Microsoft 365 Business and Shared Computer Activation

Running Office on a shared computer or remote desktop server with Microsoft 365 Business

Microsoft have introduced the Shared Computer Activation feature to the Microsoft 365 Business plan. Note, that’s “Microsoft 365 Business” NOT “Office 365 Business”.

This is great news for many Small and Medium businesses who would previously had to opt for the more expensive Office 365 E3 plan in order to licence Office on a shared computer.

What is a Shared Computer and why does this matter?

There are quite a few scenarios where computers are shared, for example shift workers in an office where 2 or 3 people use the same PC over a 24 hour period; a PC in a warehouse or shop that several people log on to; maybe a shared PC in a meeting or conference room.

One significant example of a shared computer is a Remote Desktop Server (RDS) aka Terminal Server. Many small businesses install Office on a remote desktop server for their remote workers.

Hosted Remote Desktop Servers, often called Hosted Desktops can now also use their customer’s Microsoft 365 Business licences to take advantage of the Shared Computer Activation feature in order to activate Office on the hosted remote desktop. Please note, the hosted desktop provider needs to be certified to legally run Office under Microsoft 365 Business or Office 365 ProPlus or E3 plans.

Why use Microsoft 365 Business for Shared Computer Activation?

Microsoft 365 Business (M365B) is aimed at small and medium business and combines many of the benefits of Office 365 business with advanced security and device management features. It is slightly cheaper than Office 365 E3 (£15.10 compared with £17.60 at time of writing – Sep 2019), so if you need Shared Computer Activation then this is a good way to achieve it.

Shared Computer Activation also doesn’t count against your device limit. It’s important to note that if you have Office installed on a Shared Computer then all users of that computer will need to be licenced in order to use Office. Microsoft 365 is a “per user” licence not a “per device” licence.

Microsoft 365 needs Windows 10 Pro. It doesn’t include Windows 10 Pro, but it does include upgrade rights for customers on Windows 7, 8, 8.1 Pro.

The Shared Computer Activation feature only works with the Windows version of M365 not Macs

What’s included with Microsoft 365 Business?

Here’s a quick summary of what’s included in Microsoft 365 Business but please see the Microsoft site for more details:

• Desktop versions of Office for PC and Mac as well as Web and mobile versions
• Email
• 1TB of OneDrive storage
• Enhanced security features including Exchange Online Protection and Advanced Threat protection
• Exchange Online Archiving
• Device Management
• Upgrades rights from Windows 7, 8, 8.1 Pro
• 24/7 phone and online support

Why you would use Microsoft 365 Business on a Hosted Desktop?

Hosted desktops or other hosted solutions that include remote desktop servers often need Microsoft Office installed, either as the customer’s primary application or because their line of business application interfaces with Office. Using your Microsoft 365 Business Plan or ProPlus/E3 Office 365 plans means that you can use your licence on both the hosted desktop as well as on local PCs and mobile devices. It also means you can take advantage of the other features included with Microsoft 365 Business.

To find out more about running Office on hosted desktops please get in touch using the contact button below.

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