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Licensing in Antigen 9 and Forefront Server Security 10 Products

Licensing in Antigen 9 and Forefront Server Security 10 Products

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This blog entry gives you an overview of licensing for Antigen 9 and Forefront Server Security products, such as FSE and FSSP.


Your product’s expiration date can depend on several factors. Historically, Antigen licensing was controlled by a file called license.cfg (located in the product’s main install folder). This file determined whether your installation was licensed or running in evaluation mode and also when your licensed copy expired. Antigen 9 and the advent of the Forefront Server range of products has led to some changes on the licensing front, so I will go through these by product:


Antigen 9.0.1055 (RTM, SP0)

The license.cfg file determines entirely the license type (Evaluation or Subscription). It’s simple, but worth pointing out that the package available for the 30-day trial only contains the evaluation version of license.cfg. Subscription packages from Microsoft on hard media (CDs and DVDs) and from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Site for example, do contain the “fully licensed”, Subscription version of license.cfg.


If you have a “fully licensed” version of license.cfg and wish to upgrade your evaluation installation to a Subscription version, simply rename the current license.cfg to license.old (in the product’s main install folder), copy in the new (and fully licensed) license.cfg into the same folder, then run the following command at a DOS prompt (also in the same install folder, where AntigenStarter.exe is located):

                antigenstarter l                                (that’s ‘l’ for license at the end)


The duration of the Subscription license is 3 years after initial installation. I’m talking about product functionality here and not contractual agreement, to be clear. To extend the length of your licensed product, upgrade to SP1 (or above) and follow the instructions below to enter your valid Expiration Date.


Antigen 9.1.1097.0 (SP1) and higher

The initial licensing behaviour when you install SP1 is the same as in Antigen 9.0.1055. SP1 introduced a new licensing option, however. Once you have installed SP1, open the Antigen Administrator and go to Help>Product License. A pop-up window will appear where you can enter your License Agreement Number for Antigen and also the Expiration Date for this agreement:


























ì Note that the above screenshot displays the date in DD/MM/YYYY format. The date format may vary, depending on your Regional Settings.


If you enter the date to coincide with your License Agreement here, this will overrule the original 3-year license date and become effective immediately. This is the recommended way set-up the expiration date in Antigen 9 SP1.


Forefront Server Security (FSE, FSSP)

The initial installation of Forefront Server Security will normally be as an evaluation version. In Forefront, license.cfg does not steer the install type (Evaluation or Subscription). Instead we see a move towards other Microsoft products, where a Product Key must be entered in order to fully license the product. This is done in the Forefront Server Security Administrator console (when you open it or) under Help>Register Forefront Server:


Product Activation for FSE

























Once activated, you can also enter your 7-digit License Agreement Number and Expiration Date in the Forefront Server Security Administrator console, under Help>Register Forefront:


License FF

























ì Note that the above screenshot displays the date in DD/MM/YYYY format. The date format may vary, depending on your Regional Settings.


As in Antigen 9 SP1 and above, this new Expiration Date overrules the existing 3-year date to reflect your actual agreement with Microsoft.



The following table should help to sum how licensing works in Antigen 9 and Forefront Server Security 10:


Licensing Table






















Andy Day

Microsoft CSS (Customer Service and Support)

  • Hello, Andy,

    I work for Microsoft Commercial Support. Yesterday I had a customer who wanted to re-activate Antigen but the system wouldn't allow her to type in the initial "v" of the Open License subscription number.

    Is there some workaround for that or should she just skip the the "v" and type in the remaining digits?

    Best regards,


  • Where can I purchase a License Agreement Number for Antigen?

  • Hello Andy, I can read the above content but the images are not visible. Can you please forward the same to my e-mail for Forefront for exchange 2010. thank you

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