MSDN Subscriptions General Q&A
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General Q&A

Product Licensing
Volume License Registration
Product Keys and Activation
Support and Customer Service
MSDN Subscriber Downloads
General Questions

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Product Licensing

What is the general nature of the terms of the MSDN End User License Agreement?

The MSDN End User License Agreement (EULA) allows each person with an MSDN license to use all of the software that is included in the subscription for development, test, and demonstration purposes only.

MSDN subscriptions are single-user licensed; everyone who uses the products within an MSDN Subscription must have an MSDN Subscriptions license. In other words, one license must be purchased for each user.

Customers do not have to purchase media for each licensed user. MSDN subscription media can be shared with all individuals who have an MSDN Subscriptions license.

Note: The MSDN Library is an exception; it is not a single-user license and can be freely shared within an organization. You need to purchase the MSDN Library, but the information on the Library is available for use by anyone in your organization.

When a subscription expires, do the licenses terminate or are they still valid?

MSDN Subscriptions have a perpetual license, so subscribers can still use the products received with their MSDN Subscription after their subscription has expired.

There are multiple products in the subscription. Can I give some of them to another end user?

Everyone who uses products within MSDN Subscriptions must have an MSDN Subscriptions license. The contents of MSDN Subscriptions cannot be shared with non-subscribers.

May I use MSDN Subscriptions software to install software for day-to-day (production) use?

No, but with one exception. Software in your MSDN Subscription comes with a development, test, and demonstration license. Examples of prohibited use include:

  • You may not install Exchange Server from your MSDN Universal Subscription and use it to send and receive personal or business-related e-mail.
  • You may not install Windows NT Server and use it to host your own personal or business Web site.
  • The one exception is that the MSDN Universal Subscription comes with one license to use Microsoft Office for general business use. Again, only persons with an MSDN Universal Subscription license can use the Microsoft Office software in this manner.

What do you mean by "production?" What are examples of test and development work?

By "production" we mean any activity that is personal, for general business use, or not directly related to the testing and development of software applications.

Examples of (prohibited) production use include:

  • Installing Windows 98 to play games for entertainment.
  • Installing Windows 2000 Server and Exchange Server to set up an e-mail system that you use to send personal and/or business-related e-mail.

You may not use your MSDN Subscription as a substitute for purchasing a retail license for an operating system if you do more than develop and test on your computer.

Can I use the Visual Studio product to create an executable file and distribute this file for sale?

Yes. Applications, utilities, and executables you develop using Visual Studio, Access, or Office Developer can be distributed to customers royalty-free, pursuant to the terms of the corresponding End-User License Agreement (EULA). In addition, there are many redistributable components included with Visual Studio, which you are welcome to incorporate into your applications and distribute for free pursuant to the terms of the Visual Studio EULA.

Please note there is a royalty for Microsoft server products that are distributed with applications. For more information see the Product Integration Program.

Can I use Office, Project, and Visio for development and testing of applications?

Yes. Office, Project, and Visio can be used during the development and testing phases of applications. In addition, one copy of Office can be used for general business use by each licensed MSDN Universal subscriber.

Do all users also need an MSDN license to test applications?

MSDN licenses are required for testers who do progressive test, configuration testing, debugging and maintenance programming.

MSDN licenses are not required for user acceptance testing or stress testing, provided that that the testers will not be doing any debugging, configuration, or maintenance.

My organization has many different MSDN subscriptions, are we licensed to use the same software?

Customers are licensed for the software in their subscription. For example, an MSDN Professional Subscriber has a license to all the products in the MSDN Professional subscription. An MSDN Professional Subscriber is not licensed for products in MSDN Universal subscription. To learn what products are in each MSDN level, see the Level and Feature Overview.

May I make copies of my CDs for my own use?

Yes, as long as your use falls within the scope of the MSDN Subscriptions End-User License Agreement (EULA). You can only use the software for development and testing purposes. ISO-9660 CD images are available from MSDN Subscriber Downloads and is the recommended method. DVD subscribers should read the DVD section of this FAQ.

How many devices can I install the products on?

In general, you can install MSDN software on any number of machines. However:
  • Only persons with MSDN Subscription licenses can use the software on any of the machines
  • Some products, such as Windows XP, require product activation, which may limit the number of machines on which you can install software. See the section on Product Activation for more information.
  • If you are using Office for business purposes, you may only install on one machine.

I've had an MSDN Subscription for some time now and have many old discs that are duplicates or that I simply don't use. Can I give them away or sell them?

No. You may only sell or transfer your MSDN Subscription as a whole, and you must transfer all materials received with the subscription to the new owner.

Who do I call to report that a company is sharing MSDN software? I just left a company and want to report this to someone within Microsoft.

Please report any violations of the MSDN Subscriptions Master EULA to or visit If in doubt, call the anti-Piracy Hotline at 1-800-RU-LEGIT.

I have older products which no longer ship in MSDN. What licensing terms apply to products I received in the past?

If you have been an MSDN Subscriber for many years, you probably have older products which no longer ship in MSDN. Older products follow the licensing terms (from the End User License Agreement) that governed your MSDN subscription at the time you received those products.

I notice that occasionally Microsoft changes the end user license agreement for MSDN. What license terms apply to products that I had previously received?

Occasionally we change the licensing terms for MSDN or for specific products. If the licensing terms change, the new terms apply to products you receive in your current subscription. A new MSDN end user license agreement does not apply to products which no longer ship in MSDN. You will receive a new End User License Agreement, if the terms change. For your convenience, you may want to keep copies of all the MSDN End User License Agreement(s) with your MSDN shipments.

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Volume License Registration

What is the MSDN Volume License Registration site and who needs to register their licenses?

The MSDN Volume License Registration site is for Open, Select, and Enterprise Agreement customers. Customers who register their licenses will receive access to MSDN Subscriber Downloads, technical support, an MSDN Subscriber ID. Customers who ordered their licenses through the Software Assurance program will also receive complimentary media, based on number of licensees ordered.

