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Small Business Server 2008 downgrade rights questions and answers
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Last night I was at the Merseyside Partner group in Liverpool and once question that got asked again (and was in TPV and London too) was around downgrade rights from SBS 2008 to SBS 2003, so I dug for about 30 seconds and found these items on the Licensing FAQ site Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2008:

Q: What are downgrade rights? How do I exercise them?

A:Downgrade rights, in general, means that you can use an earlier version of the software acquired. For Windows Small Business Server, this means you are allowed to install and use Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Premium Edition instead of Windows Small Business Server 2008 Premium Edition, which is what you purchased. You can also install and use Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition instead of Windows Small Business Server 2008 Standard Edition. At any time, you can install the software you purchased and cease to use the earlier version.

If you obtained your server with Windows Small Business Server preinstalled from a partner or OEM, in order to exercise your downgrade rights you must already have the earlier versions of Windows Small Business Server media available. If you purchased Open Licensing, Volume Licensing, Software Assurance, or the full retail product of Windows Small Business Server 2008, contact Microsoft fulfillment services in your region.

Q:Are my Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 CALs valid to use to access my Windows Small Business Server 2008 network?

A:No. You must have the CAL version that matches the version of the server software you are running. That is, if you have a Windows Small Business Server 2008 domain, you must have Windows Small Business Server 2008 CALs. Note: If you choose to run an earlier version of the server software (by way of using downgrade rights), you would still be in compliance with your license by acquiring Windows Small Business Server 2008 CALs.

Q:How do I obtain CALs for earlier versions of Windows Small Business Server when they are discontinued?

A:You will need to purchase Windows Small Business Server 2008 CALs and use your downgrade rights

Q:How are my licenses activated?

A:The Windows Small Business Server 2008 server license is activated over the Internet. If you do not have an Internet connection, you can follow the instructions in the Windows Activation wizard for calling a telephone number to activate. Windows Small Business Server CALs no longer have to be activated. Note that if you are running Windows Small Business Server 2008 Premium Edition, the second copy of Windows Server 2008 technologies will require similar activation.

ttfn

David

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Posted Thu, Jun 26 2008 7:57 AM by David Overton

Comments

Stephen Holder wrote re: Small Business Server 2008 downgrade rights questions and answers
on Thu, Apr 23 2009 3:53 PM

Hi,

I just spoke to Microsoft Licensing because I am in the process of upgrading to 2008 (from my FULL RETAIL version of SBS 2000), but they told me that they would not be able to provide me with SBS 2003 media and product key. I have to somehow source my own media & key. This contradicts the microsoft web site (and  your notes above).

Thanks,

Stephen

David Overton wrote re: Small Business Server 2008 downgrade rights questions and answers
on Thu, Apr 23 2009 11:23 PM

Stephen,

I've raised this internally and will get back to you via these comments once I know what is happening.  Is your SBS 2008 media OEM, Retail or volume license based?

thanks

David

Stephen Holder wrote re: Small Business Server 2008 downgrade rights questions and answers
on Fri, Apr 24 2009 8:57 AM

Oh, Hi David.

It will be RETAIL.

I was going to use the "Solutions Pathway" migration that would allow us to upgrade from SBS 2000 Retail to SBS 2008 Retail. It looks perfect for us, because we can get upgrade credit for the licenses we already own.

However, microsoft uk licensing told me that they would NOT provide me with media & license keys to use SBS 2003. They only do this for volume licenses.

The notes you reproduced above are the same ones that I saw on the microsoft web site. They state that this restriction only applies to the OEM version - and NOT the retail version.

I hope I explained this ok, Thanks for your time.

Stephen

David Overton wrote re: Small Business Server 2008 downgrade rights questions and answers
on Fri, Apr 24 2009 9:02 AM

Stephen,

I'm awaiting a response, I hope to be able to update in a day or two.

Thanks

David

Stephen wrote re: Small Business Server 2008 downgrade rights questions and answers
on Tue, May 12 2009 10:31 AM

Hi David,

I think I am going to have to chance this one. Since I can't upgrade to SBS 2003 any more, my ONLY option is to go with SBS 2008 Solutions Pathway and somehow muddle through. I just can't justify an extra £3k to go with the VL Option. :o

Thanks again,

Stephen

Jens wrote re: Small Business Server 2008 downgrade rights questions and answers
on Mon, Feb 1 2010 4:25 AM

Thanks for the short license overview.

Dubey wrote re: Small Business Server 2008 downgrade rights questions and answers
on Wed, Feb 10 2010 3:33 PM

I just ought add-on CALs for our SBS 2003 R2 but was referred to eopen website to get my licencse keys.

When I opened the license keys I saw that the keys were for server 2008. How can I use these keys on my SBS 2003 server?

David Overton wrote re: Small Business Server 2008 downgrade rights questions and answers
on Mon, Mar 1 2010 7:20 AM

@Dubey,

call Microsoft support - they should be able to help with this.

Thanks

David

marcel30el@kccqatar.com wrote re: Small Business Server 2008 downgrade rights questions and answers
on Fri, Oct 8 2010 6:36 PM

I have a sbs 2003 stand server as my DC with 10 user CALS. I need to upgrade it to 50 user CALS.

what is the upgrade, is it a software or addon pack on media or just product key ?

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