Welcome to the Microsoft Donations Program FAQ page! Here you’ll find answers to common questions about the Microsoft Donations Program. To help you navigate this page, please refer to the table of contents below which lists the questions covered in each section.
If you have questions about your account, TechSoup Canada or the technology donations program, please refer to our general FAQ page.
[TIP] Use your browser's Find feature (CTRL + F or Command + F) to search for keywords on this page.
Click on the Section title (e.g., [ + ]) to expand the questions below, and then click on the Subsection numbers (e.g., [ A.1 ]) to quickly jump to that specific Q&A.
[ + ] Section A: About the Microsoft Donations Program
[ A.1 ] Is my organization eligible for Microsoft?
[ A.2 ] How many Microsoft products can I order?
[ A.3 ] What versions of software are available?
[ A.4 ] How many licenses do I have left this cycle?
[ A.5 ] What about Office 365 Nonprofit?
[ A.6 ] Useful Microsoft resources
[ + ] Section B: About the Donated Products
[ B. 1 ] Do you have full versions of Windows?
[ B. 2 ] Which version of Windows do I need?
[ B. 3 ] Can my Windows program work on a Mac too?
[ B. 4 ] I have questions about servers and how to use server software!
[ B. 5 ] What is “Software Assurance” and what does it mean to me?
[ + ] Section C: Volume License Service Centre
[ C.1 ] How do I use the VLSC?
[ C.2 ] How do I get my product/license keys?
[ C.3 ] Can I get a Microsoft “Volume License” to cover all my machines? / Why does it say I have 50 licenses?
[ C.4 ] I can’t access my Microsoft VLSC account / I don’t see a download I should have in my VLSC account
[ + ] Section D: Installation and Activation
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If you are a member of TechSoup Canada, log in to your account, click on the “My Organization” tab and check your eligibility/qualification status for Microsoft.
If you are qualified/eligible for Microsoft, you can browse Microsoft Office products in our catalogue and add the products you want into your cart. If you are not eligible for Microsoft, then unfortunately your organization won’t be able to participate in this program. For more information about eligibility, see Section 4: Program Rules and Eligibility on our main FAQ page.
If you aren't a member of TechSoup Canada, the first step is to register with us - it's easy and completely free! Once we have processed your registration, we will let you know if you qualify for the Microsoft Donations Program. A TechSoup Canada account will also give your organization access to discounts and donations from up to 29 other donor partners, which include popular software such as office productivity suites, graphics design software, accounting packages and security programs. Find out how the donations program works for organizations like yours.
Starting on the date of your first Microsoft order, your organization can request the following allotment every two years:
There is no limit to the number of times an organization can make a Microsoft donation request within the two-year cycle as long as they have not used up their full allotment. After two years, a new cycle begins and your allotment is reset!
For more details and examples of how your allotment works, please see: "Microsoft Eligibility, Allotments and Returns"
Below is a listing of all the current versions of the Microsoft software available in our program. For any product you receive, you can choose to download the current version of the software or the previous version. You can download the software in any language that's available.
[ + ] See Microsoft Products (last updated: October 30, 2017)
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You can track your past orders for Microsoft licenses with the “My Microsoft Donation Centre” tab in your TechSoup Canada account.
If you’re looking for donated and discounted plans for Office 365 Nonprofit, please refer to our dedicated Office 365 Nonprofit FAQ.
Note: TechSoup Canada provides access to nonprofit offers of Microsoft products, but Office 365 Nonprofit is managed directly by Microsoft.
Here is a list of useful links and troubleshooting tips for Microsoft:
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The Windows OS upgrade is used to update your current Windows Professional operating system to one of the more recent versions (currently Windows 10 or you can downgrade to Windows 8.1), and thus requires you to currently have one of the following qualifying base operating system in place:
The Get Genuine product is a one-time chance to get your existing computers running fully legitimate and upgradeable Windows operating systems. It is useful if your have one of the following operating systems in place:
It depends on your current license level - not your version of Windows. Your version of Windows will say something like “Professional” or “Home Premium” after the version name (i.e. “Windows XP Professional”). Depending on the license level, you will need a different product.