All customers who register at the site, will need to establish a unique Passport email address. The registration site will prompt all customers to enter their Passport email address. Customers who already have a Passport address, may use their current address. Customers who do not have a Passport address, will be prompted to create one.

What information do I need to register licenses or media?

  • Select & Enterprise Agreement: Enrollment and Master Agreement number
  • Open: Authorization number and License number
  • Open License Value, Multi-Year Open, and Open Subscription License: Agreement Number, and the last name of the Notices Contact on the agreement.

I am receiving errors when I try to register at the site. What can I do?

There are a few reasons why you might be receiving errors. The following tips will help you troubleshoot the issue.

  • Confirm that your reseller has submitted your license order to Microsoft.
  • Confirm that you are using the correct numbers to access the site:
    • Select & Enterprise Agreement: Enrollment and Master Agreement number
    • Open: Authorization number and License number
    • Open License Value, Multi-Year Open, and Open Subscription License: Agreement Number, and the last name of the Notices Contact on the agreement.

What are the Register Myself and Register Another User buttons?

The Register Myself button is for individual registration. When a user chooses to Register Myself, the user will be prompted to create a Passport .NET ID. After registering, the user will have access to MSDN Subscriber Downloads and to technical support.

The Register Another User button is for administrators. All users will be prompted for their own Passport .NET ID to access the site. However administrators can register other users without creating a Passport .NET ID for each user. Within 4 days after registration, the new user will receive an e-mail containing an MSDN Subscriber ID number. Users need an MSDN Subscriber ID number to access MSDN Subscriber Downloads and technical support. The first time a new user visits MSDN Subscriber Downloads, the user will also be prompted to enter a Passport .NET ID. Users may also receive an MSDN Subscriber ID card in the mail.

How soon after I order a license can I register it?

This depends on how soon the Large Account Resellers (LARs) submit the specific MSDN license orders to Microsoft. Generally, Large Account Resellers (LARs) submit orders each week, but some LARs may have a different schedule. Check with your LAR to see if your order has been submitted to Microsoft Licensing Operations. Customers can normally register at the online Web site within 24 hours after the LAR has submitted their order to Microsoft.

Can I register other (non-MSDN) Open licenses at this Web site?

No. This registration site is available for MSDN Subscriptions volume license registration only. Please register other (non-MSDN) Open licenses at eOpen.

How long do I have to register my MSDN License?

Customers can register their MSDN volume license any time up until 30 days prior to the license agreement end date. MSDN media must be registered 90 days prior to the license agreement end date.

Can I register multiple licenses under the same first name, last name, and Passport ID?

No, the registration site requires that you register each license with a different first name, last name, and Passport ID. If you are serving as an administrator for many accounts, please ensure that each license is registered in the name of the person using each license.

To ensure that each registrant will be able to access MSDN Subscriber Downloads, please register all licenses using different names. Otherwise, if the same name is used to register multiple licenses, only one account can be registered for MSDN Subscriber Downloads.

How do MSDN Volume License Subscribers receive CD-ROM or DVD-ROM media?

Customers who have ordered licenses through the Software Assurance program receive complimentary media by registering their licenses online. The complimentary media is based on the number of licenses ordered and the licensing program. Select & Enterprise Agreement customers receive 1 media kit for every 10 MSDN licenses ordered. Open customers receive 1 media kit for every 5 MSDN licenses ordered. The media is registered online, and is on a first come first served basis. If an organization has 8 media kits, anyone in the company can claim those 8 media kits by registering online. We recommend that customers who want media register first. If a customer would like to change who receives media, they can make this change online (look under Support Options on the MSDN Subscriptions Web site), or by calling their local MSDN Subscription Services Center.

If you have requested a media set, your first shipment should generally arrive within 10 business days. Future shipments are shipped periodically for the duration of the license agreement.

What happens if I choose not to receive some of the assigned media sets when registering, but later decide I need them?

You can claim any remaining media sets through this site. After you sign in, select the "Reclaim Media" option from the selection screen. You can claim media up to 60 days before the end of your volume license agreement end date.

Can I purchase additional media sets?

Yes. For Select & Enterprise Agreement license customers, additional media sets may be purchased from Large Account Resellers. For Open license customers, additional media sets may be purchased through the MSDN Subscriptions Services Center for your country. See for a list of contact telephone numbers.

I purchased my MSDN subscription via a Microsoft Volume License Agreement. When will my subscription end?

MSDN subscriptions purchased via volume license programs such as Select or Open will end when the volume license agreement expires.

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Product Keys and Activation

How do I get a product key?

Subscribers can get retail product keys from MSDN Subscriber Downloads. MSDN Subscription product keys can be used to activate software on up to 10 PCs. These keys can be used for retail software versions. These keys cannot be used for volume license software versions.

Subscribers who purchase volume licenses through the Microsoft Volume Licensing programs (such as Microsoft Open, Select, Enterprise, Campus and School Agreements) have a unique volume license Key. In your MSDN Subscription shipments, you receive the volume license version of some products in addition to the retail version. You can get a retail product key from MSDN Subscriber Downloads. However, the retail product Keys from MSDN Subscriber Downloads cannot be used to install volume license versions. Contact your company's license administrator for more information on obtaining volume license keys. For more information on this deployment process, see Volume License Product Keys.

Which Microsoft products will include Product Activation?

Microsoft will be including Product Activation in several upcoming versions of its software, including Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Office XP,and Visio.

Can I use the same product key for different products?

No. Each product has a unique product key, and each version of the product has a unique product key. For example, Windows XP Home Edition has a different product key than Windows XP Professional Edition.

Also, Office XP and Office products, such as Visio and Project, require a unique product key for each language version. For example, a different key is needed for Office XP Spanish and Office XP German. To obtain an additional key, contact your local MSDN Subscriptions Services Center.

