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Microsoft Donations Program FAQs

Welcome to the Microsoft Donations Program FAQ page! Here you’ll find answers to common questions about the Microsoft Donations Program. To help you navigate this page, please refer to the table of contents below which lists the questions covered in each section.

If you have questions about your account, TechSoup Canada or the technology donations program, please refer to our general FAQ page.

[TIP] Use your browser's Find feature (CTRL + F or Command + F) to search for keywords on this page.

Table of Contents

Click on the Section title (e.g., [ + ]) to expand the questions below, and then click on the Subsection numbers (e.g., [ A.1 ]) to quickly jump to that specific Q&A.

[ + ] Section A: About the Microsoft Donations Program

[ A.1 ]  Is my organization eligible for Microsoft?
[ A.2 ]  How many Microsoft products can I order?
[ A.3 ]  What is a Microsoft Title Group?
[ A.4 ]  What versions of software are available?
[ A.5 ]  How many licenses do I have left this cycle?
[ A.6 ]  What about Office 365 Nonprofit?
[ A.7 ]  Useful Microsoft resources


[ + ] Section B: About the Donated Products

[ B. 1 ]  Do you have full versions of Windows?
[ B. 2 ] Which version of Windows do I need?
[ B. 3 ]  Can my Windows program work on a Mac too?
[ B. 4 ]  I have questions about servers and how to use server software!
[ B. 5 ]  What is “Software Assurance” and what does it mean to me?


[ + ] Section C: Volume License Service Centre

[ C.1  ]  How do I use the VLSC?
[ C.2  ] How do I get my product/license keys?
[ C.3  ] Can I get a Microsoft “Volume License” to cover all my machines? / Why does it say I have 50 licenses?
[ C.4  ] I can’t access my Microsoft VLSC account / I don’t see a download I should have in my VLSC account


[ + ] Section D: Installation and Activation

[ D.1 ] Office is giving me an installation error!
[ D.2 ] Can I buy a copy of Office and install it on my server?
[ D.3 ]  Can I get a hardcopy of my Microsoft software?


[ -- ] Close Table of Contents

 

Section A
About the Microsoft Donations Program

A.1 Is my organization eligible for Microsoft?

If you are a member of TechSoup Canada, log in to your account, click on the “My Organization” tab and check your eligibility/qualification status for Microsoft.

If you are qualified/eligible for Microsoft, you can browse Microsoft Office products in our catalogue and add the products you want into your cart. If you are not eligible for Microsoft, then unfortunately your organization won’t be able to participate in this program. For more information about eligibility, see Section 4: Program Rules and Eligibility on our main FAQ page.

If you aren't a member of TechSoup Canada, the first step is to register with us - it's easy and completely free! Once we have processed your registration, we will let you know if you qualify for the Microsoft Donations Program. A TechSoup Canada account will also give your organization access to discounts and donations from up to 29 other donor partners, which include popular software such as office productivity suites, graphics design software, accounting packages and security programs. Find out how the donations program works for organizations like yours.

A.2 How many Microsoft products can I order?

Starting on the date of your first Microsoft order, your organization can request the following allotment every two years:

  • Request licenses from up to 10 Microsoft title groups
  • For title groups that contain applications that run on an individual computer (like a desktop or laptop PC) or for license-only title groups (like CALs), there is a 50-license maximum
  • For server products, there is a five-product maximum, regardless of title group

There is no limit to the number of times an organization can make a Microsoft donation request within the two-year cycle as long as they have not used up their full allotment. After two years, a new cycle begins and your allotment is reset!

To check how much you have already ordered from your allotment, visit My Microsoft Donation Centre. You must be logged into your account and qualify for Microsoft to access this page.

For more details and examples of how your allotment works, please see: "Microsoft Eligibility, Allotments and Returns"

A.3 What is a Microsoft Title Group?

A title group consists of all Microsoft products that serve essentially the same purpose. For example, all Office Suite products (Office for Mac, Office Standard, Office Pro Plus) are in one title group. A product's title group appears near the top of the detailed product description page, and if you’d like to learn more about how title groups work, please see our Microsoft Eligibility, Allotments and Returns page for more details.

So why are we using title groups? Microsoft wants to give nonprofits the ability to request up to 50 licenses of a product, regardless of the version, edition or language. Using title groups is a more accurate way for us to adhere to Microsoft’s guidelines.

