Windows Server 2019 Downgrade Rights: When Your Customers Aren't Ready to Upgrade

I've talked a lot about the benefits of Windows Server 2019 and why customers should start making migration plans before the Windows Server 2008 End of Support date. But, what if your customers aren't ready to run Windows Server 2019 yet… perhaps they are using legacy business applications that have not yet migrated to the latest technology…

Windows Server 2019 Downgrade Rights

Did you know that many Microsoft software products, including Windows Server 2019 OEM licenses from HPE, include the right to use an earlier version of the software in place of the version that was licensed? These are called “Downgrade Rights”. In addition, Windows Server 2019 OEM license from HPE offer “Down-Edition Rights”, which allow users to run an instance of a lower edition (here, “edition” refers to the named version: Essentials, Standard, Datacenter) of the same generation of Windows Servers. Note: this is applicable only for certain products, and permitted under the product license terms.

In addition, downgrade and down-edition rights can be combined! Let's look at an example… Let's say your customer purchases a Windows Server 2019 Datacenter license. Using downgraded and down-edition rights, they could deploy a Windows Server 2016 Standard Virtual Machine!

Microsoft Downgrade Licenses: How do Downgrade and Down-Edition Rights Benefit Customers?

If you're wondering why customers would need to run a different generation or edition of Windows Server that is a great question. Downgrade and down-edition rights simplify application migration scenarios for customers by allowing them to license the newest Windows Server product, then run an earlier version and/or down-edition of Windows Server to support legacy business applications that have not yet migrated to the latest technology, until they are ready to migrate to the purchased Windows Server license. Then, once they are ready, they can migrate to the purchased license.  

HPE offers downgrade and down-edition kits that include installation media and product key in accordance with Microsoft OEM policies—some options may get discontinued over time, and some options are never released through the OEM downgrade/down-edition program. Most kits are available at the time of server purchase but can also be ordered after the server purchase. Downgrade kits will be fulfilled by Hewlett Packard Enterprise ONLY for a Windows Server license purchased directly from HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise or any of our authorized Resellers.Eligible for downgrade and down-edition and provided by HPE.JPG

Microsoft Server Downgrade Rights: What Your Customers Want to Know

HPE OEM Windows Server licensed customers who wish to exercise their downgrade or down-edition rights have two options.

1) With server purchase: When a customer purchases an HPE OEM Windows Server license along with a new HPE ProLiant Server, they can request the downgrade at the time of purchase. Most common downgrade options are available from the factory and include a DVD installation media and a product key.

2) After server purchase: Customers may also obtain a downgrade kit after the initial HPE OEM Windows Server product purchase by placing a request online at

Customers must be able to provide proof of purchase (such as a photo of the Microsoft Certificate of Authenticity (COA) showing the physical 5x5 Windows Server product key for the purchased HPE OEM Windows Server product). HPE can fulfill a downgrade kit for the same server OS only one time.



With Windows Server 2008 End of Support quickly approaching, many customers will need to migrate to a current, supported, version of Windows Server such as Windows Server 2019. If they think they’re not ready for Windows Server 2019, remind them of their downgrade and down-edition rights!


Willa Anderson
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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Willa manages the HPE | Microsoft Coffee Coaching program. Follow along to learn more about the latest HPE OEM Microsoft product releases and how the HPE Microsoft partnership can benefit partners and customers.