How do I know whether my software is the retail software version or the volume license software version?

CDs and DVDs that include volume license versions of product say "Volume License Version" on the label. Microsoft Office XP Professional with FrontPage is an exception, and accepts both retail and volume license keys.

What if I reinstall software frequently, do I need to activate the software each time?

We understand that MSDN Subscribers have unique needs, so we have included special activation privileges for MSDN Subscribers.
  • MSDN Subscription product keys can be used to activate up to 10 PCs.
  • Although you must go through the activation process each time you reinstall on the same PC, your total number of activations will not be decremented.
  • For Windows XP, MSDN Subscribers have 60 days before the product needs to be activated. If you will be reinstalling the software in less than 60 days, you do not need to activate it.
  • for Office XP, MSDN Subscribers have 50 launches, before the product needs to be activated.

If I reinstall software on the same machine, do I need to activate the software?

No. Software may be reinstalled on the same machine as many times as needed without reactivating it. However, if the hard disk is reformatted prior to reinstallation, reactivation may be required however the total number of activations will not be decremented.

Is Microsoft Product Activation the same for the Windows operating system as it is for applications such as Office and Visio?

Customers can activate the software during initial setup. Windows Welcome will guide the user through activation. Users who choose to skip activation during setup will be reminded periodically during the following 60 days to activate Windows (15 days for pre-release versions). Subscribers who choose to activate Windows after setup will be guided through the activation process.

With applications such as Office and Visio, activation can be completed after initial setup. The user will be asked to activate when an application is launched. The user can choose to activate at that time or may choose to skip activation and do it later; users are provided 50 launches of the product before they are required to activate.

MSDN Subscription product keys can be used to activate software on up to 10 machines. If you plan to reinstall before activation is required, it is recommended that you not activate.

Where can I find my Volume License Product Keys?

What information do I need to install Microsoft Customer Relationship Management software?

The following product information is necessary to install Microsoft Customer Relationship Management software if you are not using the provided sample data:
  • License Number - U34PMC59EZK7UJGQP0V5H
  • Professional Suite 5 Users license
  • Organization Name - MSDN Subscriber
Note: If you are using the provided sample data, the following information is necessary for installation:
  • License Number - 8JUNYZUK3U66WXTRP7WE1
  • Professional Suite 5 Users license
  • Organization Name � Adventure Works Cycle

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Are MSDN Subscribers notified that their subscriptions are expiring? If so, what is the process?

MSDN Subscribers are notified several times before the end of their subscription. Microsoft sends each subscriber direct mail and e-mail notices.

If I want to renew, do I have to wait until my prior subscription is up? What is the window for buying a renewal?

Subscribers can renew at any time during the course of their subscription. Subscribers can get discounted renewal pricing up until the expiration date of their subscription. After the expiration date, the customer will need to purchase a new subscription at the new subscription price.

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Who qualifies for renewal and upgrade pricing?

The following retail customers qualify for renewal pricing:

  • Current MSDN Universal, Enterprise, Professional, and Operating Systems subscribers
  • Visual Studio and Visual Tools customers, version 5.0 and later
  • Microsoft Certified Partners
  • Microsoft Certified Professionals
  • Current members of a competitor's development program, such as the Oracle Technology Network, or IBM Developer Works

Volume license customers have unique pricing through Microsoft�s Open, Select, Enterprise Agreement, and Academic Licensing Programs.

Active MSDN Library subscribers do not qualify for renewal or upgrade pricing.

When can I upgrade my subscription to the next MSDN Subscriptions level?

Subscribers can upgrade their current subscription to a new level of MSDN Subscriptions at any time during the course of their subscription, and receive a pro-rated refund for the remaining months on their original subscription. Subscribers can also receive discounted upgrade pricing up until the expiration date of their subscription. After the expiration date, the subscribers will need to purchase the new subscription at the new subscription price.

The policy differs for volume license customers. Volume license customers can keep their current license and order a new MSDN Subscriptions license. Or, if within 90 days of purchase, volume license customers can return their original license, and order a new MSDN Subscriptions license.

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DVD Subscriptions

Who is eligible for a DVD rebate?

The DVD rebate is in North America only. All North American retail customers, whether they are new or renewing customers, are eligible to receive the DVD rebate when they purchase a DVD subscription. The DVD rebate does not apply to volume license customers, academic customers, complimentary customers, or MSDN Library customers.

How do I get a DVD rebate?

All North American retail customers, whether they purchase direct from Microsoft, or from a reseller, will receive a rebate form in the mail after they order a DVD subscription. Customers can then complete and submit the rebate form to receive the rebate amount. The DVD rebate amount is not deducted from the retail price at the time of purchase.

Why isn't the DVD rebate available in my country/region?

Unfortunately, due to legal and logistic limitations, some countries/regions are not able to provide rebates.

Can I install operating systems from DVD if there is no current operating system already?

Yes. DVDs with Windows 2000 and Windows XP are bootable.

Can I easily create CD-Rs from content delivered in my DVD subscription?

Yes, the content on the DVDs is organized in such a way that it is easy to create your own CD-Rs from DVD. However, there are some things that must be paid attention to:
  • Keep the path identical. For example, if the path to Windows XP Professional on a DVD is \English\WinXP\Pro\, be sure to put all of the files on the CD-R in the same path.
  • If there are any files in the root of the DVD, be sure to put them in the root of your CD-R.
  • The CD-R's volume label must match the DVD's volume label.
  • CD-Rs can only be created and used in accordance with the MSDN Master End-User License Agreement (EULA).
  • CD-Rs are unsupported by Microsoft Technical Support.

Bootable CD images of operating systems are available from MSDN Subscriber Downloads. It is highly recommended you use these rather than try to create your own installation CD-Rs from DVD.

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Support and Customer Service

Does the MSDN subscription come with support?

