Office 365 Pro Plus and RDS/TS installation with VL PUR

Bryan Von Axelson 2010



Many partners are aware by now that the Product Use Rights (PUR) was updated end of January in favor of supporting a RDS or TS deployment of Office, even though the user’s license was a subscription license through Office 365. UPDATE – It is important to understand that a PUR is only for Customer’s in a Volume License Agreement such as EA, Select, or Open.

Updated 09/2013 reflecting additional offerings in Office 365 Open –

INSTALLATION AND USE RIGHTS - Product Use Rights (January 2013) (see note under Additional Terms, page 82)
1. Each user to whom you assign a User SL may activate the software for local or remote use on up to five concurrent OSEs.
2. The Licensed User may also use the software activated by another user under a different User SL.
3. Each user may also use one of the five activations on a network server with the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) role enabled.
4. You may allow other users to remotely access the software solely to provide support services.


In trying to provide clarity on the HOW you accomplish this; I would like to offer this information that was gathered from a recent discussion forum:

A Volume Activation Office package is required to install on a Windows Server 2008 R2 or newer server with the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) role enabled. All Office 365 ProPlus packages use retail activation and because of that, they do not install on a server with the RDS role enabled or function if installed first on the server then the RDS role is enabled after the Office install. Office setup will detect the RDS role at install time and the apps will also detect the RDS role when launched post installation.

In order to install Office Pro Plus 2013 in the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) mode, you must have a volume licensing agreement. Remember that this one license has to be part of the 5 minimum licenses in order to start a volume licensing agreement. You will need RDS CAL’s for each user, so my advice would be to attach the 1 copy of Office Pro Plus 2013 to your order for the RDS CAL’s and Office 365.

Note that installing Office 365 ProPlus on a virtual machine (client or server without an RDS role enabled) is now permitted as well according to the updated PUR. The virtual machine - as with a physical machine install - would be allocated to a primary user, meet Office 365 ProPlus system requirements and be able to connect to the Internet-based Office Licensing Service at least once every 30 days. In other words, we do not distinguish between a physical and virtual machine, as long as all requirements are met.

For Office 365 ProPlus standalone, Office 365 Midsize, and E3/E4,* users may use one of their 5 allocated installations via RDS with the Volume License edition of Office Professional Plus 2013. The organization will still need to procure 1 copy, appropriate key and necessary RDS licenses via the Volume Licensing. The exception only grants the use rights of Office Professional Plus 2013 via RDS to users with an Office 365 ProPlus license.

These are updates from the licensing terms prior to January 2013 for Office Professional Plus in Office 365, which did not allow for any form of virtualization to be used with Office desktop apps.

For more information check out this thread -


Many partners have requested this ability as an option in how they choose to deploy Office for their customers. This has been a very hot topic since the announcement of the PUR this past January. Hopefully this will add clarity to the point that YES you can do RDS/TS implementations, even though the customer is purchasing their Office through Office 365 Subscriptions, however a PUR is only for customers in a VL agreement.

Additional Information:

Great Resource -

One key point is that it requires Office 365 ProPlus, which is available as a stand alone, or through some of the service offerings such as Office 365 Midsize, as well as, the E3 and E4 plans*. Please note that the Office 365 Small Business Premium offering is not eligible.  

From the FAQ: What’s the different between Office 365 Small Business Premium and Office 365 Midsize Business?

Office 365 Small Business Premium is designed for businesses with 10 or fewer users without IT personnel. It provides a subscription version of the Office client as well as Exchange business email, and collaboration through SharePoint. It also provides IM/presence and meetings through Lync.

Office 365 Midsize Business is designed for companies with between 11 and 250 users. It provides the features of Small Business Premium as well as improved phone support, Active Directory and a more advanced IT admin console. It also includes a full version of Office 365 ProPlus, our best version of the Office client.

The applications provided as part of the Office client in Small Business Premium SKU are the same as those in the Midsize Business SKU. The applications included in both SKUs are Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, Publisher, Infopath, & SkyDrive Pro. However, there are some of features available in Midsize Business SKU that are not available in the Small Business Premium SKU. For example, the Small Business Premium version does not include features like PowerPivot, PowerView, Monacle, Prodiance, Terminal Services, Telemetry monitoring and a few other smaller items.

Small Business Premium Subscriptions have a technical cap of 25 users. Midsize Business Subscriptions have a technical cap of 300 users. These user caps are designed to ensure a positive customer experience based on the SKU design.


* RDS Use Rights are only included with Office 365 purchased via a VL Agreement such as Open. We are currently working on a solution that would be available to customers who are not purchasing Office 365 through a VL Agreement –