Update: Note the comments about Volume Licensing
A customer wanted to deploy Microsoft Office on Terminal Server. That's a fairly unusual
thing: usually Office gets installed at individual PC's, so you'd
have no real need to install it on the TS itself. But if
you are using thin client terminals rather than PC's, well, there's
no local machine to install Office on. You could have the same
situation if you were using Macs or Linux machines to access the
You'd think this would be easy, and actually it is, but getting
there was quite a ride. The first thing I did was ask my distributor.
They said, and I quote:
"The Microsoft Office Pro would simply be licensed and installed on each
workstation at the PC level. It not licensed at the server level."
Hmm. Not listening. I can't install Office on a thin terminal.
I pressed the issue and got another answer from his product manager:
"Microsoft Office remains a 'client' based license even in a terminal situation.
However, Office can be loaded onto a server, and pulled/pushed down to
the systems on the network. Each individual using it however still
needs a copy of Office, it's just that all the license data will exist
on the server, along with the Office programs and files.
They can do a 'network load' of Office to accomplish this."
Ok, that was getting me nowhere. I went to the Internet, but
kept getting referred to articles like this which carefully explain that you
need to be licensed - no cheating! No help there.
There's also a fair amount of stuff at Microsoft on the
technical aspects of the install (as opposed to the licensing that
I wanted to understand). You do need to review the specific
article that references the version of office and the version of
TS you plan to use. Some installs aren't quite straight-forward.
Search Microsoft.com for "install office terminal server"; you'll
But I needed to know about licensing, and that's what I
could not find. I Googled for "licensing terminal server" and
kept finding stuff explaining that you NEED the licenses, but
couldn't find how you install them.
The customer called asking when they could get this done. I
wrote to my distributor again, and this time the sales person referred
me to support. Unfortunately, support had no clue either, but
they did have connections with Microsoft, and soon enough we
had a conference call going with a licensing rep.
"Sure, you can install Office on Terminal Server", she said. "You
just need to license it for each user, and the licenses cannot be
OEM licenses - they have to be retail or Volume Licensing."
Sigh. I'm still confused. "Volume licensing is for big customers,
so we'll be buying individual copies.. But exactly HOW do I install
these licenses?", I pleaded.
"You don't have to install them", she answered.
"Are you saying I buy five retail copies, go to the TS,
do my 'change user /install', install ONE copy of Office,
put ONE license key on it, do 'change user /execute' and
then put the other four copies in the filing cabinet?", I asked.
"Yes. You just need them to be legal for an audit."
Sheesh. Why can't they just say that in plain English? Well,
maybe because they really don't want you to know that because it
makes you realize that you could run a hundred users or more
with one license if you don't care about the legality.
My customer cares about legality and so do I, so we'll put
the unused copies on the shelf.
Remember - OEM licenses are no good. The licenses also have
to match exactly: having a Windows XP Office license doesn't
give you the right to run Win 2003 Office on the TS. Everything
has to match before you file it away.
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© 2013-03-15 Anthony Lawrence