Windows Server Essentials is an edition of the Windows Server operating system designed for small organisations with up to 25 users and 50 devices. When installed on a server computer, it automatically configures network roles such as print server, domain controller, web server, and file server.
This donation provides one server license for running the software on a server with up to two physical processors. Up to 25 users and up to 50 devices can connect to the licensed server. No client access licenses (CALs) are needed. For additional licensing information, see the Guide to Windows Server Editions and Licensing.
Which versions of this software are available?
You can choose to download the current version or the previous version of this software. You can find out which version is the current one on the Current Versions of Microsoft Products page. In addition, you can download the software in any language that’s available.
Benefits for organisations
If you have system administration experience, you can use Windows Server to:
- Set up your organisation’s first server, which can be used on its own or act as the primary server in a multi-server environment
- Support common IT scenarios like folder and printer sharing, remote access, support for mobile devices, and backup/restore tools
- Provide access to cloud services such as Office 365
- Windows Server product technologies: Essentials provides the core technologies of Windows Server. It does not include those appropriate only to medium-to-large enterprises, such as Hyper-V virtualisation or the Server Core or Nano Server installation options.
- Simplified management console: Administrators can manage common IT tasks and view the health and security of client computers and servers in the network through the Dashboard. Alerts warn you of items that need attention.
- Remote access: DirectAccess allows secure access to the network from any computer or device without a VPN connection. Remote Web Access gives any user with a web browser secure access to email, internal websites, shared folders, organisation and administration links, and networked computers.
- Data protection: You can perform complete system backups and restores of the server as well as client devices. Storage Spaces allows you to create virtual disks from disparate hard drives with specified levels of resilience.
- Cloud integration: The software is designed for simple integration with cloud services like Azure Backup and Office 365.
Obtaining this product
Installing this product requires you to download the software from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Centre (VLSC) and enter a license key. You can download any available version or language for your product.
The license key allows you to install the product on as many computers as you have received licenses for. This quantity is specified in the email you receive from Charity Digital Exchange after you request this product.
Expect two emails:
- When your donation request has been approved, Charity Digital Exchange will send a message to your organisation email address. This email will confirm the number of licenses you have requested and provide information about how to use the VLSC once Microsoft accepts your license agreement. Make sure the organisation email that is registered with Charity Digital Exchange is up-to-date. Visit My Account and verify the address in your active organisation profile.
- Microsoft will send an email welcoming your organisation to the VLSC. This email will indicate that Microsoft has accepted your license agreement. After you receive this email, you’ll be able to follow the steps in the first email you received from Charity Digital Exchange to obtain your donation through the VLSC.
Under the Software Assurance programme, you have the right to install any new release of products covered in the agreement during the term of your coverage.