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Microsoft Volume Licensing Center: An FAQ

  • Comments 7

TechSoup members who have requested and received Microsoft donations are probably familiar with the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). For newer members, or for those who need a refresher, based on the questions you've asked our account management specialists, we have compiled the following FAQ.

1. What is the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC)?

The Volume Licensing Service Center is the single location for Microsoft Volume Licensing customers to view Licensing information, download Microsoft software, and manage Volume Licensing benefits and subscriptions. It is designed as a central online location for your agreements, download files, and your license keys.

2. How do I download from the VLSC?

You can find detailed instructions here.

3. Do I have to go to the VLSC to retrieve the license key? What if I received media?

You have to register with the VLSC in order to retrieve license keys for either discs or downloads.

4. How do I add myself as an administrator to my VLSC agreement?

If a previous user left your organization and you need to take over the account to view and access previous orders, you will need to add yourself as an administrator to your VLSC agreement. To do this, create or use an existing Microsoft account and confirm your email address. Sign in at the VLSC website and again confirm your email address. Request access using the "contact us" form.

5. Do I have to create an MSN or Hotmail account to have access to the VLSC or retrieve my license agreements?

No. You may use an email address of your organization's, though you are free to use an existing MSN or Hotmail account.

6. Does it take longer to install MS software via download vs. media?

The actual installation of the program would be the same, but your receipt of your donation would be faster via download. While the download of the program may take some time depending on your internet connection, shipping time for media would be eliminated since you are retrieving your product electronically.

7. Why doesn't my License Key work? I get an error that says "Invalid License Key."

There may be several reasons for this, but if you encounter this program verify the following:

  • Did you download the correct program?
  • Did you download the full and not trial version of the software?
  • Did you enter the license key accurately?
  • Is the license key compatible with the licensing requested?
  • Have you exceeded the number of attempts allowed by your license key?

8. Why didn't my Microsoft software ask me for my license key?

If you have verified that the program you are using isn't a trial version, some Microsoft titles have licensing information embedded and will not prompt you to enter any information. If you need further assistance, contact VLSC for clarification.

9. Why am I not able to download from the VLSC when using dial-up or slow DSL broadband?

If you are using dial-up networking, or a variant of DSL that is slower and requires a reconnection, your download may not complete in one sitting. Although the download manager will be able to resume your download from where you left off, if you are using a slow connection you might want to request media instead.

10. If I choose to download my software and change my mind, can I get discs sent to me?

You cannot request media after your request has already been processed by TechSoup Global. You may request additional or replacement media through a service provided by Microsoft Worldwide Fulfillment at 800-248-0655. There is a cost of roughly $27-$30 per request.

Kevin Lo | Senior Program Manager, | a part of TechSoup Global

  • We purchased some new computers that came with Windows 7 Home Premium installed.  I ordered the Windows 7 Professions upgrade from TechSoup but when I tried to upgrade, it said that I had to do a clean install or use anytime upgrade.

  • @bullish1

     The upgrades available through TechSoup are for computers that already have specific operating systems installed. The Windows 7 upgrade product pages state: "This is an upgrade product. Only certain editions of the Windows operating system qualify for upgrades under TechSoup's Volume Licensing agreements with Microsoft. To install this operating system, you must have a licensed installation of one of the following operating systems on the device where you are installing the upgrade: Windows Vista Enterprise, Business, or Ultimate; Windows XP Professional or Tablet PC; Windows 2000 Professional; Windows NT Workstation 4.0; or Windows 98 SE. You cannot upgrade from any Home edition of Windows." So the licensing would not work with you current Home edition.

    However! We now have Microsoft's Get Genuine Solutions available for exactly your scenario. Eligible organizations may place only one request ever for Microsoft Get Genuine Windows operating system products. The request may be for up to 50 licenses (your organization is currently eligible for up to 30) of the 32-bit version, the 64-bit version, or a combination of the two. You can find the Get Genuine products here.

    Since you've already attempted an install of the upgrade, the disks are not returnable. For more information, please review the Microsoft Returns Policy

    If you have any additional questions, please contact Client Services.

    TechSoup Client Services

  • If I purchase a Microsoft product, get an activation key through the VLSC, and then later decide to purchase a second copy of the same product (for a second computer, obviously), do I need anything more than a new activation key from the VLSC? In other words, can I use the earlier download (or media, for that matter) with an activation key that I purchase later?

  • You can use the some downloaded file, if you are certain that they are exactly the same product and file. Keep in mind however that separate requests for donations would appear as separate licenses, and even if you don't download it again you should make sure the filename and size is the same, as products may be updated with a newer service pack or update that is not reflected as a full-on product update.



  • Andover_Beacon,

     You would not be able to request additional licenses through VLSC but, if you've been requesting licenses through TechSoup you can simply come back and request more as need provided your organization has not maxed out its allotment for this 2 year period. And as Kevin mentioned above, it would be a separate license. Please let us know if you have additional questions!

    For more information on the Microsoft Program Rules click here:


    TechSoup Client Services

  • kevin, that is a very well written explanation of the VLSC.  I just used the Microsoft Donation program to get 50 Remote Desktop Services Cals for Server 2008 R2.  For the users who have never used the donation program before, this will be very helpful.

  • The business email address I registered here at Tech Soup is rejected by Microsoft VLSC as invalid.  What do I need to do to resolve this?  The FAQ seems to assume it will *just work*...