Is my server running Windows 2000 Corperate or MSDN edition?

Microsoft Windows
SQL Server
Someone suspected that a couple of our production servers might be installed with Windows 2000 server MSDN edition rather than corperate edition. I tried to find criterias to distinguish servers installed with the two editions without success: 1. There is a MS article (KB889713) describing how to use the Channel ID within the Windows 2003 server Product ID to determine the channel your Windows 2003 copy was obtained through. But I couldn't find similar information for Windows 2000. 2. I have installed two Windows 2000 servers, one by using a rpearte license CD and the other by using a MSDN CD. I have compareed the two Product IDs (My Computer -> Properties -> General). No difference for the first eight digits (product code and the channel ID) for the two PID. 3. Tried to run a keyfinder in the two test servers, the keyfinder returned identical Product Keys. My questions are: 1. Is there really any differnce between a Windows 2000 corpearte installation media and a MSDN installation media? 2. If so, is there a way to distingush the two installations? Please advise. Thanks.

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Functionally the two editions should be the virtually identical. Legally they are not. You also have a problem if you installed the same corporate keycode on two servers.

That problem may be small if you at least own the correct number of commercial licenses. Unfortunately MS may make things a bit uncomfortable should they ever make you prove that. I suspect Windows update lets MS know when too many servers seem to have the same keycode simultaneously. I suspect MS checks its purchase records as to whether to give you the benfit of the doubt before launching a query – but if MS has a team in town anyway…. Changing key codes on the servers would solve the issue.

As far as I know everyone in a particular country and purchase program shares the same MSDN key codes. By purchase program I mean academic versus everyone else and possibly single purchase versus volume. There may be a special code for partner program copies as well. Ultimately MS is the channel for these products as you are supposed to register on their site to get the codes. I think MS started taking many volume license programs under their wing the same way for anti-piracy reasons. Basically by this handling MS gets a record of ownership and contact info if the codes show up versus too many WPA configurations at Windows updates.

It is probably better to reinstall complex server software for the same reasons MS does recommend cloning servers. The primary problem being that Exchange and other server apps sometimes record and hide the server codes in their configuration for security reasons (e.g. making it difficult to steal a corporate email database). But you can take the chance on key code changing programs if you can afford the downtime if it doesn’t work.

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  • Mortree
    The actual media is slightly different. The keycodes won't work on the wrong media. But the installation is functionally the same once on hard disk. If any MSDN keycode matches the one on your server, it is a MSDN install. You should only find one MSDN keycode for each type of MSDN server install (e.g. 1 for Windows 2000 server, Windows 2000 Advanced server, etc). MSDN codes are a joke but I suspect MS only wants to keep support costs down to those who paid for the development-experimental privilege. I assume MS is very vigorous about people who get caught using them for production especially on Internet. I'd tell you what those keycodes are but...I don't want MS on me for handing out keys to people with illegal copies of MSDN media. But ask any other corporate person you know who purchased MSDN in the same manner (volume or single purchase) and trusts the evidence that you.
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  • Bobkberg
    First thing right off - I may be on thin ice with this answer, but I believe it to be correct. One of the licensing restrictions with the MSDN versions is that it's ok to use those systems internally, but they should not be accessible to the outside world. E.g., don't use them as a public web server. My $0.02 worth, Bob
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  • KingConan
    Anyone who accesses an MSDN server software installation must adhere to the following basic rules. 1. No public use. 2. No production environment or environment that drives revenue. 3. Everyone who accesses the server in any way must also possess an MSDN license. Again, these are very basic guidelines. Microsoft licensing has a PhD pre-requisite anyway to figure it out. Kevin
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