Increasingly online, we hear about ESD license, these are specifically license keys available at bargain prices, often under 5. There are many online stores that offer them, sometimes even at higher prices.
In this article we will take stock of the situation and try to clarify the main doubts we are asked about and where to buy these licenses.
1. ESD license: what it is and how it works
Microsoft indicates how ESD (whose acronym Electronic Software Delivery), those licenses distributed only in virtual form, without physical support, documentation and box. In practice, the only key or serial code used to legally activate and use the program to which it refers.
Now that we've seen what does ESD license mean and its meaning, let's see how Microsoft distributes Windows and Office licenses to individuals.
Mainly there are only two channels, the Microsoft Store and the partner Digital River. Instead groups of licenses (stocks) are sold to various corporate customers or institutions, such as:
- to the students of the institutions, who have entered into an agreement (like some local universities);
- to developers registered with the MSDN program;
- to some companies;
- to some computer manufacturers.
And they are exactly these Microsoft ESD licenses, not intended for private individuals and not associated with any account,that crowd and saturate the European market.
Use them, very simple, once you have a license key, you can insert it on the Microsoft website to download a copy of the software, or you can directly insert the key or serial code, in your copy already installed on the your computer to activate it (you can consult our guides on how to activate Windows and how to activate Officeo specifically change the product key on Windows 10).
Licenses are almost always type Retail and not OEMs. The difference between them is simple, as the Retail not tied to the specific computer or device with which it is sold, can be installed on any computer unlike the OEM (original equipment manufacturer). This reason also leads to another difference, namely the cost, which is slightly higher in the Retail license compared to the OEM.
2. If they are not intended for private individuals, why are they for sale?
Simply because Microsoft imposes the non-resale of these licenses in the EULA than a private license agreement with some vexatious clauses. In American law, agreements between private individuals have a strong legal value, with us in Europe they only apply as long as they do not go against national or Community legislation.
In the case of ESD licenses, this is exactly what happened, a regulation EuropeaC.E. C-128/2011 clearly states that the author of a computer program cannot oppose the resale of licenses already owned by third parties, the interpretation was also confirmed by the sentence of 3 July 2012 (case C-128/11).
Since then, the market has literally been inundated with low-cost Microsoft product license keys. The most attentive will have noticed that practically all the sellers are based in Europe.
3. legal to buy and use ESD licenses?
The controversial answer, even if it should not be seen in European legislation, and the subsequent judgment of the court. Based on this legal transfer, possession and purchase of abandoned licenses.
If purchased regularly, we can consider legal and valid ESD licenses as all the others, and their use cannot be considered as piracy. Obviously for professional use yes recommends that you keep the invoice (so that we can show it in case of inspection).
Microsoft, who has received many questions on the matter, replied simply saying that it does not keep track of ESD licenses that have been discontinued and resold by private individuals, and that obviously it does not hold itself responsible for these licenses. The lack of a register means that Microsoft is adequately aware of the phenomenon, but that it has no desire or power to intervene.
From some points of view, the spread of these licenses is also convenient for the American giant, their very low cost allows to reduce piracy, and the use of counterfeit software. Piracy and the use of counterfeit software are the main cause of instability and problems on the Redmond system, problems that stain the image of the platform.
4. Why prefer an ESD license over KMS
We already talked about KMS in an appreciated article, these are small programs that allow you to pirate Microsoft products.
We generally recommend that you prefer an ESD license over KMS, for several reasons:
- ESD licenses, as we explained above, are valid and legal.
- Through KMS you risk infecting your PC.
- KMS come often reported by antiviruses as malicious software and blocked, then the activated products stop working.
5. How to buy an ESD license while saving money
Based on our experience, we recommend buying a license Windows ESD is Office ESD, especially through eBay using Paypal as a payment method, for some simple reasons, because:
- The license keys are at really low prices, compared to Amazon and other alternatives.
- Paypal's customer protection protects you completely, if the key does not work or you are simply not, you can simply make a complaint and take back what you have spent.
- Sellers do everything they can to avoid negative feedback, so I'm really available and quick to overcome any problem by replacing the key, or by refunding you.
Usually after a few minutes of purchase, an email or message arrives on eBay containing the purchased license key.
In case you buy licenses for a company reality, or for an activity, stronglyrecommended to buy licenses only from those who issue a regular invoice.
ESD keys are also available on Amazon, but at significantly higher prices.
We advise you to pay attention to a small minority of unhelpful sellers. Those who want to be smart sell modified versions via KMS. Defend yourself from them fortunately very simple:just a simple trick, you don't have tonever download Windows and Office from the links that sellers provide.
The license key must always be tested on your version of the programs or using the official ones made available by Microsoft.
The installation necessary can be downloaded for free in complete safety from the Microsoft website:
- For Microsoft Windowsjust follow our guide to download Windows 10 for free in Italian.
- For Microsoft Officewe recommend using this page, after logging in you can enter your product key (and then check if it is valid) and then download your copy.
6. Best offers to buy a Windows ESD key
Here are the best offers to have one at a very low pricewindows 10 license:
Once purchased and received the license of use, also called product key windows 10or serial, all that remains is to activate your copy by entering the code (see also: how to insert product key in Windows 10). Or if you want to perform a clean installation, you can download your copy of Windows 10 Pro or Home, as we explained in the previous paragraph (never use the links provided by the vendors) and then activate your operating system. The same goes for Windows 7, through eBay you can find great offers like these:
7. Best offers to buy an ESD Office key
Here are the best offers to get a Key:
The discussion made in the previous paragraph also applies here: you can directly enter the product key once it is received to activate your copy, or arrange for a new installation. Using the product key obtained, you can go directly to the Microsoft website at this page and get your copy.