Windows IoT Licensing FAQ

When you develop IoT devices or solutions with Windows IoT operating systems, you need to work with a Microsoft authorized distributor like Kontron.

These are some of the most frequently asked questions about licensing we get.

Why should I buy from Kontron?

Kontron has been helping our partners and customers build IoT and embedded systems and devices for more than 25 years. We are a longstanding Microsoft engineering and operations partner.

As a software-only distributor of Windows IoT software, we offer best-in-class service, technical support, utility tools, and aggressive pricing. We support all of Microsoft’s embedded products as well as embedded Linux, Android, FreeRTOS, QNX, and ThreadX.

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What agreements are needed to purchase and distribute Windows IoT and embedded licenses with my products?

Microsoft requires OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to execute an OEM Customer License Agreement (CLA), which Kontron will facilitate between you and Microsoft. This non-negotiable agreement is set up via DocuSign. There are no obligations to purchase with the establishment of the agreement. See below for answers to common questions about the Microsoft CLA.

What’s the difference between Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise?

The software inside is the same. If you’re building a fixed-function smart or embedded device, the Windows 10 IoT family is the right operating system for the project. While all editions of Windows 10 provide the security and management features that customers expect from Microsoft, only Windows 10 IoT Enterprise offers a 10-year support cycle. With Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, you also get advanced lockdown features, including keyboard and write filter.

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What’s the difference between Windows Server IoT 2019 and Windows Server 2019?

The software inside is the same here, too. Windows Server IoT 2019 is the binary equivalent to Windows Server 2019, with the same robust features and capabilities. The difference is in usage and licensing. The IoT version is built for fixed-purpose devices that need heavy-duty computing at the edge, with SAC and LTSC licensing options.

Can IoT or embedded product keys be used with other licensing channels?

Windows IoT and Embedded product keys can only be used with OEM licensing channels.

How do I obtain the software to develop my image?

Kontron will assist you with the OEM Pre Install Kit (OPK) download process or we can ship OPK DVDs for a small shipping fee.

When do I order Certificate of Authenticity (COA) licenses?

Order COA licenses when you are ready to ship your device to an end customer.

How do I track activations? How does Microsoft know how many activations have occurred?

Microsoft offers the Windows ADK, which contains the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT). Download the ADK for the OS version in use and install the VAMT.

What happens if the product needs to be swapped out? Can I reuse my license?

The COA or license is tied to the hardware. It cannot be removed and put on another server. If you try, it will not come off in one piece and the COA will be rendered useless. The license, once purchased and affixed to the device, is associated with the device for its lifetime.

Can I migrate from a prior version of a Windows Embedded operating system, like WES7, to a newer version of the Windows IoT operating system?

Using Microsoft Migration Rights, an OEM can purchase a COA of the current OS and install an image of a prior operating system and deliver that system to end users. The end user then has 12 months of use of the prior OS before they must migrate to the current operating system.

Does Microsoft offer a discounted Windows upgrade product?

The cost for an upgrade license is the same cost as the full license.

What is Windows 10 IoT Core? How is it different from Windows 10 IoT Enterprise?

Windows 10 IoT Core is targeted to low-power hardware and can run one Universal Windows Platform app at a time. Windows 10 IoT Enterprise can run on a wider range of hardware and has more features.


Signing a CLA is the first step in ordering Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, Windows Server IoT, and other Windows Embedded products. Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions or sign up now.

What is a CLA?

CLA stands for Customer License Agreement, which is an agreement between an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and Microsoft. It lets the OEM purchase and use Windows Embedded and IoT OS (operating system) products for embedded applications and connected devices. It also grants the OEM access to download the OS software in the Microsoft Software Order Center, and purchase the software licenses through an Authorized Distributor, such as Kontron.

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When do I need a CLA?

As an OEM, you need to sign the CLA before downloading the Windows software for development and before placing a purchase order for the software licenses.

What’s the CLA process?

To obtain a CLA, you must coordinate with an Authorized Distributor such as Kontron to initiate the CLA request. After your request, Microsoft sends an email to the OEM designated contact to fill out and submit the request. Once submitted, Microsoft will review and approve the request. Once approved, Microsoft will send another email to your designated contact confirming the CLA is in place.

What does it cost?

There is no cost to request or sign the CLA.

What information does Kontron need to initiate a CLA?

If you don’t yet have a CLA, we will need the following information in order to set you up with one:

    1. Company Name and Any DBA
    2. Company Address (Street, City, State, Zip)
    3. Company Website
    4. Company Industry/ Device Type
    5. Estimated annual volume (can be rough estimate)
    6. Are these devices connected to the internet? If so, what cloud provider is being used?
    7. Primary Contact First and Last Name
    8. Primary Contact Email Address
    9. Primary Contact Phone Number
    10. Primary Contact Job Title
How long does it take?

Typically CLA requests are reviewed and approved within 48 hours. However, if any ARA (Additional Rights Agreement) is being requested with the CLA, the ARA approvals can take up to 1-2 weeks for Microsoft to approve.

What is an ARA?

ARA stands for Additional Rights Agreement. It is a subsidiary agreement under the CLA that is set up to add authorized subcontractors (or outsource manufacturers), third-party integrators, or third-party brand names that need to be involved in the development, licensing, or branding aspects of an OEM’s application or device.

How do I add an ARA to my Company’s CLA?

If you already have a CLA in place and need to add or change an ARA, contact your Kontron account executive to initiate the new or change request or contact us.

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What should I do now?

To begin the process, fill out this form and Microsoft will send your primary contact an electronic version to sign online. Kontron will be with you every step of the way.

Or fill out our general contact us form for further assistance.

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Once you have a signed CLA with Microsoft, you can download Windows IoT operating system software and start developing your connected device and embedded applications. Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions about the OPK.

What is an OPK?

OPK stands for OEM Preinstallation Kit. It is the full software required for OS (operating system) development for all Windows IoT, Server, and SQL products.

How do I get an OPK?

For CLA holders, OPKs are available for download in the Microsoft Software Order Center (SOC). Please note that this link will only work after you have a signed CLA.

Microsoft software order center
How do I get access to the Microsoft SOC site?

Access to this tool is granted to valid CLA holders. If you have a valid CLA, you can email, referencing your CLA number, to request login credentials.

If you do not know your company’s CLA number, contact your Kontron account executive or use the form linked below.

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How do I access and navigate the SOC site?

Read the the SOC guide, linked below. If you need further assistance or you experience issues with the SOC tool, email your Kontron account executive or contact us.

SOC Guide
How do I locate which OPK kit number to download?

If you need help locating which OPK kit number to download, contact your Kontron account executive or use the form linked below so we can help.

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