All subscribers have access to managed newsgroup support.

A new service, the Online Concierge, is also available to all MSDN Subscribers by logging on to MSDN Subscriber Downloads.

MSDN Subscriptions in North America include technical support incidents for products that ship with an MSDN subscription.

  • MSDN Universal includes four technical support incidents and managed newsgroup support.*
  • MSDN Enterprise includes three technical support incidents and managed newsgroup support.
  • MSDN Professional includes two technical support incidents and managed newsgroup support.
  • MSDN Operating Systems includes two technical support incidents and managed newsgroup support.

MSDN subscribers outside North America, please visit MSDN Support Options.

* Microsoft Certified Partners Subscribers receive access to MSDN public newsgroups and additional technical support provided through Microsoft for Partners. Above incidents and newsgroup support are not included.

What is the MSDN Online Concierge trial?

The MSDN Online Concierge is a one-to-one live online-based chat session between an MSDN subscriber and a Microsoft Support Advisor.

The MSDN Online Concierge trial service is available to answer any non-technical questions that you have. These include MSDN site navigation, subscription information questions, MSDN download questions, Knowledge Base (KB) article search questions, support access questions or others that don't require a technical support engineer. You can access the Online Concierge by logging in to the MSDN Subscriber Downloads.

If you and your support advisor find that you need more technical assistance during the chat, you may be directed to a more appropriate support service such as the managed newsgroups or the phone-based support available to MSDN Subscribers. If you have used your free support incidents that came with your MSDN subscriptions, phone or online assisted support will be charged as follows:

  • $99 USD � Professional Online Assisted Support, submit an online question and receive a response from a Microsoft Professional within 24 hours
  • $245 USD � Professional Phone Assisted Support. For more details on both options:

When is the MSDN Online Concierge trial service available?

The MSDN Online Concierge trial is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is not available on holidays.

What are MSDN managed newsgroups?

Managed newsgroups are for current MSDN Universal, Enterprise, Professional or Operating System subscribers. These subscribers can post a message and receive a response from Microsoft Support Professionals within 2 business days, if your message was not addressed accurately by the newsgroup community. There are currently more than 200 newsgroups related to .NET technologies that are included in this support, see the list of supported newsgroups.

How do I access the managed newsgroups?

You can post a message to any of the supported newsgroups. As along as you use the same e-mail alias provided to MSDN when you started your subscription, Microsoft Support Professionals are able to recognize your postings and respond. To find out what e-mail address you originally provided, contact your local MSDN Subscriptions Service Center.

What can I ask in the newsgroups?

You may ask any question relating to the development process. The supported newsgroups are for .NET products and related technologies. Common newsgroup postings include questions relating to code and application development, interoperability with other Microsoft products, setup and installation questions and debugging.

If you have questions about new technologies that may require longer engagement than what is offered to you via the newsgroups - you may want to consider Microsoft's Advisory Services. Advisory Services are available on an optional, per-hour-fee basis and typically do not exceed 40 hours. Advisory Services provide the opportunity to brainstorm with a Microsoft Software Development Specialist, to seek advice about alternate approaches to a development challenge, or to pose "what if" scenarios to help understand development choices.

If I post my question in a language other than English, will I receive a response?

No, the managed newsgroups for MSDN Subscribers are currently available in English only.

When can I expect a response to my newsgroup posting?

If your post has not been accurately answered by the newsgroups within 2 business days, a Microsoft Support Professional will answer your post. If you do not feel you have received an accurate response, please re-post the original message.

And, please be sure that you:

  • Are a current MSDN Universal, Enterprise, Professional, or Operating System subscriber.
  • Use the same e-mail alias which you provided when you started your MSDN Subscription. To find out what e-mail alias you provided when you subscribed, contact your local MSDN Subscriptions Services Center
  • Or, use the new e-mail alias which you provided.

What if I receive a response that is not complete or accurate, or I disagree with the answer?

If you receive a response that does not completely solve your problem, you can post a reply to the same thread—which helps us to see that you are not satisfied with the current level of detail. If this proves to be the case, Microsoft Support Professionals will continue to work with your issue or recommend an alternative support medium that is more appropriate to your specific needs.

Will I receive a response on holidays and weekends?

U.S. national holidays may delay the response for a day or two. Although Microsoft Support Professionals are available over the weekends, answers could be delayed, if questions are posted over the weekend.

I do not want to use my normal e-mail alias in the newsgroups. How can I change this alias so that the system recognizes me?

You can set up a new e-mail alias to use in the newsgroups, so that you can remain anonymous or prevent spam mail. When you establish a new e-mail alias, it will replace any previous e-mail alias you have used before, and Microsoft will only recognize newsgroup posts from the new e-mail alias. Click here to establish a new e-mail alias.

Will Microsoft write source code for my project?

Microsoft will assess customer project requirements and provide sample code to illustrate a particular technology, product feature, or development paradigm. Any source code provided by Microsoft is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended for production use.

Is there a limit to the number of posts I can place?

Currently, there is no limit to the number of postings that you can make to the newsgroups, as long as you are a current subscriber. Once your subscription expires, you will no longer be eligible for managed newsgroup support.

What's the difference between newsgroup support and phone-based technical support incidents?

You have a limited number of phone-based technical support incidents with your subscription and you have an unlimited number of newsgroup postings. Complex questions may be difficult or impossible to answer in the newsgroups. Phone-based incidents provide immediate attention to the question, and are more appropriate for complex questions.

What other support options are available to me?

Free support options:

  • Search the Online Support Knowledgebase of over 250,000 solutions including FAQ�s, support downloads and service packs, support Webcasts, and Technical newsgroups.

