Reimaging Rights & Downgrade Rights: Kill two birds with one…concept?

In all honesty, Reimaging Rights and Downgrade Rights are two separate concepts with unique elements. That said, the one aspect that ties the two together is the fact that they both grant end customers the ability to replace an existing software installation with... something else.

Here’s my longwinded attempt at defining and differentiating between the two options:

Reimaging Rights:

1) This concept is a license grant available to Volume License Customers.

2) The grant allows end customers to replace an existing software installation (Retail or OEM) using Volume Licensing media.

3) Reimaging is only permitted if the copy of the Volume License media is identical to that of the original software installation (FPP or OEM license). This is key as customers are only permitted to reimage a license, using VL media, “if they are the same product and version, contain the same components, and are in the same language” (Re-imaging Rights– Volume Licensing Briefs).

Below are a couple of considerations to keep in mind when Reimaging:

Microsoft Office

· OEM and FPP licenses don’t always align with the Volume License offering. This is especially true with Microsoft Office. For example, Office Professional (OEM or FPP) and Office Pro Plus (Volume Licensing) are not the same product. Also, Office Home and Student, which is available through the OEM and FPP channel, cannot be procured under Volume Licensing.

Microsoft Windows (Desktop)

· Customers with Windows Vista Business OEM or FPP licenses cannot reimage their software with Windows Vista Enterprise as the latter is a Software Assurance Benefit.

For more information on Re-Imaging Rights I highly recommend reading the Re-imaging Rights document on our Volume Licensing Briefs website.

Taking all of this into consideration, I bet you still have one burning question on your mind: Can my customers replace their Vista Business installation with Windows XP Pro? The answer is a resounding YES. This however is not defined as Reimaging - enter Downgrade Rights...

Downgrade Rights:

This concept grants end customers the right to downgrade their Microsoft Software to a prior version. You will find that software purchased through OEM and FPP channels has varied limitations.

Below are a few things to remember when Downgrading:

· The Desktop OS must be the professional edition (i.e. Windows Vista Business)

· Full Packaged Product (FPP)licenses of Office and the Windows Desktop OS cannot be downgraded

· OEM licenses of the Windows Desktop OS can only be downgraded 1 version

· Software purchased under Volume Licensing is granted full Downgrade Rights across all three Microsoft Product Pools (Applications, Systems, and Servers)

· Customers have a 90 day grace period to attach SA to OEM or FPP licenses. This option is only available under the following Volume License Programs: Open Business, Open Value (non-companywide), and Select.

For more information on Re-Imaging Rights, I highly recommend reading the Downgrade Rights Chart document on our Volume Licensing Briefs website.

I hope I didn’t disappoint anyone who thought I found a way to merge Downgrading and Reimaging. In the end, it’s evident that they are two separate concepts, but being able to define them is key in knowing which concept applies to your customer’s situation.

Happy Selling (& Downgrading/Reimaging)!

Krzysztof Sokolowski

Comments (3)

  1. Jon says:

    Scenario…  I bought 15 business PCs with Win7 Pro installed.  I bought 5 Open License Win7 Pro licenses.  How many licenses do I have – 15 or 20?  Can I use my Open License media to image all 15 PCs, or only 5?

  2. JR says:

    Late comment/question

    I have a Volume Licensing agreement and purchased 200 OEM PCs with Windows 7 Professional installed. Can I use Volume Licensing Media and a Volume Licensing Key (VLK – MAK) for Windows 7 Professional to reimage those 200 PCs without purchasing additional 200 Windows 7 Professional Upgrade licenses?

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