Best practice for installing Office 365E3

Copper Contributor

Hi everybody,

In my work, I install office 365 E3 licence using my account before imaging. So i use sysprep, create my image and send that image to the other computers.


I am wondering if I am not looking for trouble doing that. So far, it seems to be OK but I just want to be sure. In my account I see only three licences out of 5 that are used so I guess the sysprep wipes out my previous install.


is this considered best practice or shoud I do otherwise?


Thanks in advance for your help.

12 Replies

@Daguerre101 Hi, I highly recommend that you follow the official deployment guide.

Thank you @ChristianBergstrom


This thread countains really useful info indeed. It shows how to push Office 365 on computers. Since it is already installed in our image my need is to see if I could have bad surprises with the choice I have made so far.


Thank you 

@Daguerre101 Hello, as you're installing as an image do follow this guide to prevent unexpected behavior (such as activation of Office)

OK thank you, I will do that for sure in my next images but my question still remains: What happens now that I've already started to reimage computers.

So what I did:

- Created my image

- login with my credentials on

- Made the installation from

- Did a sysprep.

- Push that image to other computers.


After the users received their new computers, they login in AD with their own credentials and input their office365 credentials to activate their own office that has already been installed previously. Right now it seems to work fine but what could be the consequence on the long run?



Hi @Daguerre101,


To avoid that error, you will need to include in XML the shared computer activation for Microsoft 365 Apps.


Please read more here -


Best Regards,
Nuno Árias Silva
Office Apps and Services

@Daguerre101 Well, I have never used this approach but as the official docs says "You don't want any kind of Microsoft 365 apps product key installed in your operating system image."


I suppose all the users see the "Belongs to xxx" (your account) now when starting Office? And then signing you out and back in with their own credentials? To really switch the account correctly you would need to deactivate Office first, but from a license perspective you should be good as long as all users are licensed.


I obviously can't predict exactly what is going to happen from a technical perspective, but most likely experience some problems with the product keys, office activation / deactivation of apps and sign-in limits. So I believe you would benefit from using the recommend approach.


You could create a service request with Microsoft support asking the same questions to get an official standing.

@Nuno Silva Hi! Just so I understand. Are you saying to use shared computer activation even though it is not a shared computer?


"Shared computer activation is required for scenarios where multiple users share the same computer and the users are logging in with their own account."


You mean to handle the token as if it were a shared computer?

I've just read your link @Nuno Silva and it is exactly what I was looking for. Reading that, it seems that I could stay with the same scenario until we have a proper deployment tool.


The thread says that I can have up to 10 licences and if I reach that limit, the oldest licence will "shut down". So

1-I log in as local admin, go to with my AD credentials.

2- I install the Office 365 app from my account.

3- Create Image with sysprep.

4- The new imaged computer is put  in AD

5- A n employee logs in with is AD account. 

6- He starts any office software and put his credentials to activate his licence.

7- We're done.





@Nuno Silva forgot to answer your question:


Yes even if it is not a shared computer.


Here's what is the Thread stating:

In Microsoft 365 Apps version 1910 and later, we made the following improvements:

  • Users can install Microsoft 365 Apps on a new device without being prompted to deactivate it on another device. If a user has more than 10 devices with Microsoft 365 Apps activated, then the device that hasn't been used for the longest amount of time is automatically deactivated.

  • When Microsoft 365 Apps on a device has been deactivated, either from the portal or because a license has been removed, a new user on that device can activate Microsoft 365 Apps without an error.

  • When a user activates Microsoft 365 Apps on a device and a second user signs on to that device, both activations are now displayed in the activation report in the Microsoft 365 admin center.


So if I am correct, I can use my account to install the app. After that anyone with the licence can log in with his own AD account and activate his licence.


Finally, It seems that the sysprep cleans up my licence because in does not appears in my activated licences. 


Am I doing OK like that?


best response confirmed by Daguerre101 (Copper Contributor)

Hi @Daguerre101


The best practice to install a computer as a pre-stage computer without using any credentials and to avoid any issues of any kind about activating Office or switch user, is to use the shared computer activation as I have described, and also if you are deploying several computers you can use that process using a fileshare or a usb pen.


Best Regards,
Nuno Árias Silva
Office Apps and Services

OK will do thanks @Nuno Silva 

Hello Nuno, that is really handy to know. I had no idea this approach is being used when deploying as a image (not my responsibility area). Thanks for the reply and good luck to you @Daguerre101