Apply Windows license to session host virtual machines

Customers who are properly licensed to run Azure Virtual Desktop workloads are eligible to apply a Windows license to their session host virtual machines and run them without paying for another license. For more information, see Azure Virtual Desktop pricing.

Ways to use your Azure Virtual Desktop license

Azure Virtual Desktop licensing allows you to apply a license to any Windows or Windows Server virtual machine that is registered as a session host in a host pool and receives user connections. This license does not apply to virtual machines that are running as file share servers, domain controllers, and so on.

There are a few ways to use the Azure Virtual Desktop license:

  • You can create a host pool and its session host virtual machines using the Azure Marketplace offering. Virtual machines created this way automatically have the license applied.
  • You can create a host pool and its session host virtual machines using the GitHub Azure Resource Manager template. Virtual machines created this way automatically have the license applied.
  • You can apply a license to an existing session host virtual machine. To do this, first follow the instructions in Create a host pool with PowerShell to create a host pool and associated VMs, then return to this article to learn how to apply the license.

Apply a Windows license to a session host VM

Make sure you have installed and configured the latest Azure PowerShell. Run the following PowerShell cmdlet to apply the Windows license:

$vm = Get-AzVM -ResourceGroup <resourceGroupName> -Name <vmName>
$vm.LicenseType = "Windows_Client"
Update-AzVM -ResourceGroupName <resourceGroupName> -VM $vm

Verify your session host VM is utilizing the licensing benefit

After deploying your VM, run this cmdlet to verify the license type:

Get-AzVM -ResourceGroupName <resourceGroupName> -Name <vmName>

A session host VM with the applied Windows license will show you something like this:

Type                     : Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines
Location                 : westus
LicenseType              : Windows_Client

VMs without the applied Windows license will show you something like this:

Type                     : Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines
Location                 : westus
LicenseType              :

Run the following cmdlet to see a list of all session host VMs that have the Windows license applied in your Azure subscription:

$vms = Get-AzVM
$vms | Where-Object {$_.LicenseType -like "Windows_Client"} | Select-Object ResourceGroupName, Name, LicenseType

Requirements for deploying Windows Server Remote Desktop Services

If you deploy Windows Server as Azure Virtual Desktop hosts in your deployment, a Remote Desktop Services license server must be accessible from those virtual machines. The Remote Desktop Services license server can be located on-premises or in Azure. For more information, see Activate the Remote Desktop Services license server.