Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations Blog

As a Microsoft Partner, can I plug "my device" containing the SysInternals utilities into a customer computer and run the utilities to diagnose the customer computer?

I have seen some conversations and debates going on recently in several online Partner groups regarding the licensing of SysInternals as a Partner and the use of it to diagnose client’s computers. As such, I took the question being asked, “Can I plug “my device” containing the Sysinternals utilities into a customer computer and run the utilities to diagnose the customer computer?” and sent it directly to the SysInternals licensing team here at Microsoft. Here is the answer to the question that I just got back from them:

“We are fine with this scenario. As long as the support technicians are using the tools on computers they support…. as opposed to hosting the tools on a share for anyone to download, or putting them on thumb drives and giving those thumb drives away – which we don’t allow. In the FAQs (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb847944.aspx)  we say that:

Q: How many copies of Sysinternals utilities may I freely load or use on computers owned by my company?

A: There is no limit to the number of times you may install and use the software on your devices or those you support.

The answer applies really to any computer the technician supports, not necessarily just those owned by his company.

Putting the Sysinternals tools on USB and other devices to use on computers they support is acceptable under our license.  What isn’t acceptable is redistributing these tools either through a mirror download site, or downloading onto some type of media and giving that away.

At the end of the day we really want to help people troubleshoot their systems and use Microsoft software. We put the redistribution restrictions in place because we don’t offer official Microsoft support and don’t have an official servicing plan; user support is provided by our community through our forums. The only way we can ensure our customers know this is to mandate the end user get the tools from our site. Secondly, we want to make sure people are using the most recent versions of the tools.

As such, it is recommended that support technicians completely remove Sysinterals software from their customers’ machines after using them and make sure they are using the latest version of the software. Live.Sysinternals.com as launched to make this easier.”

So there is the official response to your question, yes you can do it; however, please be sure to remove it from the device after the diagnosis and be sure to use the most current version of the tools as you do this.

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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