Here is a collection of several of the questions we received during the SBS 2003 R2 Fast Track Series Session 3 sessions along with their answers.  If you have not attended the sessions yet, be sure to go to: and search for “Fast Track” to register for the 4 different tracks we are offering in the series or view the already recorded sessions from last week or this week.


Q&A Log


1)       Can you install pieces of SBS on 2 or more Physical Servers? Windows Server on one box and Exchange on another?

a.       ANSWER: No, you cannot split the server components of an SBS license across multiple servers.  The SBS Server components must be installed on one server.  You can also find this answer in Question #24 of “The 30 in 30” series we posted.

2)       If I have SBS 2003 R2, can I load SQL 2000 instead of SQL 2005 Workgroup Edition?

a.       ANSWER: If you have an SBS 2003 R2 license, you can downgrade the entire SBS Premium Suite to SBS 2003 Premium SP1 which would allow you to run Windows Server 2003 SP1, Exchange Server 2003, ISA 2004 and SQL 2000 or you can choose to not downgrade the whole Premium Suite and run SBS 2003 R2, Exchange Server 2003, ISA 2004 and SQL 2005 Workgroup Edition.  You cannot downgrade just one component of the suite.  You can also find this answer in Question #32 of “The 30 in 30” series we posted.

3)       Does 5 User CAL = concurrent usage? i.e. you could have 6 users but no more than 5 concurrent?

a.       ANSWER: No, there is no concurrent usage of SBS CALs.  So, if you have 5 User CALs, 5 Users can access the SBS Server.  If you add a 6th User, you would need to purchase an additional SBS User CAL for that User.

4)       The speaker mentioned this 4 fasttrack webcast are available on demand... is that correct..if so what id the link?

a.       ANSWER: If you have not attended these sessions yet, be sure to go to: and search for “Fast Track” to register for the 4 different tracks we are offering in the series or view the already recorded sessions from last week or this week.

5)       When someone buys OEM licenses, then adds SA to that purchase - is that transferable if the PC dies or is upgraded?

a.       ANSWER: If you add Software Assurance to an OEM Server or OEM Office license within 90 days of purchase, then the OEM Server or OEM Office license is transferable with the Software Assurance to a new PC.  If you add Software Assurance to an OEM Windows license within 90 days, the Software Assurance is transferable to a new PC; however, the OEM Windows license is NEVER transferable to a new PC.  If you do not add Software Assurance to your OEM Server or Office licenses within 90 days, then they remain OEM licenses and cannot be transferred to a new PC.  You can find this on slide #40 from today’s Session #3

6)       Do the volume licenses apply to upgrades only or can you put volume licenses on new computers? It was our understanding that volume licenses were for upgrade use only.

a.       ANSWER: You can purchase full Server and Office licenses through Volume License for your PCs and servers.  The only item you cannot purchase a full license for through Volume Licensing is your Windows Desktop Operating System which there are only Upgrades available for through Volume Licensing.  The only way to purchase a full Windows Desktop Operating System is OEM with a new PC or via Retail Box.

7)       Under Open Business and Open you own the license rights to the product in after the 2 or 3 years of the program?

a.       ANSWER:  Yes, licenses purchased through Open Business and Open Value are perpetual licenses and do not expire.  The only things that expire at the end of the 2 or 3 year terms are your Software Assurance benefits which you can choose to renew when they expire.  You can also find this answer in Question #5 of “The 30 in 30” series we posted.

8)       Can customers sign up for Open Value when using Microsoft Financing?

a.       ANSWER: ABSOLUTELY!  Yes, you can definitely use Microsoft Financing for Open Value orders for your customers.  Just be sure to sell your customers the 3 years up-front payment SKU instead of the split payment SKU when using MS Financing since MS Financing will split the payments over three years for you.  Then you receive your full Open Value amounts up front and your customer gets the benefits of monthly payments for their Open Value purchase.  For instance, with the Small Business Desktop Advantage, you would use part # B6K-00050 (up front payment) instead of B6K-00052 (spread payments) if you were processing the order through Microsoft Financing.

9)       Who does the customer pay for Open Value? Do I have to collect payments?

a.       ANSWER: You purchase the Year 1 SKU through your distributor (i.e. Ingram, Tech Data, Synnex, D&H, etc.) and sell it to your customer.  Your customer pays you, you pay your distributor.  It works like any other transaction you process through distribution.  For years 2 & 3, Microsoft emails a reminder to the distributor, you, and your customer that the annual payments are coming due, at which point you purchase the Year 2 SKU through your distributor (i.e. Ingram, Tech Data, Synnex, D&H, etc.) and sell it to your customer.  Your customer pays you, you pay your distributor.  You can view this on Page 3 of the “Partner Guide to Open Value” in the Partner Resources section of the Small Business Desktop Sales Kit that was sent to every Microsoft Small Business Specialist.  The Sales Kit is also available by clicking the link above and accessing it through the Small Business Specialist Exclusive website.

10)   What is the best licensing choice for a 501(c)3 not for profit? They use techsoup.

a.       ANSWER: The Open License Charity Program is designed for 501(c)3 organizations.  If you are not already an Open License Charity provider (no, we are not taking any applications for new ones), then Techsoup is a very good provider to help them facilitate their needs.  You could also contact one of the Authorized Open License Charity providers listed on the Open License Charity Program web page to see about partnering with them.

11)   Is it only Office Pro for the Home use benefits of Software Assurance, or any version?

a.       The Home Use Rights benefit of Software Assurance provides a license of Office Professional for use at home.  You could install just the components of Pro if you only wanted Word or Excel for instance.  You can find out more that the Home Use Software Assurance Benefits website.

12)   As a small shop, I don't have a lot of time to spend figuring out which of these many options is right for each customer (let alone, keeping up with program changes!). Is there a resource I can use where I can tell someone the customer's scenario and they can tell me which option would be right?

a.       ANSWER: You should leverage the Microsoft Volume Licensing desks at your distributors for assistance with these scenarios.  They should be able to provide you with the answers you are looking for.  If you are a Microsoft Small Business Specialist and you have questions about the Small Business Desktop Advantage license, I will be conducting weekly sales forums in the near future where we will go through those questions regarding the Small Business Desktop Advantage offer.  You can register for these forums on the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Exclusive website as these forums will only be available to Microsoft Small Business Specialists as a benefit of the SBSC Program.

13)   If they allow their SA to lapse, can they still transfer the license to new hardware?

a.       ANSWER: Yes, they still have the Volume Licensing rights, which include transfer rights.  They would just lose their Software Assurance benefits.

14)   How many years can you renew the SA benefits on an Open Value purchase?

a.       ANSWER:  The Open Value Program is a 3 Year program, so you would renew your Software Assurance benefits for three years.

15)   We still have not seen this Small Business Desktop Kit and yes we are SBSC, who do we call?

a.       ANSWER: You can access the Small Business Desktop Sales Kit online on the Small Business Specialist Exclusive website or go to the Small Business Specialist Exclusive website and click the “Contact us” button to send them your information to let them know you did not receive it. 

16)   If a company already has an open license, sold by a different vendor, can they purchase additional licenses from my company?

a.       ANSWER: Yes, you would need to provide the Open License Authorization # to the distributor at time of purchase so they know to add the licenses to that Agreement.

17)   Is some kind of licensing tool built into the SBS assessment toolkit?

a.       ANSWER: No, there is not currently a licensing component built into the SBS Assessment Toolkit.  The toolkit is designed to let you have a business and technology discussion with your clients to determine where they are going with their business and then that information would be applied by you to determine which licensing programs/options would be best for them.

18)   Is there an option to do the Small Business Desktop without SBS CAL for not SBS customers?

a.       ANSWER: You can do an Open Value Company-wide Agreement for just the Office Small Business Edition or just the Windows XP Pro Upgrade; however, because of the price discounts built into the Small Business Desktop Advantage, it costs less to purchase the Small Business Desktop Advantage with the SBS CAL than it does to purchase the Company-Wide options for the Office SBE and Windows XP Pro Upgrades independently.  There is an option called the Desktop Pro which is a Company-wide offering through Open Value that provides a Windows XP Pro Upgrade, and Office Professional License and a Core CAL license with 3 years of Software Assurance with an ERP of $1,31 each if your customer would be a better fit for the Core CAL.  It is Part # A07-00256 with split payment or Part # A07-00254 for up-front payments (if using Microsoft Financing) if you are interested in that option.

19)   When utilizing the transition pack to get end-users out of SBS 2003, do we need to purchase user cals for Exchange for example?

a.       ANSWER: Once you apply the Transition Pack, you will need to either apply CAL Transition Packs to your 5 & 20 packs of SBS CALs or purchase independent Server CALs (i.e. Windows Server CALs, Exchange Server CALs, SQL Server CALs, etc.) for the individual servers you bring online.  You can see the part #s for the Transition packs HERE.

20)   Does Small Business Desktop Advantage have to be used only with SBS R2?

a.       ANSWER: No, not at all.  Since the Small Business Desktop Advantage is a Volume Licensing offer, you have full downgrade rights, so it the SBS CAL that is included allows you the rights to access an SBS 2003 R2, SBS 2003, SBS 2000, or older SBS Server.  In addition, if one of the PCs in your company cannot run Office 2003 Small Business Edition for instance, with the downgrade rights, you could install Office XP Small Business Edition instead.  Or maybe a PC does not support Windows XP Professional but could run Windows 2000 Pro, you could use the Upgrade portion of the Small Business Desktop Advantage to upgrade the existing O/S to Windows 2000 Pro instead.

21)   When will Open type licenses be available for upgrades rather than just full license?

a.       ANSWER: Version Upgrades and Upgrade Advantage used to be available through Volume Licensing; however, they were replaced with Software Assurance back several years ago.  There is no current plan to re-introduce Version Upgrades to Volume Licensing since Software Assurance is the Upgrade path through Volume Licensing.

