With the various way to license your Microsoft product, mislicensing and using the incorrect version of software occurs daily. Here are a few things to take into consideration when licensing your software.
Confusing an upgrade with a full license of Windows 10
A common misconception is that you can upgrade a Windows 10 Home machine to a Windows 10 Pro machine. This cannot be done. A full license of Windows 10 Pro will need to be purchased in order to run Windows 10 Pro on the Home machine. If at all possible, purchase your hardware with a Windows 10 Pro license already pre-installed by the vendor.
Upgrading from a previous version of Windows Pro to the latest version of Pro is only possible with a Volume Licensing agreement. In order to upgrade, there must be a previous version of Pro installed on the device, this is referred to as a base license. As this is not a full version of the license, only an upgrade with new features – there must always be a base license to upgrade from.
Microsoft Office and Office 365 Licensing
There are two types of Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365 licenses, namely Consumer and Commercial.
Microsoft Office is a perpetual license that you will purchase once-off and it is always yours. Microsoft 365 is an annual subscription that allows for all new updates and new features for the period of your subscription.
Consumer products, although they include all the latest and greatest applications, are just that, for the consumer. This means that these are for home use only, they are not licensed for commercial use. These are the products to stay away from if you are running a small business.
Microsoft 365 Family
Although this comes with licenses for 6 people, this product is for home use only. Microsoft 365 Family has been known to be recommended, incorrectly, for small businesses which result in mislicensing as this product is not licensed for commercial use, only for consumer use.
Microsoft 365 Personal and Microsoft Office Home & Student are for one individual and are not often mislicensed.
Full Packaged Commercial Products for Small Business
Microsoft Home and Business is a one-time purchase and includes the following applications – Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook, these are all the tools you require in your small business. This product is licensed for you to use in your business.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard is an annual subscription and includes the following applications – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, Publisher, SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams. Once again this product is licensed for you to use in your business.
Having the incorrect license can have far-reaching consequences for your business. Choosing the correct license from the offset can alleviate this. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.