Installing Office 365 Pro Plus on an RDS Server–updated

**** Updated 1 October 2014 Please see:


Until 1 September 2014 the only way you were licenced to run Office from Office 365 on an RDS server was if you purchased it via Open licensing. Also, the only way that you could actually install it was making an additional purchase of Office Volume License Media and a Volume License key.

I detailed all of that in a previous blog post:

Post 1 September 2014 it is a brand new world.

Firstly, you no longer need to purchase additional Volume License media and keys to do the install on an RDS machine. You can use the Office Deployment toolkit.The way that you do that is well covered by fellow MVP Boon Tee here:

The lingering question was whether you still needed to purchase Office 365 via Open licensing to have this RDS facility.

In order to investigate this I returned to the links in my original blog post:

The primary source of truth is always the Office 365 Service Descriptions. if we now examine the Enterprise Value description at: 

we see:



So a couple of things to note here:

1. RDS is not permitted for Small Business premium

2. RDS IS permitted for M, E3 and E4

3. There are no caveats or foot notes as there used to be


If you click the Desktop Viirtualization link you see the above. again no mention of only being available via Open or not.

So it now seemed as though M, E3 and E4 from anywhere were now licensed for RDS. However, I wanted to be sure this was the case because a lot of people have purchased via Syndication (read T-Suite and the Microsoft portal), so I finally went to the source for the answer – Jeremy Chapman from Microsoft and here’s what he said:

Q. What you are saying is yes to for RDS via any method (expect for Business Premium)

A. Yes. Shared Computer Activation was actually built for this scenario primarily. It is also intended to solve for/replace the temporary exception in the PUR permitting volume license customers to use Office Professional Plus 2013 . The latter is actually the document update I’m referring to, as PUR applies to VL customers only. The rest of the base is allowed to use Office 365 ProPlus in on premises RDS as of September 1.

So there you have it, if you have an Office 365 M, E3 or E4 SKU, no matter where you bought it from, you can use it on an RDS server and now directly via Office 365 without needing VL media and keys. Jeremy also tole me additional information on this will become available in October.

I’m sure if I have missed something someone at Microsoft will tell me and I’m happy to update this information so please let me know if I have made a mistake here.

However, that all said, can I say here WELL DONE Microsoft for the change in RDS requirements with Office 365. These recent changes are significant for the SMB market and really show to me that Microsoft is listening and improving the Office 365 product in line with what people are asking for. It may not happen fast enough for some, but kudos on Microsoft for making it happen.

So there you have it. Office (M, E3 and E4) from Office 365 on RDS now equals YES YOU CAN.

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