Product Keys and Activation
On This Page
Product keys and activation
Retail and volume licensing
Locating and claiming product keys
Understanding product key types
Daily product key claim limits
Activating a product
Exporting and saving your product keys
Your TechNet subscription gives you access to a wide range of Microsoft products for evaluation. Some of these products require product keys during installation, and some of those require activation.
Resources for Product Keys and Activation:
Subscriber Downloads offers both retail and Volume Licensing versions of certain products, only retail versions of some products, and only Volume Licensing versions of others. Part of this is driven by how the products are sold, because it takes time for Microsoft engineers, testers, and release managers to create, test, and release a version of a product for each channel. There are some products which are only sold in the retail channel while others are only sold via Volume Licensing agreements, though most products are available in both of these sales channels. As a general rule though, products requiring activation such as Windows, Windows Server, and Office client products are only offered in their retail version through TechNet.
Volume Licensing customers can also download software from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VSLC) in order to get Volume Licensing versions of products (and the corresponding product keys). Access to the VLSC is managed by designated administrators within the customer’s organization.
You can find individual product keys on the Keys tab for a particular download within Subscriber Downloads, or in aggregate on the My Product Keys page. You must be logged in to view product keys. When multiple keys exist for a single product, Key Notes will be displayed on the Details column for the download to assist you in identifying which key should be used. In some cases, the same download file will be used for installing different editions of a product but each edition requires a separate product key.
Only subscribers with active subscriptions can download products and claim product keys, so you will not be able to download products after your subscription has expired. In some cases, you will be able to view product keys you had claimed while your subscription was active, but you will not be able to claim new keys. In order to access your prior claimed keys, you will have to sign in using the Microsoft account used with your subscription.
On the Keys column for a particular download, a product key can be claimed by clicking "Get". Some are provided automatically, such as “static” keys where you can use the same key as many times as needed because activation is not required. For products requiring activation, you may be able to claim multiple keys by clicking “Get another key”.
What are the new daily key claim limits?
Each benefit level includes a maximum of ten (10) key claims within a 24-hr period. Note that these limits are subject to change. Please check here for the most up to date limits at any time.
What does it mean if I reach my daily key claim limit?
Reaching your limit means that you have claimed the maximum number of keys allowed for your program benefit level within a 24 hour period. Every 24 hours you may claim another set of keys, up to your program levels maximum.
How do I get more product keys?
Simply wait until 12:01 AM PST of the day following the day when you hit the key claim limit. (For example: If you hit the limit of keys that may be claimed for your subscription at 6pm on a Friday evening, wait until 12:01AM Saturday morning to claim more keys.)
Why has Microsoft limited my access to product keys?
We are acting to protect the value of your subscription. If we did not act to prevent abuse of subscriptions we would eventually have to either limit the products available in a subscription or raise the price of your subscription. We believe that this is the best compromise to continue to deliver the highest value to you while limiting abuse at the same time.
Activation is required for certain products; generally in TechNet this is limited to Windows, Windows Server, and Microsoft Office client applications. When activation is required, many products allow you to install and use the product without activation for 30 days or more. If you re-image your computers frequently (i.e. once every 30 days), consider NOT activating the product.
Product keys supplied as part of your TechNet subscription do not allow unlimited activations of a product. If you have maximized the number of product key activations allocated, you can always supplement your evaluation with some trial versions at the TechNet Evaluation Center.
You can export and save all your product keys from the My Product Keys page so that you don’t need to be online to access them. You can open the XML key list using XML Notepad, Microsoft Excel, or other XML compatible programs. XML Notepad 2007 provides a simple intuitive user interface for browsing and editing XML documents, and can be downloaded from the XML Notepad 2007 page.
To open the Product Key Export using Microsoft Excel: