Who and what does the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement cover?

Full and part-time BU employees are eligible to use the most current and capable versions of Microsoft Windows and Office on BU-owned PCs and Macs. For further information regarding eligability and benefits, see Microsoft Agreement Coverage Overview and Benefits.

How do I get the software and services available under this agreement?

  • Most eligible software is available to faculty and staff from the Download page.
  • Current students are eligible to download at no cost Microsoft Office from the Student Download page.
  • If you have any problems or questions, feel free to contact the IT Help Center by submitting a Help request through this website, or by calling 617-353-HELP (4357).

Does the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement offer BU faculty, students, and staff unrestricted access to all Microsoft products?

No. The agreement provides different groups with limited rights to use specific products and services on BU-owned devices. BU employees are also eligible to use a copy of Office on a desktop and portable computer they own; see Microsoft Agreement Coverage Overview and Using Office at Home for details.

Can any BU-owned computer be upgraded to the most current and capable version of Windows under Enterprise Agreement?

We’re licensed to upgrade Windows on any computers owned by BU, including those in classrooms and labs. However, computers must have a license for an existing Microsoft Windows or Apple Macintosh operating system. For BU computers purchased without an operating system or with an operating system other than MacOS, you must purchase a basic Windows operating system license first. Subsequent Windows upgrades would then be covered under the Enterprise Agreement. At this writing, a basic version of Windows is available through retail channels for about $100.

Can any BU-owned computer be upgraded to the most current and capable version of Office under Enterprise Agreement?

We’re licensed for all computers owned by BU, including those in classrooms and labs.

Note that the Boston Medical Center (BMC) is organizationally distinct from BU, so devices owned by BMC aren’t covered under this agreement.

Microsoft Client Access Licenses (CALs) are often needed to use services built from Microsoft products. Does the Enterprise Agreement include CALs too?

Yes, the Enterprise Agreement encompasses both Core and Enterprise CALs, providing faculty and staff with Client Access Licenses for BU services based on Windows; Exchange; SharePoint; System Center Configuration Manager; Hyper-V; Virtual Desktop (VDI); Exchange security services, unified messaging, and compliance; SharePoint; Office Communications Server/Lync; System Center Operations Manager; System Center Data Protection Manager with Client Management License; Forefront Protection Suite and Unified Access Gateway, including Client Security; Protection for Exchange, SharePoint, and OCS; Online Protection for Exchange; Threat Management Gateway Web Protection Service, and; Microsoft Windows Rights Management Services.

Under the enterprise Agreement, BU students have Client Access Licenses for BU servers and services based on Windows, Exchange, SharePoint, OCS/Lync, Rights Management, Forefront, System Center Configuration Manager, Hyper-V /desktop virtualization, Forefront, and Exchange Online Protection.

The agreement also includes Microsoft External Connector Licenses, enabling BU to offer non-institutional entities, including partners, affiliates, and alumni, access to BU services built from Windows, Exchange, SharePoint and System Center Configuration Manager.

What about other Microsoft products not included under the Enterprise Agreement?

Other Microsoft products are still available at discounted prices under our Microsoft Select Agreement. Microsoft Select provides significantly reduced prices for all Microsoft products not covered by the Enterprise Agreement. Unlike Enterprise Agreement licensing, Select licensing is perpetual not annual. See Microsoft For Departments for details.

How do I take advantage of the Enterprise Agreement when ordering new equipment?

We encourage you to order computers through our bulk-buy program–see the BU Sourcing website for details. If you must order a computer through another channel, specify the lowest cost Microsoft operating system available from the manufacturer, then upgrade Windows to the most capable version under the Enterprise Agreement.

Can I get a refund for licenses I purchased prior to or outside the Enterprise Agreement?

No. Licenses purchased through Select and other licensing programs and are not refundable or applicable to this agreement.

May I use software licensed under this agreement at home?

BU employees may use one copy of Office for work-related purposes via the Microsoft Work at Home program OR if they need Office for personal use, they can acquire it at a discount via the Home Use Program for $9.95; see and Using Office at Home for details. Employees who install Office under the Work at Home program must uninstall it when they leave BU or if the software is no longer available for their use at work under this or some other arrangement with Microsoft.

Who is not eligible to license software under this program?

Ineligible individuals consist of but are not limited to:

  • Students enrolled exclusively in non-credit courses
  • Conference attendees
  • Alumni
  • Visitors
  • Companies and their employees who have been hired on a contractual basis for services on or off campus, i.e. individuals not directly employed by BU.
  • Retired faculty and staff

How long will this agreement remain in effect?  What happens when it ends?

We have negotiated opportunities to exit the agreement at the end of three and five years if our reliance on Microsoft software declines significantly.

Under this agreement, Microsoft leases licenses to the University annually. Should the agreement end for any reason, BU will either work with Microsoft to gain perpetual use rights for specific software and computers coverered by this agreement or notify participants that software licensed under this agreement must be removed or replaced.

When students graduate, they become permanently licensed for any copy of Office they purchased under this agreement. Students who leave the University without graduating must remove all products obtained under this program.

How do I know if my PC is compatible with the latest version of Windows?

It is important to determine system compatibility before beginning any operating system upgrade; please review information on Windows upgrade options and the Microsoft Compatibility Checker.

Do installations of Windows and Office under the program require activation?

Yes. However, Windows and Office activation is processed in the background over the campus network automatically after you join your computer to Active Directory (AD).

You can install and use the software immediately. The products will try to register with the University’s activation service for several days and reconfirm activation every six months. As long as you connect your computer to Active Directory (or remotely via the BU VPN by logging in at http://vpn.bu.edu or configuring the built-in Mac OS X client) at some time during the first several days after installation and every six months thereafter, these processes should complete silently and without intervention. If activation fails to complete for an extended period of time, the products will warn you that activation is overdue. If activation continues to fail thereafter, the software will become visually and functionally impaired.

Please connect to the campus network or contact the IT Help Center by submitting a Help request through this website, by calling 617-353-HELP (4357) or by writing to ithelp@bu.edu if you continue to receive warnings from the products regarding activation.

Other Microsoft and non-Microsoft products may use different activation techniques which are explained separately before, during, or after installation.

How is Windows Server licensed under Enterprise Agreement?

All faculty and staff are licensed to install and use Windows Server and other Microsoft products and services on BU-owned equipment as outlined at Microsoft Agreement Coverage Overview. Note however that server software is not intended for installation or use without requisite knowledge and experience and that doing so may interfere with institutional resources.

Does the Enterprise Agreement accommodate Windows and Office in a virtualized environment?

Yes. Software encompassed by this agreement may be installed and operated in a virtual environment.

Can I install Hyper-V on a server and have the underlying VMs licensed by Enterprise Agreement?

Yes. Hyper-V is licensed under this agreement and other licensed components may be virtualized.

Where can I get more information?

Please contact the IT Help Center by submitting a Help request through this website, by calling 617-353-HELP (4357) or by writing to ithelp@bu.edu.