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is it possible to deactivate product keys on test systems from the MSDN account? RRS feed

  • Question

  • hi - I don't have an MSDN license, but if I did, I'm curious if is it possible to deactivate a product key on test systems from the MSDN account? So for example, if I am running a test lab and have various OSs running on several different boxes, if I want to disable the product keys for the OS on several of those boxes so that I can transfer it to a different test box, can I do it by logging in to my MSDN account?

    thx,

    rob

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012 7:18 PM

Answers

  • I'm not sure that you can deactivate a Microsoft product. When you activate you use one activation, and each key has a number of activations. When you reach the activation limit the key is used up.

    MSND retail keys has 10 online activations, then at least 15 phone activations. After that you has to be lucky if you can do any more activations on that key. Other keys, like Windows Server keys is MAK keys, and has a specific numbers of activations, normally 500. When you have activated 500 times, you have to buy a new key (sub).

    So deactivating MSDN keys will not work, since they only register activations, and not how many computers that actually use that key.


    Kenneth Myhre

    http://myhken.com/

    Wednesday, December 26, 2012 8:14 PM

All replies

  • Thanks for the question Rob.  I think I need a little more info to answer you correctly.

    Are you intending to deactivate windows on some machines so you can use them on others?   If so, that's actually not how MSDN works.  MSDN licenses *you* to use the software, it doesn't license a certain number of machines or number of installations or copies or anything.  If you're licensed, and you're following the terms of the license (i.e. development and test use only), then the MSDN license covers you and you dont need to shuffle software around in order to stay licensed.   Each key in MSDN has multiple activations on it, so you can use the same key in multiple machines.  So unless you individually are installing windows on many many machines, you'll be fine with an MSDN license.  If you run into a limit, you can contact MSDN Subscriptions Customer Service and request more keys for your use.

    Does this help answer your question? or if not, can you help me understand what you're trying to do with the deactivation? and why you think having all of your test boxes covered under MSDN wouldn't work for you?

    Thanks,
    Mike


    MSDN and TechNet Subscriptions Support
    Read the Subscriptions Blog!

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012 10:55 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Mike. You understood my question correctly that I have a lot of systems and will easily bump into the limit. If there was a mechanism to deactivate one and use on another, that would be ideal for me. It sounds like that probably doesn't exist from what you said.

    I didn't know that there was an option to request more keys. 

    I guess there's a 2nd part to my question, and that is, if I deactivate windows from the system itself, the box that I am no longer going to use for test purposes, will that free up that license to the pool?  (I understand that I can call, but if I can take care of it locally that may be easier for me, plus there may be a limit to the number of licenses that I can get.)

    thx,
    rob

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012 11:51 PM
  • hmm well I think my point is is that MSDN licenses you for all of it, so there may not be a need to deactivate and switch, at least under MSDN.

    The note about additional keys comes in the top section here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/subscriptions/cc137104.aspx where it says:

    Please note that each product key has multiple activations and many products allow you to install and use the product without activation for 30 days or more. Our research on historical key claiming patterns shows that the majority of subscribers are not impacted by these changes. However, if activating a product key multiple times does not meet your needs or you’ve exhausted the activations, you can submit a request for additional keys through MSDN Customer Service.

    I think what you're asking in your second part of the question is "if my key has 10 activations, and I use one of them for a machine, can I get it back to use on another machine when I want to, and still have only used one?"  The answer to this is no, you can't, certainly not automatically. This is why we suggest not activating unless you know you'll need to.  If you can do this by calling, I think its more likely that when you call in they increase the maximum you have rather than giving you one back that you used before.  

    Good questions, let me know what you think.

    Thanks,
    Mike


    MSDN and TechNet Subscriptions Support
    Read the Subscriptions Blog!

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 5:58 PM
    Moderator
  • hi Mike - If I can't do it "automatically", would the manual method work?

    I prefer to activate so that it looks like a customer system (most of them) and so that I don't get pop-ups telling me that the system is not activated. Plus I don't have to be concerned about the 30 day limit. 

    I would prefer not having to make a phone call, but if that's the only way, then I would do it. Phone calls usually aren't quick, easy, etc...

    In the end, if a manual removal at the system in question is workable, in general, that would be my preference. 

    I appreciate you taking the time to respond!

    thx,
    rob

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 10:08 PM
  • No problemo!  Sorry its been a few days since my last response.

    Just so you know where I'm coming from as I answer these questions, what MSDN does is leverage existing Windows Activation technology to set up their Subscribers for Windows......  In fact, to say this more precisely, I'd put it as the Windows team takes their technology and implements specific rules that are separate for MSDN Subscribers.   This is kind of why I'm dancing a bit around your question, as I'm an MSDN guy, not a Windows guy, and I don't know the dark inner workings of the Activation world.  

    *if* deactivation is possible, then its an activation technology you'd be using, not an MSDN one. Based on my history with Microsoft, I highly doubt it is possible to deactivate, but if it is, the only way would be to call the Windows activation folks over the phone and discuss with them. I'm sorry if this feels like a non-answer to you.

    Product Keys are something that Microsoft views as very valuable, so our technologies are designed around treating them carefully and safely.  Unfortunately this doesn't always make them the most flexible things to work with.

    Thanks,
    Mike


    MSDN and TechNet Subscriptions Support
    Read the Subscriptions Blog!

    Wednesday, December 26, 2012 4:40 PM
    Moderator
  • I'm not sure that you can deactivate a Microsoft product. When you activate you use one activation, and each key has a number of activations. When you reach the activation limit the key is used up.

    MSND retail keys has 10 online activations, then at least 15 phone activations. After that you has to be lucky if you can do any more activations on that key. Other keys, like Windows Server keys is MAK keys, and has a specific numbers of activations, normally 500. When you have activated 500 times, you have to buy a new key (sub).

    So deactivating MSDN keys will not work, since they only register activations, and not how many computers that actually use that key.


    Kenneth Myhre

    http://myhken.com/

    Wednesday, December 26, 2012 8:14 PM