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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

Can I use my Microsoft Technet Product Keys after my subscription expires? I'm coming due in a couple of months and I'm not sure if I'll have the 250 to renew. I've search their Technet sites and come up empty.


5 Answers 5


If you're talking about additional installations with those keys - they won't activate after you stop paying.

Regarding already installed/activated software, it's going to depend on which subscription you're on. I don't pretend to know all the permutations, but I know that our Gold Partner MSDN licenses are good only so long as we continue paying annual subscription fees. If we stop paying, we're to immediately uninstall everything.

Other programs, in contrast, allow you to use what you have installed for as long as you like, though you can't register additional copies, nor download from MSDN after the expiration date.

Call up your MSDN support number and ask. I've asked numerous licensing questions without triggering any audits. ;)

  • Wish I could've been more precise or exhaustive, but I'm glad it helped. Aug 14, 2009 at 15:01

Your licenses are only valid for as long as your subscription is active. Legally you should uninstall any software from technet upon your subscription ending.

  • Not quite so, the Technet licensing page clearly says that any eval version you install is not time limited. New installations after expiry would be on shaky ground though. Aug 13, 2009 at 17:21
  • New installs based on a subscription wouldn't be on shaky ground at all. You don't have the license to use the software at that point. If you download an Eval version you can use it to eval as long as needed (or until it expires).
    – mrdenny
    Aug 14, 2009 at 7:49

They have the ability to blacklist any keys generated, pretty much whenever they want.

There was a "free" technet subscription offered by mistake a couple of months ago, and the keys generated during the mistake were all cancelled. At least, that's what I heard happened.

  • Had some keys expire on you then? ;) (jk)
    – squillman
    Aug 13, 2009 at 18:14
  • Sadly, I did. I really thought it was a legit giveaway. I had probably 15 ISOs downloaded before they cancelled it. Of course, it worked great, because I'm getting a subscription for work now. Curse their craftiness! Aug 13, 2009 at 18:49

According to this Ed Bott post, you can continue to use the software after your subscription ends. Unfortunately, the Microsoft page Ed referenced no longer exists. I can't find anything in the TechNet license agreement that says one way or the other.


For most software, yes you can continue to use it. See the third paragraph here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/downloads/cc150618.aspx

As pointed out in the comments - this link mentions MSDN and not Technet, even though it is linked from the Technet page and hosted on the Technet domain.

Here is another link that talks about what happens when your Technet subscription expires: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/downloads/dd464803.aspx#ExpiredSubscriberAccess

Basically, you are able to login and view previously claimed keys, but not download software or generate more keys. This implies that you can continue using any software you downloaded and got a key for while your subscription was active.

  • That link is to the MSDN license, and MSDN is not TechNet. The license may be the same, but I wouldn't conclude that they are the same
    – Carl C
    Aug 13, 2009 at 17:28
  • That is weird - I just glossed over that I guess. I did find the link on the technet site, and it says Technet Plus at the top...
    – MattB
    Aug 13, 2009 at 17:30

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