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Installing Office 365 for Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (RDS)

You need to use Office 2013 Pro Plus on a server running Remote Desktop Services; you already have license for Office 2013 Pro Plus through your Office 365 account. (Usually E3.)


Unfortunately, you can’t just install Office normally:

  1. Create a folder C:ODT
  2. Download the Office Deployment Tool to your RDS server , run the downloaded file, and save the extraced contents to C:ODT;
  3. You’ll need to create an XML file that defines the products and licensing the ODT should use; there’s a default one included but you’ll need to edit it (or create a new one) to look like this:
         <Add SourcePath="C:odt" OfficeClientEdition="32" >
              <Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail">
                   <Language ID="en-us" />
         <Updates Enabled="TRUE" />
         <Display Level="Full" AcceptEULA="TRUE" />
         <Logging Path="%temp%" />
         <Property Name="SharedComputerLicensing" Value="1" />

    The really important property is the “SharedComputerLicensing”; that’s what specifies that office is intended for terminal services.

  4. Open a command prompt (or Powershell), change directory to c:ODT and run the “setup.exe” extracted above with the /download switch
    .setup.exe /download .configuration.xmlAfter that completes, you should see a new folder “c:ODTOffice”.
  5. Install Office Pro Plus by running setup.exe with the /configure switch
    .setup.exe /configure .configuration.xmlThe Office 2013 install will begin; unlike previous versions, the progress monitor is just a small window with the percent complete.
  6. After the install completes, you should be able to run an office product. On startup, it will ask you to sign-in with your Office 365 account to activate the license. Remember that not all Office 365 licenses include Office Pro Plus; if your O365 account does not include office, the software will not license and the application will close.

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