Downgrade Windows 2008 Server to 2003 Server

October 2016


I am trying to install W2003 Server. I am told that MS no longer do 2003 Server licences, and that now the only way of getting a licensed W2003 Server installation is

to use 2008 server media. I've been given a legitimate licensed 2008 Server DVD, apparently downloaded from MS. However, when I run it I see no option to install 2003

Server, and after I've run through the installation of 2008 Server, I do not see any way
- to downgrade the 2008 Server installation to 2003 Server
- to create a 2003 licence key from the 2008 licence key for use with 2003 Server media.

Thus for now I'm stuck with a 2008 Server installation.

Has anyone got this to work? Alternatively, is there an easier way of getting a legitimately licensed 2003 Server installation?


Microsoft's documentation is sketchy on how you obtain Volume License Keys for products when you are using Downgrade Rights to install an earlier version.

The documentation out there says to contact "Microsoft Fulfillment Services" for your region. If you Google that phase you'll get nowhere. What is should really say is contact the "Microsoft Activation Center" and request
a Volume License Key for you product.
  • This is the number for the center in the US region (888) 352-7140
  • You will need the Agreement number and License number (not the license key) from your original product to get a downgrade license sent to you.
  • From now on you can downgrade from Server 2008 to 2003R2.

Thanks to Bill for this tip.

Related :

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