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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

i have got a vaild License for windows 2003 standard server 32Bit. We are changing our server (Completely new machine). The new server got 6GB and all software seems to be compatible... So we would like to switch to a 64Bit version of 2003 server...

Is this allowed by the license (Using the 32Bit license)? Where to obtain the x64 Bit media (Launguage: preferably German)?

I apprechiate any help!




3 Answers 3


Corelgott, as you have probably already figured out none of us here are Microsoft licensing experts and even if a few of us are, nothing that we say would satisfy your legal department since they would not be officially representing Microsoft. (And if you say "But I don't have a legal department so there's no worries!" just remember that you will still have to stare down the barrel of a loaded prosecuting attorney should an audit turn ugly)

There is one and only one way to get this resolved: Call up a Microsoft licensing specialist and talk to them directly about it. Of course, this is glossing over the fact that if you ask two Microsoft licensing specialists the same question you may get four conflicting answers, but I digress. Talk to an agent about it, get their answer in writing (email) or document the case number that they give you over the phone. Furthermore, you may want to call a second time on another day to get a different agent and ask the same question. Of course, their case notes will show that you called previously, but just say that you wanted to get a second opinion if they mention anything. Of course, document the second call in the same manner as the first.

Finally, talk to one or multiple of your favorite reseller sales reps. Many of them have taken vendor classes to untangle the mess that is licensing. Or, if they're not experts themselves, someone at the reseller will be and they can hand you off to them. for instance, I just called my reseller who is something of a Microsoft licensing expert and got an answer to this question. I won't elaborate too much because I want you to find out for yourself... and I don't want to be cross examined by your prosecutor. =)

  • Well put, except I find VARs will almost always recommend the most obvious solution that makes them the most points. For example: buy a whole new license, even though a cheaper upgrade would suffice.
    – ITGuy24
    Nov 24, 2009 at 21:16
  • True, true. That's why I was surprised when my reseller sales guy/Microsoft licensing expert said that I didn't need to buy anything extra if I was to go from Server 2003 32-bit to 64-bit.
    – Wesley
    Nov 24, 2009 at 21:27

No, the 64bit Version is a different SKU and as such requires a different licence and key. You will need to purchase another licence.

Edit The MS Licensing site now shows that customers with Server 2003 R2 have downgrade rights, so you can use the 32bit version of 2003 R2 if you have a 64bit Licence, however it does not seem clear if this is possible the other way. Either way you would need to purchase an R2 licence, so that probably doesn't help you too much/

  • thanks for the answer... I did a quick googling... but I could not find anything like an Upgrade... Do I have to buy a completly new full-license? For Real? Nov 24, 2009 at 16:09
  • @Corelgott: yes, it is a completely new license. Also, there is not an upgrade path from 32 bit to 64 bit with any of the Microsoft OS's. It's a completely new install.
    – NotMe
    Nov 24, 2009 at 16:14
  • Any references? My understanding of SKUs is that they are product based and the bit architecture does not move outside of the base product thus not needing a different SKU.
    – Wesley
    Nov 24, 2009 at 16:24
  • Hrm... I just talked to my MSFT licensing guy and he said that while they are different SKUs you are licensed to use either one when you purchase a license of Server 2003 as long as you are not using both at the same time (of course).
    – Wesley
    Nov 24, 2009 at 17:06

Actually, yes you can do this now. See this link

OEM and FPP customers can order a fulfillment kit via the Windows Server Fulfillment Site

Edit: Sorry I maybe wrong as this only applies to R2, so you would have to pay for the R2 upgrade first

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