22)   If a company buys licenses under open value and at the end of their three year term they choose to renew SA on that contract what happens when they need new licenses? Do they enter into a new Open Value agreement that will require a minimum of 5 licenses?

a.       ANSWER: When they renew their Software Assurance, that would create their new Open Value Agreement # for another 3 years, so they could just add any additional items to it at any point during that term.

23)   Can you mix User and Device Cals?

a.       ANSWER:  Yes, you can purchase User and Device CALs for the same network.  Just remember to keep track of which Users have User CALs and which Devices have Device CALs.

24)   Do printers count as a Device CAL?

a.       ANSWER: No, printers do not count as Device CALs.  You can also find this answer in Question #3 of “The 30 in 30” series we posted.

25)   Does a member server require 1 device cal or 1 user cal?

a.       ANSWER: No, member servers themselves do not require a CAL they are servers and not clients.  You can also find this answer in Question #11 of “The 30 in 30” series we posted.

26)   Is there an upgrade path from SBS 2003 to SBS 2003 R2?

a.       Yes, there are upgrades from SBS 2003 to SBS 2003 R2 through the Retail Box channel or if your customer has Software Assurance for their SBS Server, then they automatically receive rights to SBS 2003 R2.  You can find out more about the Retail upgrades HERE.

27)   What are the license requirements for a cold DR server under SBS and SBS R2?

a.       ANSWER: You can find out all of the details on the Cold Backup Disaster Recovery Software Assurance Benefit page.

28)   Can you please explain what comes with Software Assurance.

a.       ANSWER: You can view all of the Software Assurance information on the Software Assurance page online.  I would highly recommend downloading the “Benefits Comparison Chart” on that page located on the right-hand side under “Software Assurance Resources.”

29)   Is there an easy and accurate way to find out if a customer's SA is expiring?

a.       ANSWER: Yes, log into the MVLS website for Open Value or the eOpen website for Open Business and look at the Agreement.  It will list the Agreement expiration date on it.

30)   Is the small business desktop advantage a companywide option only?

a.       ANSWER: Yes, you must purchase (1) Small Business Desktop Advantage for every computer in the company.  With the volume discounts, it can often be less expensive than only purchasing some of the included software for some PCs, especially if you are upgrading your software in the next 3-4 years.  (like Office 2007, Windows Vista, SBS “Cougar,” etc.)

31)   With open value the customer is allowed to pay over three years.  Is that due to financing thru Microsoft?

a.       ANSWER: They can choose the split payments option through the Open Value Program which provides them with the ability to pay for their software in 3 equal annual payments, or they can choose to utilize MS Financing and finance their software, hardware, and any services they wish to include as well and it will provide them the ability to pay in monthly payments over the 3 year term.

32)   Is there a transition pack from SBS to STD Server that also transitions SA from the SBS License purchase?

a.       ANSWER: No.  The Transition Pack is a retail offering and would only transition the SBS Server to the individual Server components.  You would be able to add SA to those new Server components through Open Value within 90 days of the application of the Transition Pack though if you wanted SA on the individual Server components.

33)   How could John Smith, using only 1 User CAL, login under multiple usernames? Isn't each username in Active Directory actually a user?

a.       ANSWER: No, we license by physical User, not login name.  Since Mr. John Smith (the actual person) is only one physical User, they would only require one User CAL regardless of how many user names they use. You can also find this answer in Question #2 of “The 30 in 30” series we posted.

34)   If the software assurance has expired what are the customer options to get back on the software assurance?

a.       ANSWER: If customers let their Software Assurance expire by choosing to not renew, the only way to get back onto Software Assurance is to purchase the License + Software Assurance option for the item they want Software Assurance for.  This is why it is very important to talk with your customers who have Software Assurance about activating their Software Assurance benefits and then renewing them when they come up.

35)   Please explain the details and implications of the Small Business Desktop Advantage. What if customer adds other PCs later? Must buy the same SKU again?

a.       ANSWER: Since the Small Business Desktop Advantage is a Company-wide agreement, they would need one Small Business Desktop Advantage license for every computer in their company.  So, if they added 2 additional computers to their company (for example, increasing from 7 PCs to 9), they would simply purchase 2 additional Small Business Desktop Advantage licenses to cover the two additional computers.

36)   Can an existing windows server 2003 server and domain be upgraded/downgraded to SBS 2003 R2?

a.       ANSWER: No, there is no upgrade/downgrade from Windows Server to SBS.

37)   If I get a customer to purchase Small Business Desktop Advantage License with SA, what version of MS Vista will my customer receive?

a.       ANSWER: They will have the rights to use Windows Vista Enterprise and could choose to use Windows Vista Ultimate instead if they wish.


As of October, 2008, platform options (such as the Small Business Desktop Advantage) are now handled through the “Build Your Own Platform” model.  Here is the post that explains this new option for you.


Thank you and have a wonderful day,


Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights