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How to download and install your Microsoft Donation from the Volume Licensing Service Centre (VLSC)

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You can use this guide if you have placed a Microsoft donation request through TechSoup Canada, but aren't sure how to access your donations.

If you have not yet requested a donation, please see our How to Place an Order guide.

Microsoft also offers a nonprofit discount for Office 365 and other cloud services. Technical questions about these programs should be directed to Microsoft.

Getting Started

This is what you will typically receive after requesting a Microsoft donation.

  1. A receipt for the administrative fees associated with your donation. This email is sent by customerservice@techsoupcanada.ca to your organizational email address shortly after submitting your request.
  2. An order-fulfillment email detailing the nature of your software agreement with Microsoft and instructions for signing up with the Volume Licensing Service Center. This email is sent by customerservice@techsoupcanada.ca to your organizational email address within 1-2 days of submitting your request.
  3. A confirmation email stating that your open license agreement has been approved. This email is sent directly by Microsoft to the organizational email address within 3-5 business days of submitting your request. The subject line of this email will read “Welcome to the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center”.

Not sure what we mean my organizational email addressThis section of our FAQ explains where to find your organizational email.

If you have not received one of these emails within 5 business days of submitting your request please confirm that the organizational email address on your account is up to date, check carefully through your SPAM folder, and then contact support at customerservice@techsoupcanada.ca. We also recommend adding <@techsoupcanada.ca> to your inbox’s safe-list.

If your Microsoft donation request has been successfully processed, and you are ready to install your software, please follow the steps outlined below.

If you have trouble with any of the following steps, you are entitled to contact Volume Licensing Service Center support for assistance. Click here for more information about contacting the VLSC.

Step One: Register at the VLSC

The VLSC is an online tool for managing Microsoft Volume Licensing agreements, downloading products, and accessing volume license keys.

Before you can download and install the software you requested, you must register and accept your agreement at the VLSC. 

If this isn't your first donation request and you've already registered at the VLSC, skip to Step Two.

VLSC homepage

To register at the VLSC:

  1. If your organization does not have a Microsoft account you will need to create one. We recommend registering your Microsoft account under your organizational email address.
  2. Once your Microsoft account has been created and you've received a confirmation email, go to the VLSC at https://www.microsoft.com/licensing/servicecenter.
  3. Click Sign In.
  4. Enter your Microsoft account email address and password; then click Sign In. Note, Microsoft may send you a verification code as part of their two-step verification processRegistration Step 4: Microsoft account sign-in page
  5. If you are creating a new VLSC account, you will be asked to confirm your business email address. The business email must match the organizational email that was on your TechSoup Canada account at the time the donation request was made. Registration Step 5: enter your business email address
  6. Your organizational email will receive a validation email that welcomes you to the Volume Licensing Service Center and asks you to validate your information. Please keep this email.
  7. Wait at least 15 minutes and then open this email. Click the link to validate your email address. You'll need to wait at least this long because there is a lag before the VLSC makes the terms and conditions available.  Registration Step 7: confirm your business email address

After you click the link in this welcome email, you should be signed in on the VLSC website.

Step Two: Accept Your Agreement

If you haven’t already, sign in to the VLSC. If you are not able to log into the VLSC, you must contact VLSC support directly.

If you aren't immediately prompted with the terms and conditions on the VLSC, it might take up to 48 hours for access to be granted. Try signing in to the VLSC after this time.

You will need to accept a new agreement each time you place a donation request for Microsoft software.

To accept the agreement terms:

  1. Select the appropriate options for the Country of Usage and Language and click Display.
  2. Review the Open License Agreement, enter your name, and click I Accept.

Step Three: Download Your Requested Software

To download your software:

  1. If you haven't already, sign in to the VLSC.
  2. Choose Downloads and Keys from the navigation bar.  Download Step 2: Selecting the Downloads and Keys option from the VLSC main menu
  3. Find the specific product you want to download. You can download the current or previous version of any product you have requested through TechSoup Canada.
  4. Once you have found your product, click the associated Download link.  Download Step 3: Selecting your product from the list of available software downloads. We have selected Office Standard 2016
  5. Select your download method, language, and operating system type (32-bit or 64-bit) if applicable. This Microsoft support page explains how to check your computer's operating system type. Once you have selected from these three options click Continue.
  6. Multiple files may now appear below, but you only need the file that refers to the product you requested, e.g. “Office Standard 2016 32 Bit English” or “Windows 8.1 Professional 32 bit English.” Click the download arrow associated with your file to begin downloading your installation files. Download Step 6: Selecting the download options and the necessary installation file. We have selected Office Standard<br />
        2016 32 Bit English

Step Four: Locate your Product Key

You can find product keys associated with your software by clicking the Key tab under the Downloads and Keys section of the VLSC. 

There are a few different types of keys, but the simplest option is to use a Multiple Activation Key (MAK). You'll enter this key on each computer where you install the software. 

Each MAK can be used multiple times to activate the software on multiple machines. The number of times you can use the key is based on the number of units you ordered through TechSoup Canada

If you see several MAK-type keys, this just means that your organization has ordered the same product in the past. These keys are listed in order, with the most recent keys at the bottom. 

