Office 2013 supports Terminal Server installations

UPDATE: I have written a new blog post with further updates and clarification.

DISCLAIMER: The word “supports” was incorrectly utilised in the blog title. While this can be done, it is not officially supported by Microsoft.

A common frustration with the Office 2010 Professional Plus package available as a standalone or as part of Office 365 E3 is that it does not support installation in virtual desktop environments such as Windows Terminal Services or Citrix XenDesktop environments. This was due to the fact the desktop suite as part of the subscription service was based on the retail model of license delivery and activation.

For those wanting to deploy Office 2010 onto a virtual desktop environment the only option was due to obtain the product via any number of Open License agreements.

Performing a quick test with Office 2013 (thank you Windows Azure for the ability to provision a Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 environment in minutes) I was able to download the current preview build from the Microsoft Online Portal, install it and have multiple users configure their Outlook profiles and being communicating.

This is a fantastic improvement in functionality. As soon as I find out more information about the licensing mechanism and benefits / usage rights I will update this post.


  1. The licensing model isn’t great.

    A lot of companies who have in house exchange, with Citrix and office, looking to upgrade are a bit stuck.

    First of all, if you want to deploy office via Citrix/TS, you ideally need SA too, which bumps office standard to £450 + VAT per user, which is rather expensive.

    Office 365 is a great (apart from not being able to have public folders, now available on office 365 Preview), you have everything online, depending which enterprise plan you have, you also get a copy of office, for the period of your contract. The downside as you know is that office is a retail instead of volume license, as you have outlined, means you cannot install it on Citrix/TS.

    This actually puts off a lot of businesses really, as it’s not really an “enterprise product”.

    If in Preview and 2013, you really can use MS office on Citrix/TS, then it will be a huge move forward, specially for a huge number of businesses because they can spread their costs over the period of the contract, in the long term it could work out more expensive, but it’s a better model for most.

    Looking forward to your updates when possible,


    Gabi 🙂

    1. Agreed, for the past year E3 has frustrated me with customers who had a terminal server or Citrix environment.
      When I got access to the Office 365 Preview and Office 2013 this is one of the first things I tested and was quite pleased with the result!

  2. Just thinking about this, do you think you where able to do this, due to it being a beta and the restrictions not being in place?

    I have a project coming up, where they will need remote access, so will be providing xenapp/xendesktop.

    Ideally, they want exchange online, so office 365 makes perfect sense, however, the cost of office 2010 standard on open value + SA (SA required for remote access outside the network) works out to be £482 + VAT per user……

    So, if 2013 can do it, it will not only save a lot of time and money, but also be great !!

    Thoughts really appreciated on this,



    1. I would think I was able to do it as the licensing system has been improved to support this situation.
      It was a big piece of feedback for the past year and a contributor to the E3 license not selling as well as it should have.

      I’m hoping it will be a truly supported scenario when Office 2013 hits RTM.

  3. I attempted to deploy Office 2013 Preview on a Azure Server 2008 R2 SP1 (July Update) running XenApp/RDS. When setting up Outlook 2013 I get the error “This version of Office cannot be deployed on terminal services….” I downloaded the Office 2013 bits from my Office 365 Enterprise Preview dashboard. Any thoughts?

    1. Perhaps it was the XenApp that stopped it and kicked the license restriction in. Can’t say for sure as it worked for me without issue. We’ll chalk it up to the fact that it’s a beta and guidance around the Office 2013 installation on a TS is yet to be confirmed/released.

  4. Are we any closer to knowing if you are able to use Office 2013 on TS infrastructures, there seems to be conflicting evidence out and about.



  5. I have read some articles and i find them all great, but this one i just have to add something to that you might have missed.

    Beeing able to do something, doesn’t always make it allowed.
    As i can see there is no documentation that Office 13 from Office 365 will be availble on RDS from a license perspective.

    If you do have any kind of documentation for this, i would love to read it since i can’t find it anywhere.

  6. Thanks for that update.

    But what does “Office 365 ProPlus bits will not install or run on a server with RDS enabled, but the updated PUR enables organizations to Volume License bits (Office Professional Plus 2013) in lieu of Office 365 ProPlus on RDS servers. Any user licensed for Office 365 ProPlus can access an RDS-hosted install as one of the 5 concurrent installs allowed per user.”

    Actually mean in English ? 🙂 Does this mean that organisations who want to use office on RDS, will it cost more if we VL Office 2013, even though the price is being paid for on the E3 subscriptions and greater?

    Thanks very much,


    1. It means you have the right to install a volume license copy of Office 2013 Pro Plus on your RDS server, and that all users that have a subscription for Office 365 Pro Plus, can use the software on the RDS server.
      It does not however, specify where to get the install media & product key from. I discussed this with a license reseller, and he adivsed to use the install media & key from another Open License subscription. But that would imply one has access to this.

      1. It is mentioned so in the Microsoft Product List (, page 99:

        Media Eligibility with Remote Desktop Services (RDS)
        If the user to whom you have assigned an Office 365 ProPlus license uses the software on a network server with RDS role enabled, in lieu of installing a copy of the software provided with Office 365 ProPlus on one of the five permitted devices pursuant to the Product Use Rights for Office 365 ProPlus, that user may 1) install one copy of the Office Professional Plus 2013 software on a network server and 2) access the Office Professional Plus 2013 software from any device. Upon termination of your Office 365 ProPlus subscription you must uninstall Office Professional Plus 2013 software from the network server.

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