This past weekend I had run across some interesting information over at the SuperSite for Windows regarding a possible decrease in the number of TechNet Product Keys. At the time it was pushed off as a possible network issue with Microsoft and I took no further notice with the issue. However, now it looks like those reductions are permanent, and sure enough, when I checked my subscription I saw a reduction of ten to five keys. Here’s the breakdown:
If you had a standard subscription, you used to be able to get ten product keys for software products; however, now certain products will be limited to two product keys apiece. If you currently have a Pro account, you will be limited to five versus the original ten keys. This will apparently only be applied to those products that are deemed popular. (Read, Office 2007, Office 2010, Windows XP, and Windows 7. Note, there is no mention of Windows Vista and when I checked, I was still able to get 10 product keys. Vista, apparently, is not considered popular.
Each key will still provide up to ten activations, so it’s not a complete loss. The move is regarded as an anti-piracy scheme to prevent unauthorized use of the keys. (Remember, TechNet is designed for testing purposes and keys are not to be handed out to non-subscribers). This is still a little silly on Microsoft’s part. They should have grandfathered in those who had existing TechNet subscriptions until they were up for renewal. I understand the move to a more controlled environment, but they should have handled it a little better.
Anyways, as Paul mentions at his site, I still recommend TechNet as a great way to test Microsoft products, whether you get the Standard or Professional subscription.