The Windows OS Upgrade product is for organizations that have existing computers already have a qualifying base operating system in place:
The Get Genuine product is a one-time chance to get your existing computers running fully legitimate and upgradeable Windows operating systems. To be eligible for Get Genuine, you must currently have one of the following non-qualifying operating system:
Remember, Get Genuine Products are a one-time only donation. Please read our Get Genuine Guidelines carefully before requesting!
Not generally. Office for Mac is the only Office product in our catalogue that will work on your Mac. PC versions of any program cannot be installed on a Mac unless you are using a virtual Windows partition. If you’re using a Mac, we recommend that you filter our catalogue for products that are compatible with Mac .
What about BootCamp?
Here’s a collection of all our links on Microsoft server products, which have more information and guidance!
Software Assurance (SA) is a collection of benefits included with Microsoft products requested through TechSoup Canada. These benefits include free software upgrades and downgrades, Office Multi-Language Packs, Office suites for use at home, E-Learning courses, and more. Unlike product licenses which do not expire (they're valid for as long as you own the product), SA expire after two years.
Microsoft includes two years of SA with all Volume Licensing products it donates through TechSoup Canada. The only exception to this is the Get Genuine products -- Get Genuine does not include Software Assurance benefits.
For more information, see the article What is Software Assurance?
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If this is your first time receiving a Microsoft donation from us, please read our detailed walkthrough!
If you have changed your software licensing email (the email you use for your organization) since your last order but still have access to your Microsoft account, please follow these instructions.
If you have lost access to your Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Centre account, please email us with as much information as you have about the account, and we'll send you instructions on how to proceed.
The Volume Licensing Service Centre (VLSC) is a Microsoft website to help you get installation keys, download or order Microsoft installation software, and access other benefits. It is also where you must go to access your installation license keys for your donated software.
To use the VLSC, you must first create an account. It's separate from your TechSoup Canada account and our account management team does not have access to your VLSC account. After you first register at the VLSC, you can later invite other people within your organization to create their own VLSC accounts and can give them access to various parts of the site.
Note: If you had an eOpen account before December 6, 2009, you automatically have access at the VLSC and to any licenses you had at that time.
Use this step-by-step guide to download and install your donations from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Centre.
Volume licensing means that you are getting one product key for the total number of licenses you requested. You won’t need to use more than that one key to activate the total number of licenses you requested. This makes it easier to keep track!
It does not mean that a request for one license gives you multiple licenses of that product. The Volume License Service Centre displays your activations as something like 1/50 - tracking the number of activations you’ve used this key for - not that you have 50 licenses available! The site is just set up to show 50 licenses, regardless of how many you ordered. You only have the amount of licenses you ordered - so change the quantity to that number before you order!
And yes, if you need to activate something twice (say you transferred it from an old computer to a new one) it will show as an activation, so it might go from 1/50 to 2/50. This is ok! As long as you don’t have more activated copies up and running than you paid for, it’s ok to re-use the key to re-install the same license on a new machine.
Your best bet in most cases is to contact Microsoft if you’ve followed all the steps in our walkthrough and are still having trouble. We aren’t a reseller, so we don’t have any access to the VLSC and can’t assist in most cases. But it’s okay - VLSC support is included in your donation!
If you still have access to your VLSC account but need to update it, you can update it with these steps.
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That’ll happen sometimes. Check our troubleshooting post here.
Virtualization is amazing, and can help organizations streamline processes well. However, it’s not something you can “figure out as you go”; these types of installations would most likely require you to consult with a professional, who could advise you as to what you need.
You’ll need to make sure you have enough virtual machines to cover everyone, so be sure your server software supports as many as you’ll need. For example, Windows Server 2012 Datacentre edition supports unlimited virtual environments, whereas the Standard edition only supports 4.
No -- sorry! As of October 10, 2013, Microsoft software donations are now electronic delivery only. Minimizing packaging and reducing waste is one of many ways Microsoft and the rest of our donor partners are going green.
If you’d like a hardcopy of your Microsoft software, you can create your own installation DVD, which works just like the packaged one.
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