How to license and buy Microsoft Windows 11: What You Need to Know

On October 5, 2021, Microsoft released Windows 11: the latest version of Windows. If you have a modern system in your organization, you have probably already been offered the (free) update and perhaps even installed it. However, at Q-Advise we still hear many customers who are a bit hesitant. Organizations that are new to the Microsoft world are wondering how to license Microsoft Windows 11, and organizations that already license Microsoft software are wondering whether they need to update. After all, the update is not mandatory. 

To answer all these questions, in this article we will tell you everything you want to know about licensing Microsoft Windows 11. 

What is Microsoft Windows 11? 

Microsoft Windows 11 is Microsoft’s updated operating system. An operating system is a system that controls everything on your computer, from hardware to software. Windows 11 is the successor to the widely used Windows 10 and has several innovations. First, Windows 11 has a new look, we will tell you more about that in a moment. In addition, Microsoft has added the following features that may be of interest to your organization: 

You now have the option to download not only Windows apps, but also Android apps via the Amazon App store. 

Microsoft Teams is also standard on Windows 11, for all your digital meetings. You can customize more in the interface and use themes that suit you. There is a new screen where you will find all widgets. Here you will also find additional additions, such as voice control. 

What does Microsoft Windows 11 look like? 

As just mentioned, Windows has also received a new look, and this is immediately noticeable. Your screen will look calmer thanks to the semi-transparent windows and new icons. Microsoft Windows 11 also has a modern look due to the rounded corners. What is also striking is that the iconic Microsoft start menu is no longer at the bottom left of your screen, but in the middle. If you don’t like these changes, you can easily reset the settings via Settings > Personalization. 

Various editions of Windows 11 

As with previous Microsoft operating systems (Windows 10 and Windows 8), there are multiple editions available for Windows 11. For example, consider editions from Home to Enterprise, which differ in the number of features they offer. Windows 11 Home, for example, is aimed at private customers. Windows 11 Enterprise is, of course, aimed at organizations like yours. And Windows 11 Pro is again somewhere between Home and Enterprise. 

Ready for the future with Microsoft Windows 11? Contact Q-Advise for expert licensing advice! 

The licensing options for Microsoft Windows 11 

If you want to license Microsoft Windows 11 for your organization, it is useful to know what the options are. Device and user licenses are available for Windows 11. Device licenses are assigned to an individual device and can be used by any user. Windows 11 is installed on that device. User licenses, on the other hand, are assigned to a user. This user may then use Windows 11 on up to five devices. In this article we will mainly talk about device licenses, which are most common in organizations. You can purchase the Windows 11 device licenses in several ways: 

License Microsoft Windows 11 through OEM 

The first way to purchase a Microsoft Windows 11 device license is through OEM. OEM is the abbreviation of Original Equipment Manufacturer and means pre-installed on a new computer. This means that the Microsoft Windows 11 software actually “lives and dies” on this computer. A new license is only required if the motherboard is changed. These licenses are not transferable, as they are installed on the computer. 

Licensing Microsoft Windows 11 through CSP or a volume licensing agreement 

The second way to purchase a Microsoft Windows 11 device license is via CSP or a volume licensing agreement such as Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA). Licenses for Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Enterprise and Windows Enterprise LTSC 2021 are device licenses and upgrade licenses. These licenses require a qualifying operating system on the device on which the Windows 11 license will be licensed. Examples of eligible operating systems are: Windows 10 Enterprise or Pro and Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise or Pro. 

You have purchased Windows 11: what now? 

Whether you purchased Microsoft Windows 11 via OEM, via CSP or via a volume license such as Enterprise Agreement or MPSA, you must activate it before it can be used. Each copy of Windows 11 must be activated with a valid product key. If you purchased your license through OEM, it can be activated via the internet or via your telephone. If your organization works with a volume license, there are three ways to activate Windows 11: 

A Multiple Activation Key (MAK) is a product key used for volume licensing. The name actually says it all, but with this key you can activate the various licenses you have with Microsoft in one go. This method is especially useful for smaller organizations, and for computers that are not often connected to those on the organization’s network. 

Key Management Service (KMS) activation is based on a service hosted within an organization, allowing organizations to activate systems within their network. This means that devices no longer need to connect to Microsoft, but the licenses can be activated within the organization. 

Active Directory-based activation is accomplished through Active Directory Domain Services (ADDS). This service makes it a lot easier for organizations to maintain volume license activations. 

Frequency of updates for Windows 11 

Not everyone is always waiting for updates, for example, no one wants to wait until their computer has been updated before they can join a ZOOM meeting. That’s why Microsoft developed Servicing Channels. Through these channels, customers can indicate how regularly their individual devices are updated for new features. In general, we distinguish two channels: 

General Availability Channel: With the General Availability Channel, releases are released annually with feature updates. As soon as the update is released, it will be installed on your devices, but you can change this to a date and time you set yourself. This channel is available for both Windows 11 Pro and Windows 11 Enterprise. 

Long-Term Servicing Channel: With the Long-Term Servicing Channel, new releases come out with feature updates every two to three years. This channel has actually been specially developed for organizations that enter into a long-term contract for their software, for example hospitals, ATMs or retail systems. These companies’ devices (e.g., cash register systems, medical monitoring equipment) typically perform a single, important task and do not require feature updates as frequently as other devices. It is important that these devices are kept as stable and safe as possible. This channel is available for Windows Enterprise LTC 2021 and Windows 11 Enterprise. 

Is Microsoft Software Assurance included with Windows 11? 

Whether you receive Microsoft Software Assurance depends on the (volume) license you have purchased. Windows 11 Pro and Windows Enterprise LTSC 2021 do not include Microsoft Software Assurance. 

Windows 11 Enterprise does include Microsoft Software Assurance. Microsoft Software Assurance gives you the following rights: 

Virtual Desktop Access: Grants you the rights to access hosted virtual machines in a virtual desktop infrastructure. 

Local Virtualization: Rights to access up to four virtual OSEs on a licensed device. 

MDOP: Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack Tools. 

Flexible Virtualization: rights to install software on servers of authorized outsiders. 

Continuous access to Long-Term Servicing Channel. 

Buy used Windows 11; what you need to know first. 

Our articles are to advise customers about the different possibilities of software products. That is why we also inform you about the different options of Microsoft Windows 11 licenses used. Of course, these licenses can also be purchased. Used Windows 11 licenses are software licenses that are no longer in use by an organization. They have put this software up for sale so that you can take advantage of Windows 11 at a competitive rate. Once again, it is important to know that this concerns an on-premises Microsoft Windows 11 software license. 

Want to license Windows 11 for your organization? 

We hope that you have been able to get all the information you wanted from this article. But we understand that it is all a lot of information and that you sometimes need someone to watch with you to see if everything is going well. 

Fortunately, at Q-Advise we have years of experience with Microsoft services and licenses, such as Microsoft Windows 11. We can therefore help your organization decide whether you want to license Windows 11 or whether you want to update to Windows 11. We look at the interests of your organization, and not at the interests of Microsoft. We are an independent organization. 

Do you also want someone to look with you and advise you about Windows 11 in your organization? Please contact us. Then we can see how we can best help your organization. 

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