Error when opening the Click-to-Run version of an Office program or suite on a terminal server

Note

Office 365 ProPlus is being renamed to Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise. For more information about this change, read this blog post.

Symptoms

Assume that you install the Click-to-Run version of a Microsoft Office program or suite on a terminal server. When you open the Office program or suite, you receive the following error message:

In Microsoft Office 2013:

"This copy of Microsoft Office 2013 cannot be used on a computer running Terminal Services. To use Office 2013 on a computer running Terminal Services, you must use a Volume License edition of Office."

In Microsoft Office 2016:

"This copy of Microsoft Office 2016 cannot be used on a computer running Terminal Services. To use Office 2016 on a computer running Terminal Services, you must use a Volume License edition of Office."

Cause

This issue occurs because Click-to-Run versions of Office programs or suites running on a server with Remote Desktop Services (RDS), must have Shared Computer Activation enabled. Remote Desktop Services are formerly known as Terminal Services. Shared Computer Activation is only available for Microsoft 365 Apps. Other releases are not supported.

Workaround

To work around this issue, do one of the following;

  • For customers who have an Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise license, install Office with shared computer activation. For more information about installing Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise with shared computer activation, see Deploy Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise by using Remote Desktop Services.
  • For all other versions of Office Click-to-Run, install an edition of the Office program or suite that uses a volume license key.

Status

This behavior is by design.