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Microsoft Titles

Northwestern University's agreement with Microsoft offers Microsoft Office software, core client access licenses, and operating system upgrades for University-owned computers. An OEM (Manufacturer) version of Microsoft Windows is required to be purchased along with any new computer to be eligible for Northwestern / Microsoft Windows Enterprise licensed operating systems.

The agreement also offers a Home Use Program for faculty and staff.

Student-owned computers are covered under the existing NU Select Agreement. Students may also take advantage of special EDU pricing through Northwestern IT's Software Partner.

Microsoft Windows, Windows Server, and Office Products for University-Owned Machines

Core client access licenses (CALs) include Windows Server 2012 R2, Exchange Server 2013 Standard, and SCCM 2012. A CAL is required for each computer accessing one of the Windows Server services.

All licensed copies of Windows can be updated to current versions of Windows. An OEM (Manufacturer) version of Microsoft Windows is required to be purchased along with any new computer to be eligible for Northwestern / Microsoft Windows Enterprise licensed operating systems.

Due to the multiple variations of Windows Server 2019/2016 and Windows Server 2012 R2, media should be purchased through iBuyNU under the vendor SHI. KMS activation for Windows Server 2019/2016  and Windows Server 2012 R2 works in the same manner as other KMS activations.

Microsoft 365 Professional Plus Products Windows

Microsoft 365 Professional Plus Products  for Mac Products

Office Professional Plus 2019/2016 Products

More information is available at Microsoft Office 365 Applications and Add-ins.

The following Microsoft software is not included under this agreement:

Computers Eligible for Software Installation

All University-owned computers are covered regardless of location. The home use provision also allows software to be purchased for personal use by faculty and staff at significantly discounted prices.

Download for University-Owned Machines

Northwestern faculty and staff can download software directly from Northwestern IT's list of available software for use on University-owned computers.

University schools and departments can purchase media/DVDs within SHI using iBuyNU. These media kits can be used to install the software an unlimited number of times on covered computers. The purchase of individual licenses for covered computers is not required.

Product Activation and Key Information

With Microsoft Volume Licensing for products such as Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2019/2016, users must use a new type of product activation called Volume Activation (VA). Office 2019 usage is limited to Offline machines and only installed by Local IT support.

To activate these products with VA, Northwestern IT has established a Key Management Service (KMS) host that computers need to access via the NU network periodically to activate. Activation should occur in the background and users should not have to manually process activation requests to the KMS host. Learn more about product activation and key information.

Additional Microsoft Software for University-Owned Machines

The existing Select Agreement for licensing Microsoft products remains in place. Products not covered under the newer Enterprise agreement can be licensed through the Select Agreement. University schools and departments that would like to own perpetual licenses for software can be purchased through the Select Agreement.


Available Licenses

License and Install

Microsoft Select Agreement Titles for Students and Personal Use

These licenses for Microsoft products are for personal use by Northwestern faculty, staff, and students. Microsoft software available for purchase for personal purposes, are indicated by the (p) OR (s) next to the software title on the list of available software.


License and Install (excluding Microsoft 365 ProPlus)

Microsoft Home Use Program

All Northwestern faculty and staff are eligible to purchase the following software titles at significantly discounted prices:

Learn more about the Microsoft Home Use Program. 

Use of Office Insider Program

In no case should anyone at the University Join the Office insider program, outside of designated individuals on designated test machines. Microsoft uses the Insider program to test out new feature releases, as well as, updated code to identify issues before production release.  Insider track versions may have major issues that cause clients to cease functioning properly. Insider Track Versions of Office for Mac, or any issues as a result of running the insider track will NOT be supported by Northwestern IT.




Last Updated: 15 May 2020

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