Mixed licensing for WVD?

Copper Contributor

As far as I understand there are two ways of licensing a WVD user, either giving the user a M365 license or pointing the Windows 10 multisession host at a TS licensing host the old-fashioned way. Right?


How about mixed mode, where some users have the M365 license and others only a O365 E3 license?


Will using a M365 license get rid of the "host not licensed" message?


I really  would like documentation that explains how this scenario works.

19 Replies
Hi Oletho, It's very similar to how licensing works on-premises. If you are using Windows Server RDSH, you need a RDS CAL for every user that connects. If you are using a Windows Client OS, you are covered with your Windows E3 (or better) Per User licensing. O365 licensing is not sufficient for Windows 10 multi-session, it needs to be for a Windows OS. Since, from a licensing perspective, Windows 10 Multi-session is considered a client OS - you don't need an RDS CAL and there is no need to configure a TS licensing host. Now you might be getting pop-ups about a grace period, that's something we are fixing. For 1903 builds that should go away in a couple of weeks. For 1809 builds it will take longer and the best workaround is using the latest image from the gallery which has a grace period of 800 days. Thanks, Pieter


So for my O365 E3 users I need to configure a TS licensing server on the Windows multisession host, which makes good sense.


And on this same host a Windows E3 user will not occupy a TS license?


Just want to be sure how this mixed license scenario works. Thanks.

You cannot use Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session if a user is only licensed for Office. They need to be licensed for Windows. Either through E3, E5, Business, F1 or M365 E3/E5 Per User. What endpoints are you using? Is that Windows? If so, switching to Windows Per User licensing for everyone might be the best option.

So TS/RDS CALs is not an option? Now I am confused.


According to your blog “Getting started with Windows Virtual Desktop”:


Organizations with “Windows 10 Enterprise E3 Per User” licenses or better (e.g. Windows 10 Enterprise E5 or Microsoft 365 E3, E5, F1, or Business) or RDS CALs can use Windows Virtual Desktop for no additional charge apart from Azure compute/storage and network usage billing


In my POC tenant I have Windows 10, Mac and iOS endpoints. Some of my customers have M365 licenses, most have O365 and then some have mixed.


Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is a combination of licensing entitlements (e.g free Windows 7 ESU) and net-new technology which includes the management plane featuring things like AAD support, reverse connect, broker, gateway. licensing etc.


All of this is included with Windows 10 Enterprise E3 Per User” licenses or better (e.g. Windows 10 Enterprise E5 or Microsoft 365 E3, E5, F1, or Business) or RDS CALs.


From that point on, WVD supports multiple operating systems as RDSH including Windows Client and Windows Server. You will need Per User Windows licenses for a client OS and RDS CALs for a Server OS.


Hope this clarifies.

Ah, sure got that wrong.

Yes, this clarifies. Thanks!


Please may I also ask for clarification?

We are a non-profit and are hugely grateful for the help Microsoft give us with our Charity licences.

Currently we have a:

  • an on prem Window Server 2012 using AD sync
  • a Azure Windows 2016 instance that our few users access.
  • E2 Licences for 365
  • Windows Remote Desktop Services - User CAL's

BUT we only have 8 users - so this is rather cumbersome.


So rather than unnecessarily messing with a server I wondered if I can use our existing E3 or using our Windows Remote Desktop Services - User CALto get access to  WVD  and make our live simpler?

This would be the case for many non-profits that want to keep life simpler.


Many thanks for your suggestions!

Could you help me understand the following: - What exact licenses do you have, Windows, Office and/or M365? - Is the Windows 2016 instance running in Azure?

Hi Pieter,

Thank you for your response. Detail below.


As a non-profit we have been given 

  • Office 365 E2
  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016
  • Windows 10 Enterprise
  • Windows 10 Pro

On Prem: Windows Server 2012 Standard

10 Remote Desktop Licence Windows Server - Device CAL 

Open License Details :87101258


Our Windows Server 2016 is an Azure instance.

Please let m,e know if you need anything else to clarify our bets path to using in the WVD in New Zealand! I think it would be so much simpler.


Kind Regards



It might be good to wait until we have rolled-out our management plane to New Zealand and we announced AAD support. The first will make sure the traffic isn't routed via the US and enhance performance. The second will remove the requirement for AD in Azure saving costs. It's hard to give timeliness as we are in planning phase but I'm personally expecting somewhere Q1 of next calendar year. Until that, the existing setup is probably best.

Hi @PieterWigleven Pieter Wigleven (WINDOWS) 

I have a customer whose previous environment is in RDS and now he is trying out WVD. The customer already has an O365 E3 license and i have deployed a WVD environment for the customer using ADDS, so just wanted to confirm the customer has E3 license, so will he will be still charged for the windows enterprise multi-session that i have deployed for him. Do i need to enable any  client OS Licensing on WVD?And if so how am i suppose  to do it?

@sarahpotrick2573 Any user connecting to a Windows client OS in WVD requires a Windows E3 Per User (or higher, like M365 E3/E5 Per User) license. The O365 E3 license you a referring only applies to Office and not Windows, the OS itself requires a valid license in order to be compliant.
The Windows E3 requirement is trust based, there is nothing for you to enable.

ok so what if my user has M365 E3? so still my user will be charged for the windows enterprise? or microsoft will automatically manage the licensing stuff@PieterWigleven 

@sarahpotrick2573 as M365 E3 contains both "Windows E3 Per User" and "Office E3 Per User" you are all good assuming you are providing access to a Client SKU.


  • Windows E3 Per User covers Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session
  • Office E3 Per Users covers Office usage inside of the VM

You can run the VMs against linux rates (preventing paying double) using the information provided here 

Hi @PieterWigleven , I just clear my doubts. I've read the previous questions and still don't have sure on one thing.


If I deploy my Hostpools using the Azure market place using Win 10 multisession  . Am I good to use with as many users i Want? Or will I be charged for the infrastructure plus the total users that uses WVD? 

@Eva Seydl Could you help with my question above?

ok got it. As of now  i have a customer who is using office365 E3, so as u said i would need to get Windows enterprise E3 or higher per user for all of the users who will be connecting to WVD?@PieterWigleven 

@sarahpotrick2573 Yes, with the note that WVD supports multiple operating systems and depending what you spin up, the requirements are slightly different. 


In essence it's the same as on-premises: 

- If you spin up a Windows Server, it requires a RDS CAL for the user that connects. 

- If you spin up a Windows client OS (including multi-session), it requires the user has a Windows E3 Per User license.


For Office 365 ProPlus, you need an appropriate license just like on-premises: either Office E3 or higher.


"For Office 365 ProPlus, you need an appropriate license just like on-premises: either Office E3 or higher" or just an Office365 ProPlus licence ;) 


Do you know if Office Standard runs in WVD (presume it does) and would it be licenced in same way as standard VDI solutions i.e. need Software Assurance or SPLA licence?