Product High-Light – Windows Desktop OS- What is a Qualified Base license in Volume Licensing – UPDATED for Windows 7


The desktop operating system licenses bought under any Volume Licensing Program are upgrade licenses only.

Full desktop operating system licenses are not available under any of these programs. Therefore, each desktop for which you acquire and on which you will run the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade must be licensed to run one of the qualifying operating systems identified below.

Windows 7 Professional Upgrade

Customers who wish to acquire the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade license must first have licensed and installed on their desktop a qualifying operating system.

Qualifying OS Rules (Each of these conditions must be met in order for the base OS to qualify you for the VL Upgrade.):

  • The qualifying OS must be installed on the device to which the VL Upgrade license is to be assigned.
  • Except as provided below, you must remove the qualifying Operating System from the device in order to deploy the VL Upgrade license.

Customers who wish to install or run more than one licensed OS at one time (including the qualifying OS), may either:

  • Acquire Software Assurance for their VL Upgrade license
  • or
  • Purchase full Windows 7 licenses separately via another channel

Note: Customers that have active Software Assurance coverage do not need to uninstall the qualifying OS and may install and run the qualifying OS and Windows 7 at the same time.

The choice of Qualified Base license depends on:

  1. The Agreement type and version
  2. If its a new or existing Agreement

Any operating system not listed above is not a qualifying OS, for example:

  • Embedded Systems (e.g. Windows 9.x for embedded, Windows XP embedded) do not qualify for the Windows 7 Professional Upgrades
  • Linux or OS/2 do not qualify for the Windows 7 Professional Upgrades.
  • Windows Terminal Services Client Access License does not qualify for the Windows 7 Professional Upgrades

Downgrade” right for Windows 7 Professional licenses
Volume licensing customers with a license for Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business are eligible to use a prior version in place of the version they have licensed. Eligible Prior versions of Vista Business include Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 or 3.51. Eligible prior versions of Windows Vista Business include Windows XP Professional and Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 or 3.51.

Note: Customers who are licensed to use Windows 7 Enterprise may use Windows Vista Enterprise in place of the version they have licensed.

Note: Microsoft has extended the above downgrade rights under Windows 7 Professional Upgrade to allow you to downgrade to Windows 98 or Windows 95.

Note: Windows Millennium and Windows XP Home Edition are not prior versions of Windows 7 Professional.


Windows 7 Professional Promotion

As a limited time offer from September 1, 2009 through February 28, 2010, Open License, Open Value, Select and Select Plus customers are eligible to acquire Windows 7 Professional Upgrade licenses and Upgrade licenses with Software Assurance at potential savings, up to 15%

This offer applies only to Commercial and Government customers. In the Open Value program, this offer only applies to Additional Product purchases, contact your local reseller on promotions



  1. I have 2 questions I am hoping you can answer -1. If we purchase PCs with Windows 7 Ultimate OEM, are we allowed to install Windows 7 Professional OEM on them instead?2. If we are allowed to install windows 7 Professional OEM on them, does this fall within our reimaging rights to use an image created from volume license media on them (We have an Open VL agreement) ?cheers,andy

  2. Hi AndyWe have posted most of the EULA, now called MSLT on this link the current EULADOWNGRADE. Instead of using the software, you may use one of the following earlier versions:· Windows Vista Ultimate,· Microsoft Windows XP Professional,· Microsoft Windows Professional x64 Edition, or· Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.So you cannot downgrade from Ultimate to Pro 7 as that is downgrade edition not versionCheersEmma

  3. Hi Emma, if customer is buying only Office suite through some volume licensing agreement (for example Open License) do they have to meet same eligibility criteria for qualifying OS (ie Win7 Pro) or they can use any full operating system (for example Win7 Home Premium)?

  4. Hi StefanOnly the Windows OSE is offered as an Upgrade via VL, this is why we have the conditions on version/editionFor Office you buy a full version every time, no preconditon on existing Office licenses, from a technical perspective you should have a check on which OSE supports the version of Office you would be deployingHope this helpsEmma

  5. As Microsoft thinks any computer purchased for production use must use a business or professional type operating system anyway. As the Home Editions don\’t have the features that a business network needs to connect and secure. However, they have seen thrifty buiness consumers purchase the less expensive Home OEM and then try to upgrade that to their already purchased Volume License Business OS for hardware replacements. These upgrade paths make the compliance of Window 7 on Volume Licensing cut and dry. So – lets say you have a Home Premium and need to upgrade that to Windows 7 Professional – you can either A) Purchase OEM Windows7 Professional if you are a system builder that will be giving this computer to a 3rd party for profit or B) Buy the Retail Version Upgrade to Windows 7 Professional and add SA if you want Image rights.

  6. hi Emma, but how about the Windows 7 Enterprise version? I can’t find anything about upgrade paths for this version… Do you know anything?

    Secondly, it says that the software has to be installed on the computer… How can I install “Apple Macintosh” (eligible for upgrade) on a Windows PC?

  7. one more thing – I need to find a 100% certain information,that Windows 2000 Professional was available as a full version under VL agreements. As I know – it wasn`t, but I need to be 100% sure.
    Maybe anybody heard about such an option?

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