Is the VL edition of Office a must for Windows Virtual Desktop?

Copper Contributor

After getting Windows Virtual Desktop up and running in Azure, I went to install a copy of Office (I have an E3 license via the O365 portal) and got the following message:


This copy of Microsoft Office cannot be used on a computer running Terminal Services.  To use Microsoft Office on a computer running Terminal Services, you must use a Volume License edition.


I knew there was a requirement to have an E3 license, but I didn't see VL as part of the requirements.  Is this always going to be a requirement, or is just something to work out related to the public preview?  We purchase our licenses through the O365 portal.

13 Replies

@Clint Covington I'm working through this, but admittedly this seems like it may be a workaround since it involves setting up a separate VM to run as the Office deployment machine, etc.  The steps to do shared computer activation seems just as in-depth as the entire virtual desktop setup unless I'm missing something easy.

@Christopher Anderson Shared Computer Activation or SCA is the technology through which Office 365 E3 or Office 365 ProPlus gets licensed on a VM / remote desktop environment. Volume License keys are not supported on Office 365 ProPlus. 


If you are deploying Office through Office Deployment Tool, you can set the SharedComputerLicensing property in the ODT xml to enable SCA:

<Property Name="SharedComputerLicensing" Value="1" />


This article also lists other ways of enabling Shared Computer Activation through Registry keys or deploying Group Policy: 




@Shubham Gupta (LICENSING) 


I followed the steps to get Office installed via shared computer licensing, and Office gives me the same error.  Here is the config file I used if you are curious.  I think it has more to do with the version of Office being installed rather than the delivery method2019-03-29 09_56_55-smwindev001 - - Remote Desktop Connec.png

@BrainGreenLab I think I figured out the trick.  If you have the Office deployment tool push Office 2019 Enterprise, it seems to work.  We'll see if it works long term with multiple users, but so far so good.  I never could get the installer to work from a network share from a VM, so I just ran it straight on the client itself.

2019-03-29 10_58_37-C__Users_chris.anderson_OneDrive - ServiceMac_Documents_Office Enterprise 2019.x.png



@Christopher AndersonYou can't use a Volume license unless you purchased licensing that way. Did they change the licensing terms because we were told we could not do that a few years ago? You would need a MKS and KMS license to activate it.

Seems weird they would require the volume license for a cloud offering like this. 

@Christopher Anderson can you follow the steps in the article to troubleshoot any configuration issues with Shared Computer Activation?



@Christopher AndersonThis works when you install the license with "Shared activation" as an admin on the host. I tested it.

@Tim Settar Correct, I resolved this a couple days ago and took a screenshot of my office deployment config above.

@Christopher AndersonYes, but you don't need volume license to do it. I did it with office pro plus.

@Tim Settar Correct, I didn't have a VL either and it still worked.