A.4 What versions of software are available?

Below is a listing of all the current versions of the Microsoft software available in our program. For any product you receive, you can choose to download the current version of the software or the previous version. You can download the software in any language that's available.

[ + ] See Microsoft Title Groups (last updated: October 17, 2016)

  • Access
    • Access 2016
  • BizTalk Server
    • BizTalk Server 2013 R2 Standard Edition
  • Core CAL Suite
    • Core Device CAL Suite
    • Core User CAL Suite
  • Dynamics 365 CAL
    • Dynamics 365 for Customer Service (On-Premises) Device CAL
    • Dynamics 365 for Customer Service (On-Premises) User CAL
    • Dynamics 365 for Sales (On-Premises) Device CAL
    • Dynamics 365 for Sales (On-Premises) User CAL
    • Dynamics 365 for Team Members (On-Premises) Device CAL
    • Dynamics 365 for Team Members (On-Premises) User CAL
  • Exchange Server
    • Exchange Server 2016 Enterprise Edition
    • Exchange Server 2016 Standard Edition
  • Exchange Server Enterprise CAL
    • Exchange Server Device CAL
    • Enterprise Exchange Server User CAL
    • Enterprise Exchange Server Device CAL Suite
    • Exchange Server User CAL Suite
  • Exchange Server Standard CAL
    • Exchange Server Device CAL Standard
    • Exchange Server User CAL Standard
  • Office Audit and Control Management Server
    • Office Audit and Control Management Server 2013
  • Office Suite
    • Office Standard 2016
    • Office Professional Plus 2016
    • Office 2016 for Mac
  • Outlook
    • Outlook 2016
    • Outlook 2016 for Mac
  • PowerPoint
    • PowerPoint 2016
    • PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
  • Project Desktop
    • Project 2016
    • Project Professional 2016
  • Project Server
    • Project Server 2013
  • Project Server CAL
    • Project Server Device CAL
    • Project Server User CAL
  • Publisher
    • Publisher 2016
  • SharePoint Server
    • SharePoint Server 2013
  • SharePoint Server Enterprise CAL
    • SharePoint Server Device CAL Enterprise
    • SharePoint Server User CAL Enterprise
    • SharePoint Server Device CAL Suite
    • SharePoint Server User CAL Suite
  • SharePoint Server Standard CAL
    • SharePoint Server Device CAL Standard
    • SharePoint Server User CAL Standard
  • Skype for Business Desktop (Lync Desktop)
    • Skype for Business 2016
    • Lync for Mac 2011
  • Skype for Business Server (Lync Server)
    • Skype for Business Server 2015
  • Skype for Business Server Enterprise CAL
    • Skype for Busienss Server Device CAL - Enterprise
    • Skype for Busienss Server User CAL - Enterprise
    • Skype for Busienss Server Device CAL - Suite
    • Skype for Busienss Server User CAL - Suite
  • Skype for Business Server Plus CAL
    • Skype for Business Server Device CAL Plus
    • Skype for Business Server User CAL Plus
  • Skype for Business Server Standard CAL
    • Skype for Business Server Device CAL Standard
    • Skype for Business Server User CAL Standard
  • SQL Server (Core-Based)
    • SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition (Core-Based)
    • SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition (Core-Based)
  • SQL Server (Server/CAL Based Licensing)
    • SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition (Server/CAL)
  • SQL Server CAL
    • SQL Server Device CAL
    • SQL Server User CAL
  • System Center Client Management Suite
    • System Center Client Management Suite 2016 OSE ML
    • System Center Client Management Suite 2016 User ML
  • System Center Configuration Mgr Client MLs
    • System Center Configuration Manager 2016 OSE Client Management License
    • System Center Configuration Manager 2016 User Client Management License
  • System Center Server Management Suite
    • System Center 2016 Standard

