Microsoft is committed to protecting the integrity of the Visual Studio subscription program and the value of the software and benefits that the program’s legitimate subscribers receive for their investment. In support of this commitment, Microsoft implemented the following changes on July 16, 2012:
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 Visual Studio Subscription Customer Service.
There are no changes to Visual Studio licensing at this time (including perpetual usage of software). Learn more about Visual Studio licensing.
Visual Studio subscriptions provide access to a wide range of Microsoft products for designing, developing, testing, and demonstrating applications. Some of these products require product keys during installation, and some of those require activation.
Visual Studio subscriptions typically include five product keys for current versions of Windows and Office products, and three keys for older versions.
Product keys and product activation can be a tricky topic, so we’ve assembled some useful links to better understand and be better prepared to plan out your development and testing environments as a result.
Resources for Product Keys and Activation:
Activation is required for certain products; generally in Visual Studio subscriptions this is limited to Windows, Windows Server, Microsoft Office client applications, and Expression Studio. When activation is required, many products—including Windows and Office—allow you to install and use the product without activation for 30 days or more. If you re-image your computers frequently (at least once every 30 days), consider NOT activating the product. Product keys supplied as part of your Visual Studio subscription do not allow unlimited activations of a product.
If you’ve claimed all the available product keys under your subscription and have used up all the available activations, you can request additional keys by contacting your local Visual Studio Subscription Customer Service Center. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If approved, product keys will be accessible in Subscriber Downloads.
Visual Studio subscriptions offer a selection of retail and Volume Licensing versions of Microsoft products. Certain products are available from Subscriber Downloads only in their retail version or only in their Volume Licensing version; some are available in both versions. Generally, products requiring activation, such as Windows, Windows Server, and Office client products, are only offered in their retail version through Subscriber Downloads.
Volume Licensing customers can also download software from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VSLC) 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 must be signed in with the Microsoft account associated with your Visual Studio subscription to view your product keys. Individual product keys are found by selecting the Keys button for a particular product on the Subscriber Downloads page. All keys are also available in aggregate on the My Product Keys page. 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.
Some products bundle multiple editions of the product into a single download. In these cases, the product key entered determines which edition of the product is installed.
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, expired subscriptions can still display keys claimed while the subscription was active, but expired subscriptions are unable to claim new keys. To access previously claimed keys from an expired subscription, you must be signed in using the Microsoft account used with that subscription.
Some keys are provided automatically, such as “static” keys, which you can use as many times as needed because activation is not required. Other keys must be claimed by selecting the Get Key or Get Another Key button for the product.
Product Key Types Listed in Subscriber Downloads
Microsoft is committed to protecting the integrity of the Visual Studio subscriptions program and the value of the software and benefits that the program’s legitimate subscribers receive for their investment. In support of this commitment, Microsoft has implemented daily key claim limits for Visual Studio subscriptions. Daily key claim limits restrict the number of keys that can be claimed per day per subscription.
The daily key claim limit is 10 keys for all Visual Studio subscriptions, including those offered through MPN, BizSpark, MCT Software & Services, and MCT, with the exception of Visual Studio Professional (MPN), which has a daily key claim limit of 7 keys.
Note: key claim limits are subject to change. Please check here for the most up-to-date limits.
If you have claimed the maximum number of keys available with for your subscription within a 24-hour period, you will see an error telling you that your limit has been reached. The limit resets every 24 hours, starting at 12:01 AM PST.
Our research shows that the majority of subscribers are covered by the number of product keys included in their subscription. If you need additional keys, you can submit a request through Visual Studio Subscription Customer Service and it will be considered for approval on a case-by-case basis.
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:
With a Visual Studio subscription, you are allowed to provide end users access to Internet demonstrations of your programs via Terminal Services (Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008) or Remote Desktop Services (Windows Server 2008 R2 and later). Up to 200 anonymous users can simultaneously access your demonstration this way. Your demonstration must not use production data. Visual Studio subscribers are licensed to demonstrate their applications to end users. This Internet demonstration using Terminal Services (TS) or Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is the only scenario where end users without a Visual Studio subscription can interact with the demonstration application when the software is licensed through Visual Studio subscriptions.
This is in addition to dev/test rights, where Visual Studio subscribers can use as many RDS or TS connections as needed.
Enabling RDS Access
Visual Studio subscribers can increase the number of users who can access a Windows Server via RDS by entering a product key supplied in the My Product Keys tab on the Subscriber portal. To obtain a product key, connect to the My Product Keys page and scroll down to the version of Windows Server you are running. Locate “Windows Server <version> R2 Remote Desktop Services <user or device> connections” and click the “Get a Key” button. For example, if you’re using RDS on Windows Server 2012 R2 and your deployment uses user CALs, choose “Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services user connections (50)”.
Five keys of each type are available for Windows Server 2008 R2, and each key will support 20 connections. For Windows Server 2012 R2, four keys for each type are provide and will support 50 connections each.
To enable additional connections in Windows Server:
End users can connect to access applications via RDS as long as the following conditions are met:
If you need instructions for setting up RD Licensing on your server, please see RD Licensing Configuration on Windows Server 2012. If you have any questions, please visit the Microsoft Remote Desktop Services forum.