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Visitor 1

Windows 2016 OEM license issue


We have a customer that asked us if he can downgrade his Windows 2016 OEM license to Windows 2012? he have a software that can't work on Windows 2016 

Level 5 Contributor


Get help with Windows activation errors

Windows 10 Windows 7 Windows 8.1

Windows 11Windows 10

Activation helps verify that your copy of Windows is genuine and hasn’t been used on more devices than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow. This article will help you troubleshoot and fix common activation errors in Windows.


For help finding your product key, see Find your Windows product key. For troubleshooting and other info about updating Windows 11, see Windows Update: FAQ or Troubleshoot problems updating Windows. For info on upgrading to Windows 11, see Upgrade to Windows: FAQ.


Activating Windows


See Activate Windows for general info about activation, including how to choose your activation method.


See Reactivating Windows after a hardware change for more info about reactivating Windows 11 after making a significant change to your device's hardware.


See Activate Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 for info about activation of earlier versions of Windows.


If you're having trouble activating Windows 11, follow these steps to fix activation errors:


Confirm that your device is up to date and running Windows 11. In the search box on the taskbar, type winver, and then select Winver from the list of results. You'll see the version and build of Windows.


Use the Activation troubleshooter to resolve simple errors. For more info, see Try the Activation troubleshooter below.


If you're still getting an error, check the list of error codes below and follow the suggested steps to resolve it.


Make sure the error hasn't changed. Sometimes when you run the Activation troubleshooter or try to activate, the error code and message will change. If the error code has changed, look up the new code below and follow the recommended steps. (If you're getting an error code that isn't listed on this page, contact customer support.)


Rachel Gomez

Level 6 Contributor

and OEMs are bound unnder contract with microsoft to provide the support so you'll need to contact the OEM for the downgrade key.



Level 6 Contributor

Downgrade rights allows you to install a previous version, in your case 2012R2. You don't install 2016 then downgrade it, you install 2012R2 which uses downgrde rights. If you want 2012R2 installed on the metal, you'll need to do a clean install. As it's an OEM version, you can probably find an OEM 2012 disc to do the install. If not a generic version should activate with the key in the BIOS, but you may have to add custom drivers.