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We are excited to announce the ability to enable shared computer activation for Office by Microsoft 365 Business subscribers

 

Normally, users can install and activate the Office 365 Business Client only on a limited number of devices, such as 5 PCs. Using the Office 365 Business Client with shared computer activation enabled doesn't count against that limit.

 

This helps in scenarios where multiple users are connecting to the same remote computer at the same time. The users can each run Office programs, such as Word or Excel, at the same time on the remote computer. Enabling shared computer activation for Office can also be useful in situations where multiple users share the same computer and the users are logging in with their own account. A few examples of where Office with shared computer activation enabled could be useful are:

 

  • Three workers at a warehouse share a computer, each worker using Excel on that computer during their shift to track orders & shipments
  • Five nurses at an outpatient clinic use Word on shared computers at the nurses station throughout the day to create encounter reports from a template
  • The business owners, billing clerk, and the accountant connect remotely to a Windows 2016 Server running Remote Desktop Services (RDS) to use Excel and the company’s accounting software.
  • Field service employees use Office on a computer that's located in a conference room to update/write reports when needed.
  • Remote medical billing coders and auditors working from home connect to Windows Virtual Desktops (WVD) in Azure with Office installed to work on highly sensitive medical records.

 

Please refer to this article for how you can enable shared computer activation for Office.

 

Please note that the ability to enable shared computer activation for Office is a Microsoft 365 Business entitlement and not a feature of Office 365 Business in general. The roll out of shared computer activation for Microsoft 365 Business customers will begin 4/30 and we expect the roll out to be completed in the next couple of months.

25 Comments
New Contributor

Does this mean that M365 Business includes Pro Plus or just the activate rights?

Microsoft

@Mark Benton Just the activation rights in the existing business client that comes in M365B. It does not include Office 365 Pro Plus

Occasional Visitor

Will this mean that if I have a shared computer activation instance of O365 Pro Plus already configured, that my M365B users will be able to sign in and activate it?  Or will I need to configure SCA on an M365B product?

 

Edit: Also, can you confirm if this will be available to M365 Business Premium users?

 

Thanks!

 

Regular Visitor

So, to be clear, we can now use Office from M365B on Terminal Servers deployed into clients, rather than having to buy Open Licence versions of Office for those servers/users?

Occasional Visitor

Great News. This will help with migrating a bunch of our customers to Microsoft 365 Business.  How do we know if it's been rolled out to a specific tenant?

Occasional Visitor

Anxiously awaiting this feature - I would also like to know how to verify when rolled out to a specific tenant and/or learn schedule if it is going to be a while. West coast US so hopefully soon. I have a client desktop deployment that's been frozen waiting for this.

Occasional Visitor

Can we mix the Pro Plus with the M365B on the same RDS?
When will the Shared Activation be Enroled?

Occasional Visitor

The Microsoft Online Service Terms dated May 2019 still appear to state this is not allowed?

 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/product-licensing/products#OST

 

Office 365 Applications
Office 365 Business
Office 365 ProPlus
Visio Online (Plan 1 and 2)

 

Installation and Use Rights
Each user to whom Customer assigns a User SL must have a work or school account in order to use the software provided with the subscription. These users:
• may activate the software provided with the SL on up to five concurrent OSEs for local or remote use;
• may also install and use the software, with shared computer activation, on a shared device, a Network Server, or on shared servers on Microsoft Azure or with a Qualified Multitenant Hosting Partner. A list of Qualified Multitenant Hosting Partners and additional deployment requirements are available at www.office.com/sca. This shared computer activation provision does not apply to Customers licensed for Office 365 Business; and
• must connect each device upon which user has installed the software to the Internet at least once every 30 days or the functionality of the software may be affected.
• may use Internet-connected Online Services provided as part of ProPlus. Additionally, if permitted by Customer, users may elect to use connected services subject to terms of use other than this OST and with respect to which Microsoft is a data controller, as identified in product documentation.

Microsoft
Thanks for flagging this. We are working with our teams to have the OST amended to include Microsoft 365 Business
Regular Visitor

Can somebody from Microsoft confirm the function to install with the Office Deployment Tool, Business Premium on a shared computer? An then Business premium users can activate and use the apps.  I just completed an install and it denied activating a Business premium user with an error message.   I made sure I pulled down the correct version of software (O365Business) with the deployment tool, not the Pro Plus version.  Should this have worked or is this feature not yet implemented for Business versions?

 

I have users that share the same computer (such as computer in a meeting room hooked to a large monitor) and some are E3 and some are Business Premium.  Can the E3 users activate with the Business Premium install since it's a lower level?  We just need the common apps like Word, Excel, Outlook and Skype for Business to authenticate.  These apps are the same between the license levels.  I have not yet found a way that both Business Premium users and E3 can share the same apps on the same computer.  Is there a way to do this?  Please post the instructions if so otherwise can you put it in as an enhancement?  Any higher license level should be able to activate with lower product install.  They just won't get some of the extra features of their higher license while using that particular computer. 

 

The other option that would be acceptable is with a Pro Plus(E3) install a Business Premium user can still authenticate to apps that are the same between license levels.  I have tried this today and this definitely does not currently work.

Regular Visitor

Update: I just uninstalled all O365 installs on a computer.  I then reinstalled using the Office Deployment Tool the O365Business package.  Thinking this would allow all my Business Premium users to authenticate.  This initially worked and the version was 1808.  I could also authenticate as E3 licensed user which was great, just what I needed. But then an update to Office 1904 came down and now the Business Premium users can not authenticate.  A message displays "The products found in your account cannot be used to activate office in shared computer scenarios".  However, an E3 user can still authenticate with no problem.  This is odd because E3 users fall under the Pro Plus version of Office and that's not the version installed.  Long story short is this shared computer activation stuff seems to only work for E3 and up licensed people or maybe also Pro Plus volume licensed people. If someone has been able to get shared computer use Office installs to work with O365 Business Premium licensed users, please let me know how you did it.  Technically it might not be supported or allowed, but it would be nice to have some clear documentation from Microsoft on this.  Why can't shared computer O365 activation work with Business Premium users?  It did when I had Office version 1808 installed.

FYI: the SCA Feature for M365 Business will not be available right away for all Tenants. As mentioned in the article: "The roll out of shared computer activation for Microsoft 365 Business customers will begin 4/30 and we expect the roll out to be completed in the next couple of months." Meaning it might take a while before SCA for M365 can be activated on your Tenant.

Regular Visitor

@Rogier_Honselaar Is there anyway to check a tenants status? Is there an update on how the roll out is going? Originally, Microsoft stated the roll out would begin mid-april then changed to April 30th. I just want to be sure the roll out actually began. I would hate for June to get here and Microsoft change the roll out again and say the roll out will be complete by Q4. I understand things happen, I just need Microsoft to have open communication so I can give an explanation to my bosses. They were hoping for this to be live by June. Thanks Guys!

Regular Visitor

@Dave Olson 

Update: I just uninstalled all O365 installs on a computer.  I then reinstalled using the Office Deployment Tool the O365Business package.  Thinking this would allow all my Business Premium users to authenticate.  This initially worked and the version was 1808.  I could also authenticate as E3 licensed user which was great, just what I needed. But then an update to Office 1904 came down and now the Business Premium users can not authenticate.  A message displays"The products found in your account cannot be used to activate office in shared computer scenarios".  However, an E3 user can still authenticate with no problem.  This is odd because E3 users fall under the Pro Plus version of Office and that's not the version installed.  Long story short is this shared computer activation stuff seems to only work for E3 and up licensed people or maybe also Pro Plus volume licensed people. If someone has been able to get shared computer use Office installs to work with O365 Business Premium licensed users, please let me know how you did it.  Technically it might not be supported or allowed, but it would be nice to have some clear documentation from Microsoft on this.  Why can't shared computer O365 activation work with Business Premium users?  It did when I had Office version 1808 installed.

This is NOT for "Office 365 Business Premium" but for "Microsoft 365 Business". So regardless of the roll out status, this won't work for Business Premium users

Regular Visitor

@Griffin Cash @Rogier_Honselaar 

I don't understand why this would not apply to O365 Business Premium as well since it is a higher tier license than O365 Business.  Why would E3 be fine and O365 Business, but not O365 Business Premium?  According to this link, both O365 Business and Business Premium use the same install package.

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/product-ids-that-are-supported-by-the-office-deployment-too...

 

If someone from Microsoft can clarify if this shared use will apply to all Business level licensing or not, that would be much appreciated?  The way I see it, if anything the O365 Business Premium would work and the O365 Business would not because it's a lower cost license. Why would Microsoft skip over O365 Premium for shared computer activation since it sits in between O365 Business and E3?