Locate your product key: Table of available product keys

We recommend copying and pasting your key to a safe place for later use. You will need to enter your key when you install your software.

Not all products require product keys to be activated and used. For products that don't require a key, the Product Keys field reads: "This product does not require a product key."

Learn about other types of keys and activation options if you are installing software on many computers on a network in Microsoft's Product Keys FAQ.

Step Five: Install your Software

If you have completed Step Three, you should now have the installation file on your computer. Not sure where to find it? Try looking for it in your Downloads folder. 

Installation: ISO file sitting in our downloads folder

The downloads from Microsoft's Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) are usually ISO files, not executable (.exe) files, so you need to perform additional steps before you can use one for installation. What's an ISO file? Most simply put, it's a single file containing all the data from a disc, similar to a compressed ZIP file.

We have included three options below for opening and using an ISO file.

If you get an error message at any point during these steps, you can find some troubleshooting tips here. If you are not able to solve your issue, contact the VLSC for support.

Option 1: Mount the ISO as a Virtual Drive

This option is pretty easy if you are only installing your software on one computer and you are using Windows 8 or a newer version.

  1. Right-click the ISO file and select Mount or Mount as Virtual DriveMount Step 1: Right clicking the installation file and selecting the Mount option
  2. A new drive should appear on your PC called DVD Drive, double-click this drive.
  3. In the list of files, find setup. This setup file is an “Application” (.exe) file.
  4. Double-click setup and follow the installer’s prompts.  Mount Step Two: Clicking on the new DVD drive that has appeared in our file explorer

If you are installing the software on multiple computers, or a colleague's computer, simply copy the ISO file onto a flash drive and perform these steps on the computer that requires the software.

Option 2: Extract the Installation Files to Your Hard Drive

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This is a good option if you are not able to Mount the ISO file.

An ISO file is a lot like a ZIP file. If you are familiar with extracting ZIP files, you can use the same method for accessing your ISO file. You may need to use a piece of software like 7-Zip or WinZip.

  1. Create a new folder on your Desktop and give it a name. 
  2. Right-click the ISO file and select the extraction software you would like to use.  Extract Step Two: right clicking the installation file and selecting the extraction software you would like to use. We are using 7 zip.
  3. Extract the files to the folder you just created on your Desktop.  Extract Step 3: Selecting the folder location for your extracted files. Our folder is on our Desktop and is named Office Suite.
  4. Once the extraction is complete, click into your new folder.
  5. In the list of files, find setup. The file type of setup is “Application” (.exe file).  
  6. Double-click setup and follow the installer’s prompts.  Extract Step 6: double click setup.exe

Option 3: Create Installation Discs

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If you are installing the software on multiple computers, and have access to a DVD writer, then burning the ISO to a DVD is a good option.

To burn your ISO file to a disc for easy installation:

  1. Insert a recordable DVD into your disc burner.
  2. Right-click the ISO file and select Burn disc imageBurn Step 2: right clicking the installation file and selecting Burn Disc Image.
  3. Verify that the correct drive is listed under Disc burner. If not, change it. 
  4. Check the box next to Verify disc after burning and click Burn to begin writing the disc.  Burn Step 4: Selecting the correct drive and clicking the Burn button

Once your ISO is burnt onto your DVD, insert the DVD in any computer to start the setup. The DVD can be used multiple times.

Final Steps

Following one of the options above should begin your software installer. From this point, you can follow the installer’s prompts until your software has been successfully installed.

The installer may prompt you for the product key you found on VLSC (see Step 4) or you may be able to continue without registering the product.

For Office Suite products, you can enter the product key by opening any Office Suite application and clicking Account and then Change Product Key. We recommend you do this as soon as possible to avoid interruptions when using your software. 

Final steps: entering your product key by opening an Office Suite application and selecting Account and then 'Change product key'

How to contact VLSC for support

While you can always contact TechSoup Canada with any of your questions, most of your Microsoft/VLSC concerns can be more actively addressed by VLSC support.

VLSC support is included in your Microsoft donation, so if you have any issues with VLSC or your Microsoft software you are welcome to contact the VLSC Support Center.

Si vous voulez un service en français, envoyez un courriel à vlservem@microsoft.com avec votre demande.

Here are some tips for contacting the VLSC:

  • To confirm your identity and your licensing details, VLSC support may ask for the license and authorization numbers associated with your donation. You can find these by logging into the VLSC and clicking Licenses > Relationship Summary from the main menu.
  • If you are not able to log into the VLSC to find your license and authorization numbers, please email customerservice@techsoupcanada.ca and describe your issue. An Account Manager will email your license and authorization numbers to the organizational email address on your account.
  • If VLSC support asks you to call your reseller to resolve your problem, explain that you did not receive the license through a reseller. TechSoup provides a service to Microsoft by administering one of their donation programs, but your licenses were issued directly by Microsoft. TechSoup Canada is not a Microsoft reseller. Our Account Managers do not have the tools required to resolve issues within the VLSC. 

If you need more help, try reading our other topics about common VLSC tasks, including:

Have you tried following these steps, but are still experiencing issues? Try checking out the following resources: