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Licensing in Windows - Remote Desktop Vs Terminal Server

By dvijay ·
We have a setup of 5 member project team. They dont have MS office installed in their system. However they may need to use MS Office very rarely.

We are planning to setup a new system with MS office installed in it and allow 5 members (from 5 different workstations) to connect to this new system via Remote Desktop.

Now, the next question is about MS licensing. Do we need 5 MS office license in all 5 different workstations? OR Is it OK to have 1 license in Remote Desktop and allowing 5 others to connect one at a time?

I know for sure, if we use Terminal services, we should have 5 licenses. We are not sure if this applies to Remote Desktop too (where only one user connects at a time). We dont want to invest in 5 licenses for a very less usage.

Any help on this is highly appreciated. Thanks in Advance.

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Is the new system a stand alone desktop pc?

by 1bn0 In reply to Licensing in Windows - Re ...

If so, only one person can connect to it at a time.

I don't beleive there is any issue with that.

I would consider it the same is if each user was walking over to the desktop and using the application. You have one license for one installation being used by one person at a time.

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Device and User license

by rtp2006 In reply to Is the new system a stand ...

Most MS products are offered as a device license or user license so if you license it to the device (PC) you are licensed correctly...

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You will need a copy for each

by cmiller5400 In reply to Licensing in Windows - Re ...

Best bet is to contact Microsoft for the final say but, from what I have read, you will need a copy for each device that connects to the Remote Desktop session.

An excerpt from the MS Office 2003 EULA

1.2 Alternative Rights for Storage/Network Use. As an alternative to Section 1.1(a), you may install a copy of the Software on a network storage device, such as a server computer, and allow one access device, such as a personal computer, to access and use that licensed copy of the Software over a private network. You must obtain a license to the Software for each additional device that accesses and uses the Software installed on the network storage device, except as permitted by Section 1.4 of this EULA.
1.3 License Grant for Remote Desktop. You may use remote access technologies, such as the Remote Desktop features in Microsoft Windows or NetMeeting, to access and use your licensed copy of the Software, provided that only the primary user of the device hosting the remote desktop session accesses and uses the Software with a remote access device. These remote desktop rights do not permit you to use the Software on both the device hosting the remote desktop session and the access device at the same time.
1.4 License Grant for Remote Assistance. You may permit any device to access and use your licensed copy of the Software for the sole purpose of providing you with technical support and maintenance services.

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Why??? There is no concurrent use.

by 1bn0 In reply to You will need a copy for ...

1.3 states "These remote desktop rights do not permit you to use the Software on both the device hosting the remote desktop session and the access device at the same time."

Since he is not attempting to use the software both locally and remotely at the same time , he is not violating the limit of the license. One user at a time.


If each user has an account on the local workstation and office is installed on that workstation, each user can use the software, just not at the sane time.

Remote desktop is only providing the ability for one user at a time to access the local machine without actually sitting at the computer.

There is no concurrent use.

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Hmmm.....

by cmiller5400 In reply to Why??? There is no concur ...

In 1.3 there is a snippet.. "...provided that only the primary user of the device hosting the remote desktop session accesses and uses the Software with a remote access device"

Doesn't that mean that you can't share?

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I think so

by dvijay In reply to Hmmm.....

Almost all the admins I enquired confirmed that we need license in each workstation. None of them have provided me the sections which supports their thoughts.

Actually I am looking for some clear sections and easy to read agreement. 1.3 is definitely helpful.

As you rightly suggested, we need to check with MS Vendor

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That way you can

by cmiller5400 In reply to I think so

If you check with the MS partner/vendor, you can always say that they were the ones that told you the licensing requirement. But always get it in writing/e-mail!

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Will check with Software Vendor. What about google docs?

by dvijay In reply to That way you can

Will check with MS partner/vendor. But it will be a real pain, if finally we are forced to buy 5 licenses for very less usage.

What do you think about google docs (or similar service)? They provide API too. The only (big) issue is the docs go out of our network which will be a clear violation as per terms agreed with our customer. Is there a way to have google docs hosted with in our network (like wiki does)?

You could also say this - if we are open to go with google docs, why not we try Open office or Star office. Yes, I will also seriously look at these options.

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have you....

by ---TK--- In reply to Licensing in Windows - Re ...

though about Open Office? If they are worried about money I would have them try it, or at least offer it up... The worst they can say is no.

There is also Star Office, which you need to pay for, but its much cheaper than MS Office. At my job most of us switched over to that.

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Yes, thought about Open Office & Star Office

by dvijay In reply to have you....

Thanks for your suggestion.

We thought about Open Office & Star Office, however we finally decided to go with MS Office. The reason being, most (or all) of our customers uses MS Office and we found it hard to work with customer's document.

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