Regular Visitor

"MICROSOFT" is the keyword. MICROSOFT 365 Business , not Office 365 business

Regular Visitor

@Griffin CashThe applications are the same between the two from what I see, and according to the deployment tool link I provided, it doesn't even list Microsoft O365 Business as a separate installable package. In any case Microsoft is making it extremely confusing with it's naming of O365 products. The standard office apps between Microsoft O365 Business, E3 and Business Premium for the most part are the same.  So why would Microsoft say a fully licensed Word, Excel, Outlook, and Powerpoint user doesn't have the same right to run those apps on a shared computer?  What would be the logical reason to not apply this same shared computer usage to all business level licensed O365 users? 

Regular Visitor
Microsoft

@Dave Olson Shared Computer Activation feature was not an entitlement available in SMB skus previously - you had to purchase Office 365 E3 to get this feature. With this announcement, we've made Shared Computer activation feature available in Micrososft 365 Business which is our premium offering among SMB skus.

 

So to clarify among the SMB Skus, Shared Computer Activation is only available to Microsoft 365 Business subscribers and is NOT an entitlement in skus like Office 365 Business Premium, Business Essentials and Business

Regular Visitor

Here's my issue and why this policy either needs to be expanded to all Business level O365 user licenses or authentication for different license levels need to be able to coexist on the same computer.

 

We have two room based meeting computers where it's attached to a large screen on the wall.  Right now as it stands, E3 licenses users and Business premium users can't both authenticate and use the same installed Word or Excel.  Our staff are well within their 5 device licensed limit so it should be no problem to have them authenticate with these two room computers.  But they can't.  Why?  Because if you install either of the Business premium package or the E3 package the other licensed group can't authenticate.  One would think you could install the Business Premium package and E3 should be able to authenticate since Business premium is a subset of E3.  There is nothing Business premium has that E3 doesn't also have.  But this doesn't work either.  How can I get my legally under the limit licensed E3 and Business Premium users to use Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook on the same computer?  This should be a trivial thing to allow and it would be such a huge convenience especially for companies that have multiple shifts of workers sharing the same computer, but they might have different license levels.  If this can somehow be done and someone has done it, please let me know the secret.

Regular Visitor

@Dave Olson What if you install both Office Business and Office ProPlus? From my understanding, it will use whichever that user is licensed for. It sounds like you are willing to use one of the 5 licenses.

 

But on a second note, I'm pretty sure this SCA feature is more aimed at RDS users from Microsoft's viewpoint. 

Regular Visitor

@Griffin CashI have already tried installing both E3 and Business premium packages last week. Both even showed up in the installed programs list in Windows 10.  However it did not allow both licensed groups to authenticate, only E3.  Also we have tried this with RDS as well and never could get it to work reliably there either. Followed very specific instructions from MS.  I had some consultants try the same thing and they also could not get it to work. That's why I was excited about this post as it potentially meant Microsoft was going to finally allow shared computer use for rightfully licensed people across different license groups.  But it looks like my hopes have been quickly dashed.  This was never a problem when using the standalone apps and volume licenses.  O365 in this respect has taken a step backwards.

 

There shoudn't be anything fancy necessary to allow this.  If I open Excel, it should just look at my license and see that I'm licensed for Excel and I'm not over my limit of devices and allows me to run it.  But instead, I think Microsoft looks at the package level installed and probably stops at the first one it finds in the registry of the computer.  If no match, then it errors out.

Occasional Contributor

In the past I had some PC's with a shared computer account that users logged on to.  They could then setup different profiles in Outlook and retrieve their email while signed in on a shared PC wit the shared account.  Now with ADAL turned on in Outlook, they cannot do this anymore as the shared account allows users to open any of the other users mailboxes.

Is there functionality that resolves this so the user can continue to logon with a shared account, then safely open their own mailbox without the concern others can open theirs as well?

Visitor

So today I added a M365B subscription to one of our tenant, installed office using ODT to a RDS server, verified using powershell that the sub has SCA enabled, it has.

 

Below can be run using the tenant admin account.

Connect-MsolService
$sku = Get-MsolAccountSku | Where-Object {$_.skupartnumber -eq "SPB"}     
if ($sku) 
{   write-host ($sku.servicestatus | Where-Object { $_.serviceplan.servicename -match "Shared_Computer_Activation" }).provisioningStatus  
}

 

Still no dice, get the following error message "The product we found in your account cannot be used to activate office in shared computer scenarios"

 

I did raise a ticket and hopefully the Support guy pushed a magic button (script to update SOP's) , Will re-test er later and update with outcome.

 

UPDATE: magic button pushed, still not working. Sigh..

 

 

Regular Visitor

 

Just tested again on my test RDS server. Appears to be working now!!!!! 

 

On mobile at the moment. Gonna test a few more things but appears all is working.