Server 2019 - Purchasing & Licensing Advice

I am looking to purchase a HP Prolient Server for a small office…

Long story short… what would be a good practice for downloading, purchasing, installing and activating? I have done this before about 8 months ago, however I ended up signing up through Microsoft for purchasing, then downloaded the installer and key from Microsoft after I purchased it. I want to go a different route this time as I don’t want their license associated with the Microsoft Account I had created for our company.

I visited Microsoft’s website and I see the 2019 Standard ISO has a free evaluation version. Is the information I’d type into this relevant… can it just be gibberish? Also, from this point, if I use this evaluation method, can I then just purchase a 2019 Standard 16 Core license key from Amazon, apply that as the activation once installed, update the operating system and be good to go?


Please complete the form to continue:
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Company name
  • Company size
  • Job title
  • Work email address
  • Work phone number
  • Country/region

I don’t want to download and install an older release version of 2019 if I buy it on Amazon, I want the latest release version installed. Also, I see some keys for around $300 on Amazon, but Microsoft’s website has it at about $950. Is there a difference between the two other than pricing? What’s the catch?

If you have another recommendation process, I am interested.

Thank you for your time.

I would always buy from an authorised Microsoft reseller. The versions you see that are significantly cheaper are most likely illegal keys that have been taken from one of Microsoft’s corporate plans where you get hundreds of activations per key. Just because a key activates doesn’t mean you have a valid license, a valid key does not equal a valid license and if you get audited you will be in trouble.

That being said, I’m not saying the $300 version on Amazon is illegal, but I would be highly suspicious. It may be it is an OEM copy from a server purchase that wasn’t used, although I’m not sure if you are actually allowed to sell a copy that was bought with a server, you would have to read the small print.

If you are buying a server new, then buy it with the license, that will be the cheapest official way. I know it is tempting to save money on the license, but Microsoft has to make money from what they do. If you administer their products then they keep you in a job. If you don’t like what they charge don’t use their products.

@Acestes these keys are not corporate because you could buy one key and activate it many times. These keys can be activated only one time. However, I respect your consideration and removed my post with the link to buying them…

Thanks @Spectre I appreciate you removing the link you provided.

@Keith, if you download and use the eval version then you will probably have to do some messing around with disim to make it work properly and activate. It is possible but probably not what you want to be doing.

You also need to make sure you are buying the correct version of windows for your situation. There are 3 main “windows server” versions, if it’s for a small business then you probably want server standard which for OEM is around £600 so $800 I guess. Server Essentials is £300/$400 but that’s a bit limited. The 3rd option is DataCenter but that’s for much larger installs.

Get it from somewhere legit, probably not Amazon…