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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

I'm working with a small business' server that has started displaying messages about their copy of Windows not being genuine. After some investigation, I discovered that they have a legitimate Windows Server 2008 license from early 2009 - before the release of Windows Server 2008 R2. They recently had to reinstall Windows Server, and reinstalled from media for the 2008/R2 version instead of for the 2008/R1 version. As a result, there's a mismatch between the version of the OS installed and the version that their license applies to. However, they've already done a fair bit of work on the server, and after a difficult and lengthy Windows re-install process, are not keen to sink more time into this server.

What options exist for bringing this server into license compliance? Is it possible to "downgrade" to Windows Server 2008 R1? (initial searches say 'no,' but I could be wrong) The owners of the server also want to save "buy a new license" as a last resort, because they're only running the one server, so buying multiple licenses for it is distasteful.

I personally suspect that this client is running afoul of the "pick two" rule, but my sysadmin-fu is not strong when it comes to Windows.

  • Does there exist an easy way to bring the server into license compliance without buying a new license or reinstalling Windows from media that matches the license version?

Failing that:

  • What technique for bringing the Windows server into license compliance involves the least downtime?

marked as duplicate by Sven, Shane Madden, Mark Henderson Jan 24 '12 at 7:07

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • It overlaps a little, but I think that this question is a lot more specific and answerable than that one. – Brighid McDonnell Jan 9 '12 at 18:30
  • The question I linked to is meant as a generic answer for every licensing question because the answer is the same in nearly every case: Contact the vendor, we can't help you. And your question is a perfect example for this. – Sven Jan 9 '12 at 18:34
  • Ah, I didn't see it in that light. Thank you. Yeah, might need to be closed, then. I freely admit that I was a bit desperate when I asked. – Brighid McDonnell Jan 9 '12 at 18:47

Just call MS, seriously it's the only way that's not massively painful - you'll need to pay to upgrade but it won't be criminal.

  • That's a decent recommendation. What part of MS should I call? It's not like they have just one phone number, and searches for "licensing problem" and the like tend to turn up lots of not-so-useful results. – Brighid McDonnell Jan 9 '12 at 18:30
  • Depends where you are in the world, I'm lucky and have dedicated MS account staff but I'd imagine if you find the number for their head office in whatever country you're in just call them and explain - they want to take your money you see so they'll help you to get to it :) – Chopper3 Jan 9 '12 at 18:37

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