Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations Blog

How can you tell if your client has User or Device CALs for their server?

I saw a question recently from a Partner stating that they had a new client and were trying to determine if the CALs they client was using were User or Device CALs.  The way to determine which your client has is actually quite straight forward:


1)     If they purchased a server license that came with 5 CALs initially, those first five CALs can be User or Device and they get to determine which they are upon installation.  You should check their original Server license to determine if it came with 5 CALs.


2)     For each CAL pack beyond the initial 5 that came with the server, they would have had to purchase either User or Device CALs.  Simply look at the licenses they purchased to see if they are User or Device CALs.


What if you cannot find the original licenses to see if the server had 5 CALs or to see if they are User or Device CALs?  You might want to read my, “How can you tell if your client has OEM, Retail Box or Volume License software?” post since there is a chance they may no longer have the license rights to use the software they have installed, unless they purchased their licenses through Volume Licenses which are electronic licenses that cannot be lost.


Once you look at their licenses, you will see how many User or Device CALs they have for their various servers.  Remember that User CALs and Device CALs cannot be transformed into the other type after purchase, so be sure your clients are making informed decisions prior to purchasing their CALs to ensure they are choosing the option that is most appropriate for them.  The only times you can switch from User to Device CALs or vice versa is:


1)     If you have Software Assurance for your CALs: when you renew your Software Assurance, you can renew for the other type of CALs instead.  (i.e.: if you have Device CALs with Software Assurance, when you renew your Software Assurance, you could purchase the User CAL Software Assurance instead to renew the SA and convert to User CALs then)


2)     If you have a company-wide Agreement for your CALs, such as the Small Business Desktop Advantage or Desktop Professional, then you have the right to have the CALs be User or Device and you can switch at anytime during the term of your Agreement.


I also cover this in more depth in the “Introduction to Office, Windows, and Server Licensing for Partners” webcasts I gave if you want to view the replay.


Thank you and have a wonderful day,


Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights


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