Windows Server 2012 generations product keys compatibility

Abe ​ 1 Reputation point
2021-02-17T00:09:21.977+00:00

In my student years, I got several [legal, of course! :-)] WS2012 product keys and disk images, of several generations and editions:

  1. original generation
  2. R2 generation
  3. "R2 With Update" generation
    • Essentials
    • Foundation
    • Storage Server
    • Standard
    • Datacenter

What I would like to know is this:

  • can I use any/all of my 2012-original and R2 keys with their respective R2-With-Update disk images? if yes but not all, then which ones?
  • can I use any/all of my 2012-original keys with their respective R2 disk images? if yes but not all, then which ones?

Of course, I`m also curious to know whether or not the later keys are also backwards compatible -- i.e. R2WU keys with R2 and original, and/or R2 keys with original -- but this is not nearly as important as the preceding questions [in bullet-points]. ;-)

FYI, I already found windows-server-2012-r2 and Windows_Server_2012_R2_Licensing_Datasheet.pdf and Windows_Server_2012_R2_Remote_Desktop_Services_Licensing_Datasheet.pdf and WindowsServer2012R2_Licensing_Guide.pdf, but I didn`t find what I was looking for in any of that.

Cheers!

-- Abe

Windows Server 2012
Windows Server 2012
A Microsoft server operating system that supports enterprise-level management, data storage, applications, and communications.
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Windows Server
A family of Microsoft server operating systems that support enterprise-level management, data storage, applications, and communications.
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3 answers

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  1. Jenny Feng 14,046 Reputation points
    2021-02-17T07:15:52.407+00:00

    @Abe ​
    Hi,

    1. Yes, you can.
    2. No.
      Licenses have downgrade right.
      Buy keys are not backward compatible. You need to get the correct key for the actual product you are installing.
      https://learn.microsoft.com/en-gb/archive/blogs/licensing/downgrade-rights-explained
      If you need a definite answer you'd better contact your reseller or a trained Microsoft licensing specialist regarding your licensing questions.

    Hope above information can help you.

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  2. Abe ​ 1 Reputation point
    2021-02-17T19:53:41.393+00:00

    Thanks for answering, but it`s still not 100% clear and fully answered.

    1. Yes, you can.

    so... I can use all of my 2012-original and R2 keys with their respective R2-With-Update disk images?

    2. No.

    so... I can not use any of my 2012-original keys with their respective R2 disk images?

    While it`s not technically impossible for both of the preceding to be simultaneously the case, it does seem unlikely.

    This is NOT a question about "downgrading".

    contact your reseller or a trained Microsoft

    My "reseller" was DreamSpark, Microsoft`s "solution" at the time for college students to get free legal Microsoft software from Microsoft.


  3. Jenny Feng 14,046 Reputation points
    2021-02-23T07:51:03.003+00:00

    Hi,
    You can use your keys with their update disk image.
    You cannot use 2012-original keys with their respective R2 disk images, they're different versions.

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