this example.

While Microsoft Volume Licensing programs do not offer licenses for the full version of the Windows operating system for desktop PCs, the media for both the full versions of the operating system are available under those programs. Reimaging using the full version media requires that customers have licensed the Windows desktop PC operating system either preinstalled through the OEM or as an FPP retail product. A volume licensing customer can use their volume licensing media to reimage their Windows desktop PC operating system from an OEM provided that it is the same version and product as that on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) label that came with the PC. .


§ Any licensed Microsoft software contained in the product pool media received under your Select License, Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise Agreement Subscription, Campus Agreement, or School Agreement and available through sources outside Volume Licensing is covered by these reimaging rights.

§ Any licensed Microsoft software for which at least one license is acquired under your Open License authorization number is covered by these reimaging rights.


What is Microsoft Volume Licensing media?

Microsoft Volume Licensing media includes media supplied by Microsoft to you on a regular basis as part of your Select License, Enterprise Agreement, or Enterprise Agreement Subscription agreement, and, in the case of Open License, media approved for internal deployment of copies licensed under Open License (also referred to as “Open media”).

What happens to support and warranty coverage for Microsoft software licensed through a finished goods channel that is reimaged with volume licensing media?

Microsoft’s Volume Licensing programs are separate from the support offerings available from Microsoft and its sales partners. You should investigate the contractual and support implications with your OEM before reimaging and make arrangements accordingly. You are not entitled to Microsoft support as a result of reimaging using Microsoft Volume Licensing media and should discuss any impact to your existing warranty and support coverage with your current warranty and support provider.

Why is Microsoft Office licensed through volume licensing programs a different product from Microsoft Office licensed through OEM, retail, or other finished goods channels?

Microsoft Office sold through volume licensing programs is an Enterprise Product with a different user interface, bypass enablement, and tools. Designed for enterprises, Microsoft Office sold in volume licensing empowers IT administrators with tools for deployment, management, and customization of the product, and provides end users with additional functionalities.

Can I use my Windows Vista Enterprise volume licensing media to reimage an OEM PC licensed for Windows Vista Business that is not covered by Software Assurance?

No. Only PCs covered with Software Assurance for the Windows OS are eligible for Windows Vista Enterprise.

[1] Windows Vista Enterprise is not available as an originally-licensed product, and, therefore, not eligible for reimaging.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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