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Basics of Buying

If you purchase software pre-installed on a computer, known as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), then you don’t sign a contract or have a direct relationship with Microsoft. The company that sold you the software should be your first port of call for support.

If you buy boxed software, known as Full Packaged Product (FPP), we offer free "warranty" support to certain boxed software customers through the Microsoft support hotline.

Any business looking to buy more than five licences should consider a Volume Licensing agreement. These two or three year agreements represent good value for money for business customers; there is a range of agreements available, catering for different types of organisations.


Many businesses are now choosing to run software in a virtual environment. This means that operating systems and desktop applications are emulated, and don’t run directly on physical hardware. Virtualisation offers a number of benefits that reduce the total cost of IT ownership and help create a more agile infrastructure. These include server consolidation, easier software disaster recovery, hosting legacy applications and reducing downtime.

Hardware Refresh or Software Only?

You are likely to look at different licensing options when you’re upgrading your hardware as well as buying software. Different terms and condition apply to software use under FPP, OEM and Volume Licensing and we'll gladly discuss these carefully with you.

What Does A Licence Give You?

Unlike hardware such as computers or server units, which you can buy and own outright, software is sold through licence agreements. A Microsoft software licence gives you the right to use particular software and determines how it can be used.

Licences set out the rules that govern how you can deploy software, whether you can transfer software to other users and whether you can downgrade to earlier versions of the software. All licences come with one of two kinds of agreement that explain all the relevant terms and conditions.

Product Use Rights (PUR)

Product Use Rights (PUR) relate to software licensed in quantity through a Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement. The PUR, together with the agreement under which your licence is acquired, governs the use of the software.

There are several ways to buy Microsoft products:

Boxed Software for One Computer

Boxed software or ‘Full Packaged Product’ comes packaged in a shrink-wrapped box containing a licensed software CD for installing on a single computer.

Software Pre-Installed on One Computer

Pre-installed software consists of the programs and applications that are already installed and licensed on a computer when you buy it from an 'original equipment manufacturer' (OEM). You can buy pre-installed software on OEM computers from retail outlets, by mail order or from other software resellers..

Manufacturers often customise pre-installed Microsoft software to suit their specific computer system. If you need technical support for an OEM computer, please refer to the OEM in the first instance.

Software for More than One Computer

If you need to install the same software on more than one computer, you’ll need to buy licences for that software. A software licence gives you the legal right to use a piece of software.

Microsoft Volume Licensing programmes offer companies of all sizes, several cost-effective ways to buy and manage multiple software licences - for as few as two desktop PCs.

Click here to find out more information about Volume Licensing Programmes.

Software for Academic Use

Microsoft has a range of flexible licensing programmes to meet the various software requirements of schools, teachers, students and charities. We can help you to buy at a discounted rate, upgrade or manage software.

Click here to find out more information about Education Licensing

(Last Updated: 22 April 2013)