Microsoft Partner Support Options

  • Microsoft Gold Certified Partners for Support Services are a select group of companies that have met Microsoft�s stringent partnership requirements and are dedicated to providing support alternatives to meet customer single- or multi-vendor environment, and enterprise support needs. Gold Certified Partners for Support Services provide both phone and online support services for Microsoft products beginning at US$99 per incident for application and desktop products. For more information, visit
  • Microsoft Authorized Premier Support (MAPS) gives you access to multi-vendor IT (information technology) support. Designed by Microsoft and its Gold Certified Partners for Support Services, MAPS provides customers with the ability to work with a service provider that can support a broad range of needs, without sacrificing a direct link to Microsoft. Support services are provided jointly by Microsoft and their industry-leading Microsoft Gold Certified. Customers can easily find more information on MAPS�and select a MAPS Partner�by visiting

Microsoft Paid Support Options

  • US$99 Professional Online Assisted Support with 24 hour response, available 24x7 for all products eligible for professional support.
  • US$245 Professional Phone Support, available 24x7 for most professional products (server, professional, and developer tools).
  • Microsoft Advisory Services is a remotely-delivered, consultative support option that adds the element of proactive support, providing a comprehensive result beyond standard break-fix product maintenance needs. Microsoft Advisory Services provides short-term advice and guidance for problems not covered by Problem Resolution Service as well as requests for consultative assistance for design, development and deployment issues. For more information about Advisory Services, call (800) 936-5200.
  • Microsoft Premier Support is designed to help large enterprise customers to successfully develop, deploy, and manage business systems build around a broad range of high-quality Microsoft solutions for the server and the desktop. Premier Support provides a comprehensive, annual service contract that covers all Microsoft products at use within the customer�s enterprise. It provides a managed support relationship for customers who have made a significant investment in Microsoft technologies. Pricing varies by service level.

Microsoft Consulting Services

  • Microsoft Consulting Services provides a wide range of fee-based technical consulting services in the areas of application development, strategy consulting and infrastructureservices. Microsoft consultants focus on driving business value through technology innovation while transferring knowledge, satisfying customers, and collaborating with our partners.

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MSDN Subscriber Downloads

How do I change the Microsoft Passport I use to sign in to MSDN Subscriber Downloads?

  • Go to the MSDN Subscriber Downloads Passport Management page and select the Change Passport button.
  • On the Microsoft Passport sign-in page, enter the new Passport that you would like to use to access MSDN Subscriber Downloads.
  • On the Subscription Information page, enter the information for the MSDN Subscription you would like to access with this Passport and select Continue.
  • The MSDN Subscription Already Added page will appear if the subscription has been previously associated with a Passport. Select the Continue button.
  • You can confirm the change by signing out of Passport and returning to MSDN Subscriber Downloads. Sign in as a Returning Subscriber using your new Passport.

How do I remove a Microsoft Passport ID from an MSDN Subscription?

If you would like to remove the Passport currently associated with an MSDN Subscription, you can:
  • Go to the Subscriber Downloads Passport Management page and select the Remove Passport button.
  • On the Remove Passport page, enter the MSDN Subscription information for the Passport you would like to remove.
  • The Passport Removal Confirmation Message will be displayed.

How do I download Microsoft products from MSDN Subscriber Downloads?

You must first successfully complete the registration process and enter MSDN Subscriber Downloads with an active Microsoft Passport.

I cannot find a product in MSDN Subscriber Downloads.

A product might be unavailable for several reasons:
  • The product is not included in MSDN Subscriptions.  Some Microsoft products are not included in MSDN Subscriptions due to special licensing terms, technical restrictions, or developer relevance. If you would like to request a product be added to the subscription, please use the Contact Us Web form to submit your request. Please visit the MSDN Index for a complete list of all discs currently included in MSDN Subscriptions.
  • The product is publicly available.  Some tools, SDKs, DDKs, and service packs are publicly available from MSDN Downloads or the Microsoft Download Center. Such products are typically not published to MSDN Subscriber Downloads.
  • The product has not yet released.  Many pre-release (beta) versions and release candidates are posted to MSDN Subscriber Downloads. However, not all betas can be included.  Some betas require special registration or eligibility. For more information about open technical beta programs, please visit BetaPlace, sign in to Passport, then enter using the Guest ID BetaReq.
  • The product is not available due to past Java settlements.  Due to past Java settlements we have had to re-release or phase out the distribution of several product families.  This does not affect current installations, copies you may already have, or support timetables. More information is available from the Microsoft Java Transition page.  The major product families that have been removed from MSDN Subscriber Downloads are:  
    • BackOffice Server 2000
    • MapPoint 2002
    • Office 97
    • Office 2000
    • Project 2000
    • SQL Server 7.0
    • Visio 2000
    • Visual Basic 5.0
    • Windows 98 (Except SE)

When I try to download a file, I receive an error saying File Transfer Manager failed to start.

File Transfer Manager (FTM) is an ActiveX control that should install automatically. Please follow these steps:
  1. Clear cookies and temporary Internet files from your browser.
  2. Set as a trusted site.
  3. Set your security level to low or medium/low.
  4. Set your browser to automatically update when a new page is available by following these steps:
    A. In Internet Explorer, go to Tools|Internet Options.
    B. On the General tab, click "Settings" in the Temporary Internet Files section.
    C. In the "check for newer versions of stored pages" section choose automatically.
    D. Click OK
    E. Click OK

Ensure that you are logged in as an Administrator, and try downloading again.

What are the system requirements for using MSDN Subscriber Downloads?

For optimal usage, MSDN recommends the following hardware and software requirements:

  • PC with 486/100 MHz processor or higher
  • Microsoft® Windows® 95 or later operating system or Microsoft® Windows NT® 4.0 Workstation operating system version 4.0 or later
  • 16 MB of RAM for Windows 95 or later (32 MB recommended), 24 MB for Windows NT Workstation 4.0 (32 MB recommended)
  • 5 MB additional hard disk space for program files (additional space required for each download item)
  • VGA or higher resolution monitor (SVGA resolution recommended)
  • Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
  • Internet Connectivity (high speed connection recommended)
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or later versions

How do I locate products?

