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Office 365 shared computer activation

Office 365 shared computer activation

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Tim Tetrick

Back in May, I shared in a blog post that “native RDS/TS support for Office 365 ProPlus is coming, and is currently targeted to release in the second half of 2014”.

Well I’m pleased to announce that this support is now available as of September 1, 2014.  All SKUs containing Office 365 ProPlus, Project Pro for Office 365, or Visio Pro for Office 365 can be used by multiple users on a shared device or virtual machine.  This is referred to as shared computer activation.

Shared computer activation lets you to deploy Office 365 ProPlus to a computer in your organization that is accessed by multiple users. For example, several nurses at a hospital connect to the same remote server to use their applications, or a group of workers share a computer at a factory.

The most common shared computer activation scenario is to deploy Office 365 ProPlus to shared computers by using Remote Desktop Services (RDS). By using RDS, multiple users can connect to the same remote computer at the same time. The users can each run Office 365 ProPlus programs, such as Word or Excel, at the same time on the remote computer.

Shared computer activation gets enabled during the installation of Office 365 ProPlus, Project Pro for Office 365 and Visio Pro for Office 365 using the Office Deployment Tool. Once enabled, Office installs without being activated. When a user signs in to a computer with Office installed via shared computer activation, Office will check to see if the user has been provisioned for Office 365 ProPlus and temporarily activates Office 365 ProPlus. If a second user signs in to the same computer, the activation does not persist from the first user and process is repeated.

It’s also important to note that deploying Office 365 ProPlus using shared computer activation does not count against a user’s five total installations of Office 365 ProPlus or Office for Mac

For more information, and for guidance on how to enable shared computer activation for Office 365 ProPlus, see Overview of shared computer activation for Office 365 ProPlus

For specific guidance on how to deploy Office 365 ProPlus by using Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and shared computer activation, see Deploy Office 365 ProPlus by using Remote Desktop Services.


  • thank you very much Tim for this good News for Microsoft Office 365 customers.
    I have just a quick question: this licensing Change aplly only for customers purchased Office 365 through volume licensing OR is also for customers purchased Office 365 through online Services ???

    thanksin advance
    Mohamed Dira (licensing expert Partners presales for licensing querries.)

  • This seems like the information I've been waiting and hoping for around Education customers (primarily an issue for students who are ages K-5) and leverage shared lab computers. Are there plans to advertise this for Education customers?

  • Does the user need to log into Windows as their own unique domain account or can one shared account be logged into the shared machine for this to work?

  • This is a break through for hosters. Does this mean we can deploy Office in a shared terminal server environment for Our customers?


  • What is Office 365 ProPlus?? We have Office 365 P, M or E plans. My client wants to use Office on an RDS, but they have P plan licenses purchased through VL (using a product key). Will this work??

  • This is good news. Would you please confirm on this - (similar I think to Tormod's question) - my disti was told that shared tenancy - Azure, Amazon, SPLA - cannot do this. Clarification appreciated.

  • Hello, can you specify, what means, that license is valid for "a few days". We have some shared computers and people with different Office suite using them. It mean, that one user has only Office 365 ProPlus and other has Office 365 ProPlus with Visio and Project. So Shared Activation is ideal for us, but this computers are often in field without internet connection.

  • It’s also important to note that deploying Office 365


  • Is there a way to enable this in an app-v package? In my environment, I've deployed O365 to my users' primary workstations via app-v, but we also have field devices where shared activation would be useful. I'd like to refrain from maintaining two separate o365 packages if possible.

  • Ref: APP-V - if you go through the technet documentation on how to implement this it has a section on AppV so yes.

  • Previous communications on this stated that it is only applicable to Office 365 / ProPlus purchased through volume license, and not applicable to direct online subscriptions. Is this still the case?

  • well Just gotten this installed on our RDS ... unfortunately I was told that Office 365 Business Premium would support this feature .... So far this is NOT possible ... FYI

  • Business Premium doesn't include "Office Pro Plus", it instead includes what looks like Office Standard (ish), which is noticeable because there's no Microsoft Access included, or OneNote, and probably other things that I'm unaware of are also missing.

    You would need to have "Midsize Business", which has coincidentally just been pulled as a product offering... Midsize Business did combine the full ProPlus (which is available as an individual product from the 365 portfolio for £10.10 per month), with Exchange Online, Sharepoint etc. The limitation with Midsize was that everybody had to be on it. You couldn't mix some Midsize users & some Exchange Online users (for those who already have the application installed).

    Next cheapest option for a similar offering (sans-Sharepoint - who cares?) is to simply combine Exchange Online Plan 1, with Office Pro Plus. This is slightly cheaper than the full E3.

    The key question though, still, is whether MOSA direct purchases are valid, or if the subscription for Pro Plus has to be made through channel distribution.

    Clear as mud, thanks Microsoft.

  • Hello,
    I have question. I have Server 2008r2 with 15 users that connect to this server via Remote Desktop. One of my user needs Office 365. When I installed Office 365 in the server I recived information that I need Volume Licence Edition of Office. Well. I found: Microsoft - Software Licenses Office 365 Windows Pro Plus Open - Mfg Part# Q7Y-00003 for 123usd, and want to install it from: Install application on Remote Desktop Server. Is that will work ? Do I need something else ?
    Thank you

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