Question regarding MSDN product keys

I'm currently an MSDN subscriber. My subscription level allows me to "claim" numerous Multiple Activation keys for any version of Windows except for Windows 8/8.1 Pro.

My friend provided a service for me and he knows I'm subscribed to MSDN. He said if I could hook him up with an activation key, he would accept that as payment.

Would the distribution of a product key (for free, not to sell) be illegal? I would much rather give him a Windows Activation key instead of the money I owe him.

Any response would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
if you look in the terms and conditions it says that keys are for evaluating purposes only and so technically wouldn't be considered legal. Also once you stop your subscription keys will eventually stop working too.
This webpage illuminates further but be aware that regulations have been tightened even further since it's release:

This page gives you more info on the recent changes:

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Essential Member
Premium Supporter
From a rather more sensitive view, I would beg you not to. One of the (several) reasons for Technet subscriptions closing, was because, over the last year, of the proliferation of the sale of the evaluation keys on the web. As a long term user of such keys, I would hate to see something similar happen with MSDN keys.
Whilst it is a random chance, I would also warn you that MS do occasionally check activated products. Should they , in such checks, find one of your keys being used by an unauthorised person, you could well find yourself without a subscription, and no rebate.
Even in my environment, my large family, down to my grandchildren, understand this and have never asked me for the use of such keys.
The good news is that, although the keys are intended for "evaluation"only of products,you would be welcome to use theml. The condition will still apply, though, that feedback is required, either to those for whom you work,or, better, Microsoft.
Honest users should consider the MSDN terms of use very carefully, before they spend cash. This is a small extract:
"Many MSDN subscribers use a computer for mixed use—both design, development, testing, and demonstration of your programs (the use allowed under the MSDN subscription license) and some other use. Using the software in any other way, such as for doing email, playing games, or editing a document is another use and is not covered by the MSDN subscription license. When this happens, the underlying operating system must also be licensed normally by purchasing a regular copy of Windows such as the one that came with a new OEM PC."

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Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Premium Supporter
No it's not legal but as a practical matter you would be extremely unlucky to have any negative results.

To be clear, I wouldn't do it myself but that’s more because of my own ethics than any legal arguments.

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