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How can a new computer purchased with Microsoft® Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 be legally downgraded to an earlier Server class operating system?

Issue

Microsoft no longer allows OEM computer manufacturers to install Microsoft® Windows Server 2003 or Microsoft® Windows Server 2003 on OEM computers.  Is there a valid legal and legitimate workaround for running software products that are not compatible with Microsoft® Windows Server 2008?

Environment

New server class computer that was purchased pre-loaded with Microsoft® Windows Server 2008 or Microsoft® Windows Server 2008 R2

I/A Series software that runs only on Microsoft® Windows Server 2003 such as:

I/A Series (Niagara) R2 - all releases
I/A Series (Niagara) G3 - all releases prior to 3.6.x

Cause

Microsoft® Windows Server 2003 is no longer available on new computers.

Resolution

Downgrade the Microsoft® Windows Server 2008 to Microsoft® Windows Server 2003

According to the Windows Server License supplied with all versions of Microsoft® Windows Server 2008 (including R2), the license grants the customer the right to run an earlier level or edition of Windows Server.  Microsoft permits this downgrade because many customers need to continue using old versions of Windows Server for compatibility reasons.

More information is available from this attached document.

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