To browse the content and download files available to you, navigate through the table of contents (TOC) on the left. In the TOC the products are placed in categories such as "Platforms," "Developer Tools," "Servers." You can expand the categories by clicking on the category name. Each product in the category will be listed.

To download software, click on an item in the TOC. When you select it, a short description of the software will be displayed along with other pertinent information. Click on the download link to start the download. Note: Please verify that you have enough hard disk space before commencing the download process.

Choosing the download link will open up a "Save As" dialog followed by the Microsoft File Transfer manager that shows the progress of current downloads. Note: the first time you download you may be presented with a dialog box to install File Transfer Manager. The Microsoft File Transfer Manager supports encrypted, unattended software downloads. In case of interruption or an aborted download, Microsoft File Transfer Manager will automatically re-attempt file transfer (up to the limit you set in the Microsoft File Transfer Manager Options) and resume the download process at the point of interruption.

What are ISO image files and how do I use them?

Many products are posted as ISO-9660 image files. An ISO-9660 image file is an exact representation of a CD, including the content and the logical format. The most common use of an image file is to write it to a blank CD-R resulting in an identical copy of the original CD including file name and volume label information. ISO image files may also be opened and their contents copied to a local folder, much like ZIP files. ISO files may also be virtually mounted and accessed as a CD-ROM device. These three methods of using ISO images are described below.

Writing ISO files to CD-R
Most CD-R writing software includes a feature to create a CD from an image file. Below are instructions for some popular applications:

Easy CD Creator� 5

  • From the File menu, choose Create CD from image file. Easy CD Creator assumes the file extension is .CIF so enter the full path and filename, or rename the .ISO file to .CIF.

ISO Recorder

ISO Recorder is a third-party add-on for Windows XP that adds image file writing capability:
  • Right-click an image file and choose Copy Image to CD.

Nero Burning ROM

  • In Nero, from the File menu, choose Burn image. For more information please see the Nero Burning ROM support FAQs.

After a CD-R has been written, you can use the CRC tool to verify that the CD-R was correctly written.

  1. The CRC305.exe tool can be downloaded from MSDN Subscriber Downloads in the Tools, SDKs, DDKs folder.
  2. From a command prompt, run CRC305 filename (where filename is the image file name.)
  3. Run CRC305 x: (where x is the drive letter of the CD-ROM drive containing the CD-R). The CRC values should match.
Copying the contents of ISO files
The contents of image files may be accessed directly using third-party tools. Using this method you can extract the files from an image file to a temporary folder on your hard drive, then run setup. The following tools offer such image file support: Mounting ISO files virtually
The following tool for Windows XP allows image files to be mounted virtually as CD-ROM devices. This tool is provided here for your convenience, and is unsupported by Microsoft Product Support Services.

Is there a limit to the number of times I can download?

Yes, you may download any one file up to 10 times.

I can't log in to MSDN Subscriber Downloads. What could be wrong?

If you receive an error message or if your browser times out, try these steps. If this does not work, please contact us.

  1. Close all Internet browser windows.
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    Select Internet Options...
    Click the Settings button
    Click the View Files button
  5. Delete all cookies with "MSDN" in them, or alternatively delete all cached files.
  6. Click OK and close all dialog boxes.
  7. Go to MSDN Subscriber Downloads and sign in to Passport.

If are are running IE 6.0 and are still unable to access MSDN Subscriber Downloads, try these steps:

  1. Close all IE browser windows.
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    Select Internet Options...
  3. Select the Security tab.
  4. Click the Trusted sites icon.
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  6. Enter and click Add.
  7. Click OK once.
  8. Select the Privacy tab and click Edit.
  9. Enter and click Allow.
  10. Click OK 2 times.
  11. Try to access MSDN Subscriber Downloads.

I've tried to download a specific product multiple times. Although my downloads have been unsuccessful, my download count is incremented each time. I've reached my download limit, yet I do not have a complete download.

The download count should be incremented only upon successful download. Contact MSDN Customer Service, provide an explanation, and request that your limit be extended.

When will software that is available from MSDN Subscriber Downloads be shipped to me?

The Internet allows us to provide you with more immediate access to products than through the physical distribution channel. If a product has been posted to MSDN Subscriber Downloads, it will most likely be available in your next shipment. In order to provide you with the most recent and optimal packaging of products, discs are updated as much as possible prior to each shipment. Some products are made available exclusively from MSDN Subscriber Downloads.

Why does the site appear blank or display "garbage" characters?

The MSDN Subscriber Downloads site uses UTF-8 character set encoding for content display. In order to view the site, you must have support for UTF-8 in your browser and it must be selected (auto-selection of encoding is acceptable). Please see Browser Config for MSDN.exe (a self-extracting executable that expands to an RTF document) for detailed instructions for configuring Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. Instructions are in English, Japanese, and Traditional Chinese.

Why does the required disk space exceed the size of the file I am downloading?

The current version of File Transfer Manager always reserves 10MB of disk space on a drive. This space may be needed by other applications or the operating system to function smoothly (e.g., for backup or other temporary files associated with an application, page files for virtual memory, etc.).

Are there any eligibility restrictions to MSDN Subscriber Downloads?

The requirements for eligibility to MSDN Subscriber Downloads are as follows:

  • Subscription status must be active. Note: If you have acquired a license to use the MSDN Subscription software via the Microsoft Open License Program and/or the Microsoft Select Licensing Program you will not have access to MSDN Subscriber Downloads unless you have registered online.
  • Subscribers must validate their identity to Microsoft through the registration process. Upon completion, subscribers will use their chosen Microsoft Passport for subsequent site access.
  • This Passport should not be shared and should be treated in such manner consistent with the licensing agreement.

How does this site differ from the MSDN Online Library? Can I be a member of both?

MSDN Subscriber Downloads is a benefit limited to MSDN Subscribers. The MSDN Online Library contains the latest information on Microsoft technologies and is free to the public at An MSDN Subscriber can participate in both sites.

I have multiple MSDN subscriptions. Can I have multiple registrations for MSDN Subscriber Downloads?

You are recognized by Microsoft as a single customer and therefore granted one user name and password. You will have online access corresponding to your highest level of subscription. For example, if you have both a Professional and a Universal subscription, you will be automatically granted access to Universal content.

What information is needed to register?

MSDN Subscriber Downloads requires the following information for validation:

  • MSDN Subscriber ID number
    If you are an MSDN subscriber, this is located on your subscription card. If you are an Microsoft Certified Partner, this is located in your Microsoft Certified Partner documentation.
  • First Name
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    This is the e-mail address associated with your subscription, which can be different from the e-mail address of the Passport you are using to access the site.

Microsoft Certified Partners please Note: Use your Technical Contact profile information to complete registration.

Can I use my current Passport to access MSDN Subscriber Downloads?

Yes. If you've signed up for a Passport before, or if you have a Hotmail® or e-mail address, you already have a Passport. When prompted to provide Passport information, just use the sign-in name and password you already use for those services. Note that this Passport will become permanently associated with your subscription so you may want to create a subscription-specific Passport.

What are other subscribers saying about MSDN Subscriber Downloads? Is there a newsgroup?

We have setup a new NNTP newsgroup as an open subscriber-helping-subscriber discussion forum for the MSDN Subscriber Downloads site. Please note that this is a public discussion newsgroup for all MSDN products. Please do not post any personal information about you or your subscription to this newsgroup.

    How to Connect
    1. With your newsgroup viewer of choice, setup a connection to Microsoft's public newsgroup server at If you are using Outlook Express as your news reader, you can add this server to your list through the Tools | Accounts menu.
    2. Subscribe to our public newsgroup at: microsoft.public.msdn.general
    3. You can also access this newsgroup via our Web-based newsreader.

    Newsgroup Support
    If you are having problems connecting to this newsgroup or you have general comments/concerns, please send an e-mail to MSDN via the Contact Us Web form.

I think I found a bug. How do I report it?

We welcome your bug reports! They help us make a better site and upon fixing them, will help other MSDN Subscriber Download users have a better experience with the site.

To help us trouble-shoot your bugs, send us a message using the Contact Us Web form and please supply the following information:

  • A full description of what you were doing, what you were expecting to happen, and what actually happened
  • Your system's configuration (example: DELL OptiPlex 133, 64 MB RAM, 8 GB hard drive)
  • Operating system and version (example: Windows NT 4.0 Workstation Service Pack 4)
  • Browser and version (example: Internet Explorer 4 Service Pack 1)
  • Date/time of the incident
  • If you can reproduce it and the steps it takes to do so

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General Questions

Can I benchmark the Microsoft .NET Framework?

Yes. As per the licensing agreement customers can setup and run their own benchmarks of the .NET framework for technical evaluation purposes. You may not disclose the results of any benchmark test of the .NET Framework to any external third party outside your organization without Microsoft�s prior written approval. You can e-mail for more specific details on obtaining this approval.

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If you purchased your subscription from a retailer, you need to activate your subscription to begin shipments. You can activate your subscription online, call your local MSDN Customer Service Center (1-800-759-5474 for North America), or send in the activation card included in the retail box.

Where can I find my Subscriber ID?

An MSDN paid subscriber will find their Subscriber ID on the MSDN Subscription Card, or via an email from MSDN. Subscriber ID cards are sent to you when you start your subscription. If you are unable to locate your Subscription ID, please contact customer service.

How often are the updates sent out?

MSDN Universal, Enterprise, Professional, and Operating Systems can expect to receive shipments most months throughout the year. MSDN Library ships quarterly.

How long does it take to ship subscription media?

Subscriptions purchased in North America and shipped within North America, should arrive within 2-3 weeks of activating the subscription. Updates ship periodically during the subscription term. Delivery times outside of North America can vary dependent on manufacturing and/or import requirements.

What is your return policy?

MDSN Subscription Services has a 30-day money back guarantee policy from the date of purchase.

Some resellers have very low prices for MSDN Subscriptions - are these offers legitimate?

The sheer volume and ever changing number of offers and resellers precludes Microsoft from validating every offer in the market. As is the basis for any general purchasing decision you may make, it is in your best interest to thoroughly investigate the seller. However, the following are some warning signs to look out for:

  • A price that is "too good to be true."
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MSDN Academic Alliance is an annual membership program designed specifically for academic labs, faculty, and students in the curriculum areas of Computer Science, Engineering, and Information Systems. The program has two primary goals:

  1. Make it easier and less expensive for schools to obtain Microsoft developer tools, platforms, and servers for instructional and research purposes.
  2. Build a community of instructors who can share curriculum and other learning resources to support the use of these technologies.

For more information on MSDN Academic Alliance, visit

The MSDN Academic Edition is for individuals working or studying at an accredited academic institution and want to receive their own individual subscription. Click the "Academic pricing" links in MSDN Subscriptions Pricing for more information.

What is the difference between TechNet and MSDN Subscriptions?

MSDN Subscriptions is for developers of Windows-based applications and anyone who uses Microsoft development tools. MSDN Subscriptions benefits currently include: Quarterly updates of the MSDN Library; Development Platform discs that deliver API-level SDKs, DDKs, and operating system software; Server discs; and Office Developer and Visual Studio discs.

TechNet Subscriptions are for support professionals, system integrators and administrators, and MIS professionals. TechNet is a yearly subscription delivering monthly shipments of the most current evaluation, deployment and support information on all the Microsoft business products, including software drivers and patches. TechNet is one of the best investments for IT Professionals making high-level decisions on technology, deploying new systems and providing system support.

I am an MSDN Subscriber outside of the U.S. Do I qualify for the MSDN Magazine promotion?

No. Unfortunately, we are only able to offer this promotion to MSDN Universal Subscribers in the U.S. and Canada.

I already have an MSDN Magazine subscription, and I noted you are now doing a promotion for the magazine in the U.S. Do I qualify?

Yes. If you are an active MSDN Subscriber in the U.S. or Canada, you can register for the free promotion and an additional year will be added on to your existing MSDN Magazine subscription.

I only have 3 months left on my MSDN Subscription. Do I qualify for the MSDN Magazine promotion?

Yes. If you are an active MSDN Subscriber in the U.S. or Canada, you can register for this free promotion, regardless of how many months are remaining in your subscription.

Can I use the MSDN Logo when advertising my company, services, or applications?

No. The MSDN logo is a registered trademark.

Do MSDN subscriptions include pre-release (beta) software?

MSDN Subscribers receive many generally available pre-release software versions. MSDN Subscriptions do not include alpha or early beta software under "NDA" (non-disclosure agreements). Many betas are made available to MSDN Subscribers exclusively via MSDN Subscriber Downloads.

Do MSDN subscriptions include the Installable File System Kit (IFS Kit)?

No, MSDN Subscriptions include SDKs and DDKs for developing Windows applications and drivers. The IFS Kit is a specialized kit targeted at file systems developers, and is not part of the Windows DDK. Please visit for more information about the IFS Kit and how to get it.

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SBS Standard Edition is included in MSDN Universal and Enterprise subscriptions (beginning January 2004). SBS Premium Edition includes a "premium technologies" CD that includes SQL Server 2000, ISA Server 2000, and their latest service packs. This premium technologies CD is not included as such in MSDN because these products are already included. The premium technologies CD is available from MSDN Subscriber Downloads.

Do MSDN subscriptions include Windows XP Embedded?

Windows XP Embedded Evaluation software is available for download. Windows XP Embedded is licensed only to OEMs through authorized Microsoft Embedded System Distributors.

Licensing Windows XP Embedded for Distribution
The licensing process for the non-evaluation version of Windows XP Embedded involves two steps: purchasing a license for Windows XP Embedded, and purchasing a runtime license for each device.

Windows XP Embedded
To create a customized Windows XP Embedded image, you must first purchase a license for Windows XP Embedded, which contains Windows Embedded Studio, the development tools necessary to build runtimes.

Runtime Licenses
A runtime operating system license is required in order to sell devices containing the customized Windows XP Embedded image.

Visit the Windows Embedded site for a list of distributors and important licensing information.

Do MSDN subscriptions include Windows CE .NET?

No, however Windows CE .NET Evaluation software is available for download. Windows CE .NET is licensed to OEMs through authorized Microsoft Embedded System Distributors.

Licensing Windows CE .NET for Distribution
The licensing process for the non-evaluation version of Windows CE .NET involves two steps: purchasing a license for Windows CE .NET, and purchasing a runtime license for each device.

Windows CE .NET
To create a customized Windows CE .NET, you must first purchase a license for Windows CE .NET, which contains Platform Builder, the development tools necessary to build runtimes.

Runtime Licenses
A runtime operating system license is required in order to sell devices containing the customized Windows CE .NET image.

See the Windows Embedded site for a list of distributors and important licensing information.

Do MSDN subscriptions include Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003?

No. Windows Storage Server is not extensible, and is available pre-installed by Original Equipment Manufactures (OEM�s) only.

Do MSDN subscriptions include Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE)?

No, however Windows PE is available via several channels. Windows PE is licensed to Volume license customers as a benefit of Microsoft�s Software Assurance and Enterprise Agreement programs. A developer version can be licensed by qualified independent software and hardware vendors (ISVs and IHVs) that are investigating a software product that utilizes Windows PE as a preinstallation platform. To learn more about licensing and availability for ISV�s and IHV's , please send email to that includes a contact name, company name, address, telephone number, and a brief description of the intended development plans using Windows PE. Please send only licensing questions�general inquiries cannot be fielded. Please visit for general information about Windows PE for volume license customers or send email to for general inquiries.

Do MSDN subscriptions include Microsoft Class Server?

MSDN Subscriptions and MSDN Academic Alliance do not include Microsoft Class Server. Please visit Microsoft Education for evaluation and purchase information.

Do MSDN subscriptions include tools to develop applications that target Windows Mobile-based PocketPC and Smartphone?

Yes. The most common tools for developing for Windows Mobile-based devices are:
  • eMbedded Visual Tools 3.0 � 2002 Edition, for Pocket PC 2002 and Smartphone 2003.
  • eMbedded Visual C++ 4.0, for Pocket PC 2003 and Smartphone 2003 with the appropriate SDK installed.
  • Visual Studio .NET 2003, for managed code development in C# on Pocket PC 2000, Pocket PC 2002, Pocket PC 2003 (requires SDK) and Smartphone 2003 (requires SDK).
The eMbedded Visual Tools for Windows Mobile devices are freely available from Developer Downloads. MSDN Universal, Enterprise, and Professional subscriptions include eMbedded Visual Tools 3.0 � 2002 Edition, eMbedded Visual C++ 4.0 and the SDKs for Pocket PC and Smartphone 2002 and Pocket PC and Smartphone 2003 (available from MSDN Subscriber Downloads). These tools include emulation environments for testing your application on a PC.

For an introduction to developer tools for Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs and Smartphones, please visit MSDN Online. General Windows Mobile development information can be found at

Do MSDN subscriptions include operating systems for Windows Mobile devices?

No. Please see your device manufacturer or service provider for operating system installation and upgrade information.

How do I build Web sites that target mobile devices such as PocketPC and Smartphone?

The Mobile Internet Toolkit allows you to build Web applications with server-side technology to deliver markup to a wide variety of mobile devices. For more information, please visit MSDN Online.

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For product-specific questions and notes, please check the Release Notes.

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