Volume License Media Archival Discussion

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EnronnBETA
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Volume License Media Archival Discussion

Post by EnronnBETA »

Hello everyone,

I've been mostly a lurker over the years and I believe I had an account many years ago, but can't find it. I decided to setup a new account because of side projects I have been doing outside of work. Recently I have been collecting a mixture of vintage hardware and software, mostly Mac's, but recently moved back to Windows based software. Since fall 2020, I've picked up some old Microsoft Volume Licensing kits and have a few more on the way. There has always been some curiosity about the contents of these kits Microsoft sent to customers who spent hundreds of thousands or millions to license their fleet of PC's and servers. This has changed though with the introduction of the Volume License Service Center; Microsoft stopped issuing welcome kits in 2009 or 2011 I believe. I missed out on one of the last ones with a complete set of discs with different pools ranging from Windows Client to Microsoft Reference.

My most recent purchase is the first Licensing Kit Microsoft introduced with Licensing 6.0, when they switched to the colorful rainbow of discs. I've installed Windows 2000 Professional and Office 2000 Professional so far. I remember when I interned at a company back in the early 2000's in the MIS department, the whole building was flooded with Microsoft Select CD's, every nook and cranny was a Burgundy disc. I snatched a few before I left; some had multiple installers of Office 97, with individual installers for Word, Excel, Outlook etc. I should have snagged some of the Windows 2000 Professional discs which were every where, but was just so grossed out from that summer using, managing, patching Windows 2000, I didn't want to see another disc. On top of the fact that the office they put me in, had box loads of Dell OEM Windows 2000 reinstall discs with Windows 2000 Quick Start guide. Besides, I was pre-occupied with the Office 2003 beta and the rumors surrounding Longhorn.

The next summer I had interned again under a different department in the same company. I remember stopping by one of the Sys Admin's office and she was organizing one of the newer MS VL welcome kits, which came with Office XP CD's at the time. I was looking at them and she immediately said, nope, don't go near any of them, in fact, she even physically pushed back and told me to leave. I thought it was crass response to just taking a curious look at CD's, considering the summer before I had brought my MS Action Pack with basically the same set of media for show and tell.

But, ever since, I've been kinda curious about the big deal and of course I know the in's and out's of Microsoft licensing ever since. I was a former Windows IT Pro MVP after all and explained a great deal about Microsoft licensing for over a decade to thousands of customers. As a collector, I am collecting these just for the fun of it and testing out all this old exciting software! Recently I came across the nearly a thousand MS Select CD's in the volume licensing vintage software section on Internet Archive - very impressive!

What I am starting to notice is how difficult Volume License Welcome Kits have become. I am sensing either companies have dumped them as the move to digital downloads become more prominent; especially with Volume License Service Center. Or, it could very well be Microsoft has made it a priority to have a lot of these welcome kits returned and destroyed just for the sake of not have them floating out there. I personally would have liked to collect them for the fun and nostalgia. Microsoft Select discs and VL 6.0 kits will show up on auction sites, but can be expensive and sort after, so, there other people out there who find value in owning the kits. Right now, I have 4 on the way from Europe that I spent quite a bit on, but I don't think they are as complete as that one I mentioned earlier.

My ultimate curiosity though is the explore more of Microsoft's earlier Licensing programs to really find where Microsoft started licensing its software estate in bulk. I got some hint reading Stephen Sinofsky's chronicles which mentioned the origin of the Microsoft Volume Licensing program was at a retreat near Canada with top executives in the mid 90's. There is also an article I read which said, MS VLP was introduced in 1993. Microsoft shipped a CD kit to companies with every Microsoft program (in the broad sense - even something like a Thesaurus and spell checker were considered a separate program). These CD's would contain the master image and companies would then make their own floppy discs to deploy on PC's. The organization would then report back to Microsoft how much of the software was in use then pay for what they used.

One of the earliest Microsoft Select CD's I was able to find actually is a Select Pool Burgundy May 1995 release on Macintosh Garden. It pretty much has all Microsoft software for Mac up to that point. I'm looking for similar to these and if there any that predate 1995 and exist around the time the Volume License Program was first launched. They are likely impossible to find considering the size and scope of the market back then. Its probably something I should have asked about when I was able to visit the Campus and had access to the Microsoft Archives.

Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts.

mrpijey
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Re: Volume License Media Archival Discussion

Post by mrpijey »

I am not sure what you're looking for exactly, but we do archive all these various subscription and VL sets here, including the early Select discs, just recently did we get a large addition of those.

https://www.betaarchive.com/database/br ... latform=PC
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EnronnBETA
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Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:39 am

Re: Volume License Media Archival Discussion

Post by EnronnBETA »

Thanks, will check it out!

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