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Saving money on Microsoft software with TechNet Plus

  • Category: Features

If you have several PCs that you want to purchase copies of Microsoft Windows 7 or Microsoft Office, you can save lots of money by taking advantage of a little known program called Microsoft TechNet Plus. The service, which is aimed at IT professionals, is subscription-based and allows subscribers access to current Microsoft software and unreleased software and their respective software licenses.

Microsoft TechNet Plus costs $349 per year and $249 for renewals each year and with that you get unlimited access to downloadable ISO image files of almost every piece of software that Microsoft makes, including Windows 7, Vista, XP, Office (including 2010), and much more. It's absolutely loaded with everything you can imagine and you get access to it for only $349.

Now you might have a couple questions, like are they full, non-trial versions and how many product keys do you get? So let's take them one at a time.

Is the software non-trial and completely full versions?

Yes. All software available on TechNet Plus are non-trial products that never expire, even if you don't renew your subscriptions (but you will lose access to downloads). Each software is also the full version and are not upgrades or anything like that.

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How many product keys/licenses do I get for each product?

Microsoft typically allows you to generate up to 10 product keys for each product and each product key can be activated up to 10 times on ten different computers. Each version of a piece of software, like Windows 7 Home Premium, gets its own 10 allowed license keys, so that means in total, you really have 100 licenses of Windows 7 Home Premium, 100 licenses of Windows 7 Professional, 100 licenses of Windows 7 Ultimate, etc. The same also goes for Microsoft Office too. Microsoft also makes available 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) downloads of software when available.

As part of the TechNet Plus subscriber terms of use agreement, these licenses are for use by a single person and you cannot share these licenses for free or for profit. In other words, these licenses are for your own use for yourself. In the FAQ, it says "the license grants installation and use rights to one user only, for evaluation purposes, on any of the user’s devices, this may include devices at home." You may not use these products from TechNet Plus in a production setting for commercial purposes either.

How long are the licenses valid for? What if I don't pay to renew my subscription?

The licenses that you have used to install and activate products will still be valid even if you don't pay your renewal fee, but you will lose access to the downloads for the products and the ability to generate new license keys. You are still able to reinstall and reactivate using your pre-generated keys as long as you've saved the download files.

Do I get access to unreleased products, like Office 2010 beta and the next version of Microsoft Windows?

Yes. You will get access to beta and release-to-manufacturing (RTM) versions of products well in advanced of the general public. RTM versions of products typically are put on TechNet about a month before they are available for retail purchase and beta versions can be made available anywhere from a year to a few months ahead of the scheduled release.

All questions aside, TechNet Plus is an excellent way to get multiple copies of Microsoft software for your personal computers without spending all the money it would cost to go through the conventional retail method. Buying upgrade versions of Windows 7 Home Premium can cost around $150, so buying three or more easily makes TechNet a viable option and even more so if you use Microsoft Office.

If you use coupon code TNITQ406 when you purchase your subscription, you'll get 25% off a year's worth of TechNet Plus. (Source)

Some facts and statements about TechNet Plus were sourced from Paul Thurott's article on this subject

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