    • System Center 2016 Datacenter
  • Visio
    • Visio Professional 2016
    • Visio Standard 2016
  • Visual Studio
    • Visual Studio Enterprise 2015 with MSDN
    • Visual Studio Professional 2015 with MSDN
    • Visual Studio Test Professional 2015 with MSDN
  • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server
    • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2015
  • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server CAL
    • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Device CAL
    • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server User CAL
  • Windows Desktop Operating Systems
    • Windows 10 Operating System Upgrade (can be used to downgrade to a previous Windows version released within the last two years)
    • Windows 10 Pro Full Operating System – Get Genuine
  • Windows MultiPoint Server
    • Windows MultiPoint Server 2016 Premium Edition
  • Windows Remote Desktop Services CAL or ECL
    • Windows Remote Desktop Services Device CAL
    • Windows Remote Desktop Services User CAL
    • Windows Remote Desktop Services External Connector License
  • Windows Server
    • Windows Server 2016 Standard
    • Windows Server 2016 Datacenter
  • Windows Server Essentials
    • Windows Server 2016 Essentials
  • Windows Server CAL or ECL
    • Windows Server Device CAL
    • Windows Server User CAL
    • Windows Server External Connector License

[ -- ] Close All Title Groups

 

A.5 How many licenses do I have left this cycle?

You can track your Microsoft cycle easily with the “My Microsoft Donation Centre” tab in your TechSoup Canada account. Need help? We have step-by-step instructions on how to navigate and use the My Microsoft Donation Centre.

A.6 What about Office 365 Nonprofit?

If you’re looking for donated and discounted plans for Office 365 Nonprofit, please refer to our dedicated Office 365 Nonprofit FAQ.

Note: The Microsoft Software Donations Program is administered through TechSoup Canada and Office 365 Nonprofit is managed directly by Microsoft.

A.7 Useful Microsoft Resources

Here is a list of useful links and troubleshooting tips for Microsoft:

Back to Table of Contents

Section B
About the Donated Products

B.1 Do you have full versions of Windows?

Yes! The Window OS Upgrade and Get Genuine products are both full versions of Windows, however they have a couple of requirements.

The Windows OS upgrade is used to update your current Windows operating system to one of the more recent versions (currently Windows 10 or you can downgrade to Windows 8.1), and thus requires you to currently have one of the following qualifying base operating system in place:

  • Business, Enterprise, Professional, or Ultimate editions of Windows 8, Windows 7 or Vista
  • XP Professional version of Windows XP
  • Windows 2000 Professional
  • Windows NT Workstation 4.0
  • Windows 98 (2nd Edition)
  • Apple Macintosh

The Get Genuine product is a one-time chance to get your existing computers running fully legitimate and upgradeable Windows operating systems, so it requires you to currently have one of the following non-qualifying base operating system in place:

  • Counterfeit, pirated, or otherwise illegal, unlicensed, or improperly licensed Windows operatings systems
  • Home Premium, Home Basic, or Starter editions of Windows 8, 7 or Windows Vista
  • Home or Starter editions of Windows XP
  • Linux, FreeDOS, or other operating systems
  • No operating systems
B.2 Which version of Windows do I need?

It depends on your current license level - not your version of Windows. Your version of Windows will say something like “Professional” or “Home Premium” after the version name (i.e. “Windows XP Professional”). Depending on the license level, you will need a different product.

The Windows OS Upgrade product is for organizations that have existing computers already have a qualifying base operating system in place:

  • Business, Enterprise, Professional, or Ultimate editions of Windows 8, Windows 7 or Vista
  • XP Professional version of Windows XP
  • Windows 2000 Professional
  • Windows NT Workstation 4.0
  • Windows 98 (2nd Edition)
  • Apple Macintosh

The Get Genuine product is a one-time chance to get your existing computers running fully legitimate and upgradeable Windows operating systems. To be eligible for Get Genuine, you must currently have one of the following non-qualifying operating system:

  • Counterfeit, pirated, or otherwise illegal, unlicensed, or improperly licensed Windows operatings systems
  • Home Premium, Home Basic, or Starter editions of Windows 8, 7 or Windows Vista
  • Home or Starter editions of Windows XP
  • Linux, FreeDOS, or other operating systems
  • No operating systems

Remember, Get Genuine Products are a one-time only donation. Please read our Get Genuine Guidelines carefully before requesting!

B.3 Can my Windows program work on a Mac too?

Not generally. Office for Mac is the only Office product in our catalogue that will work on your Mac. PC versions of any program cannot be installed on a Mac unless you are using a virtual Windows partition. If you’re using a Mac, we recommend that you filter our catalogue for products that are compatible with Mac .

What about BootCamp?
Here's a great article about how to set up a Windows partition on your Mac. You'll need to use the BootCamp utility on the Mac, and then you will need one Windows OS Upgrade license for each Mac.

B.4 I have questions about servers and how to use server software!

Here’s a collection of all our links on Microsoft server products, which have more information and guidance!

B.5 What is “Software Assurance” and what does it mean to me?

Software Assurance (SA) is a collection of benefits included with Microsoft products requested through TechSoup Canada. These benefits include free software upgrades and downgrades, Office Multi-Language Packs, Office suites for use at home, E-Learning courses, and more. Unlike product licenses which do not expire (they're valid for as long as you own the product), SA expire after two years.

Microsoft includes two years of SA with all Volume Licensing products it donates through TechSoup Canada. The only exception to this is the Get Genuine products -- Get Genuine does not include Software Assurance benefits.

For more information, see the article What is Software Assurance?

Back to Table of Contents

Section C
Volume Licensing Service Centre (VLSC)

C.1 How do I use the VLSC?

If this is your first time receiving a Microsoft donation from us, please read our detailed walkthrough!

If you have changed your software licensing email (the email you use for your organization) since your last order but still have access to your Microsoft account, please follow these instructions.

If you have lost access to your Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Centre account, please email us with as much information as you have about the account, and we'll send you instructions on how to proceed.

C.2 How do I get my product/license keys?

The Volume Licensing Service Centre (VLSC) is a Microsoft website to help you get installation keys, download or order Microsoft installation software, and access other benefits. It is also where you must go to access your installation license keys for your donated software.

To use the VLSC, you must first create an account. It's separate from your TechSoup Canada account and our account management team  does not have access to your VLSC account. After you first register at the VLSC, you can later invite other people within your organization to create their own VLSC accounts and can give them access to various parts of the site.

Note: If you had an eOpen account before December 6, 2009, you automatically have access at the VLSC and to any licenses you had at that time.

Use this step-by-step guide to download and install your donations from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Centre.

C.3 Can I get a Microsoft “Volume License” to cover all my machines? / Why does it say I have 50 licenses?

Volume licensing means that you are getting one product key for the total number of licenses you requested. You won’t need to use more than that one key to activate the total number of licenses you requested. This makes it easier to keep track!

It does not mean that a request for one license gives you multiple licenses of that product. The Volume License Service Centre displays your activations as something like 1/50 - tracking the number of activations you’ve used this key for - not that you have 50 licenses available! The site is just set up to show 50 licenses, regardless of how many you ordered. You only have the amount of licenses you ordered - so change the quantity to that number before you order!

And yes, if you need to activate something twice (say you transferred it from an old computer to a new one) it will show as an activation, so it might go from 1/50 to 2/50. This is ok! As long as you don’t have more activated copies up and running than you paid for, it’s ok to re-use the key to re-install the same license on a new machine.

C.4 I can’t access my Microsoft VLSC account / I don’t see a download I should have in my VLSC account

Your best bet in most cases is to contact Microsoft if you’ve followed all the steps in our walkthrough and are still having trouble. We aren’t a reseller, so we don’t have any access to the VLSC and can’t assist in most cases. But it’s okay - VLSC support is included in your donation!

If you still have access to your VLSC account but need to update it, you can update it with these steps.

Back to Table of Contents

Section D
Installation and Activation

D.1 Office is giving me an installation error!

That’ll happen sometimes. Check our troubleshooting post here.

D.2 Can I buy a copy of Office and install it on my server?

Virtualization is amazing, and can help organizations streamline processes well. However, it’s not something you can “figure out as you go”; these types of installations would most likely require you to consult with a professional, who could advise you as to what you need.

You’ll need to make sure you have enough virtual machines to cover everyone, so be sure your server software supports as many as you’ll need. For example, Windows Server 2012 Datacentre edition supports unlimited virtual environments, whereas the Standard edition only supports 4.

D.3 Can I get a hardcopy of my Microsoft software?

No -- sorry! As of October 10, 2013, Microsoft software donations are now electronic delivery only. Minimizing packaging and reducing waste is one of many ways Microsoft and the rest of our donor partners are going green.

If you’d like a hardcopy of your Microsoft software, you can create your own installation DVD, which works just like the packaged one.

Back to Table of Contents