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Best Options For Microsoft Media And Licensing


Lery
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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am starting up my own small computer repair business part time. My main focus is on the home user, but I do have two customers that are small business owners. My problem is with them :-)

This one small business, at some point, worked with another computer business to set things up. He installed Windows XP boxes, Windows Server 2003 box with AD, DHCP, and Exchange Server 2003. A pretty straight forward simple setup. Now the problem is my customer no longer wishes to work with the person who originally set him up. Unfortunately, he has none of the install media or license information. Therefore, if anything goes badly on any of these machines, my customer is screwed. For now, I made images and stored them, so we could at least restore the OS on the machine.

My question is this. What I would like to be able to do is to resell Microsoft licenses along with the media. The media, I feel is an important part for customers to have and own. Most small shops become a system builder licensed partners with Microsoft, which is great until the customer no longer does business with you. I know some will say that is the customer's problem, but that is not the approach I want to take here.

I've searched around Microsoft's site and in order to understand their licensing program and partner program, I feel like I need to have another college degree. Is it really that complicated?

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Most people who are volume licensed get a login to Microsoft website, so you don't need the media you just download the ISO.

And OEMs generally don't provide media any more, but they can and a lot do, provide an "image" of the windows installation. On DVD and some automated mechanism to restore the machine. so the user doesn't have to do

<FavouriteImageProgram> tack tack restore my os

Which imo is better for the end user, because they don't have to actually sit through a windoze install and then find loads of drivers etc. and because the image and process is built for that machine its going to work, unless of course theres a hardware failure.

Some el cheapo metal badge maker, who throws a £10 case/PSU in with a £15 motherboard probably doesn't do this, but i think in this situation you have more to worry about than no windoze cd.

If you want to resell boxed product or Volume licensing to them, you would probably be better going through a reseller yourself and tacking a nominal fee for administration. I doubt they will deal directly with you for one customer. anyway with out the quantity of business you are not going to be competitive.

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Errrrm, perhaps I am missing something, but your customer has the right to demand the licenses from this other person.

If the licenses are OEM then they should have been attached to the case of the system.

You could run something like SIW and extract the license key from the Install, but if Microsoft audited his company, you wouldn’t be able to prove that the systems where legal without the COA.

I don’t think he has to provide the media, but Microsoft should be able to provide replacements for a nominal cost. Double check what version of Server 2003 you are running, it sounds like they are running Windows Small Business Server (SBS) rather than Server 2003 (there are slight difference – and they use different Installation media)

You do not need a degree to become a partner you just need to do all the leg work Microsoft asks of you, from what I remember you need to complete some online exams about the benefits of Windows 7 vs Vista e.t.c.

You could also always buy OEM products from a vendor and resell them (in the UK I have used www.bluesolutions.co.uk in the past)

Edited by MRGRIM
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Errrrm, perhaps I am missing something, but your customer has the right to demand the licenses from this other person.

If the licenses are OEM then they should have been attached to the case of the system.

You could run something like SIW and extract the license key from the Install, but if Microsoft audited his company, you wouldn’t be able to prove that the systems where legal without the COA.

I don’t think he has to provide the media, but Microsoft should be able to provide replacements for a nominal cost. Double check what version of Server 2003 you are running, it sounds like they are running Windows Small Business Server (SBS) rather than Server 2003 (there are slight difference – and they use different Installation media)

You do not need a degree to become a partner you just need to do all the leg work Microsoft asks of you, from what I remember you need to complete some online exams about the benefits of Windows 7 vs Vista e.t.c.

You could also always buy OEM products from a vendor and resell them (in the UK I have used www.bluesolutions.co.uk in the past)

Currently he is using Windows Server 2003 Enterprise installed. I'm under suspicion that these copies might not be very legit. One of the Windows XP machines failed the genuine validation test.

I'm in the US, so does anyone have links or anything to get going? I'm a small time shop, so I really just want to get a high level list of information so I can tell this customer, or others, what to do regarding media and license keys.

FYI, no OEM information is listed on any sticker on the machine.

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Heh ;) that wouldn't be the first time I've seen that.

Can't help with US suppliers I'm afraid, but do a quick search on Google, also make sure you are familiar with the terms of an OEM license.

You just need to inform your customer of the pro's and con's, e.g. if they can't turn up license, then they could run the risk of running without service packs, also if Microsoft did ever audit them they could be in for huge fines (I believe Microsoft goes after a % of revenue backed dated for the history of the product). But I do not know of any companies that have ever been audited.

You'll also need to consider the risk to your business; any Certifications (at least Microsoft based) could be stripped (in the above dooms day scenario)

Edited by MRGRIM
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Heh ;) that wouldn't be the first time I've seen that.

Can't help with US suppliers I'm afraid, but do a quick search on Google, also make sure you are familiar with the terms of an OEM license.

You just need to inform your customer of the pro's and con's, e.g. if they can't turn up license, then they could run the risk of running without service packs, also if Microsoft did ever audit them they could be in for huge fines (I believe Microsoft goes after a % of revenue backed dated for the history of the product). But I do not know of any companies that have ever been audited.

You'll also need to consider the risk to your business; any Certifications (at least Microsoft based) could be stripped (in the above dooms day scenario)

be careful of appearing to "scaremonger" your client, they might just think your trying to sting them for money.

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be careful of appearing to "scaremonger" your client, they might just think your trying to sting them for money.

Yeah, but if the place isn't legal I personally wouldn't touch it.

The other thing to think about, is if this company has been "sold" this software, then I figure they could always persue this other chap via the courts - something I'm sure Microsoft would be interested in as well :P

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I would say it's pretty clear it isn't all above board. There is no reason a customer would be witheld that unless 99% of their customers are in the same position.

Like said, I wouldn't worry about telling them that this smells fishy. I mean, they're in their full rights to find out the truth. It doesn't hurt you either way.

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