Shared Computer Support for Office365

One of the problems with using OFfice365 licenses in RDS/Citrix enviroment was that you needed a volume licenses Office to use just ot install. But now! Microsoft announced something called Shared Computer support for Office365, which allows us to install Office365 on RDS/Citrix enviroments without the need to purchase a volume licenses Office.

Quote from the official Microsoft blog –> http://blogs.technet.com/b/uspartner_ts2team/archive/2014/09/03/office-365-shared-computer-activation.aspx

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.

Now how do I setup this ?

You need to create a configuration.xml file that includes the following lines:

<Display Level=»None» AcceptEULA=»True» /> <Property Name=»SharedComputerLicensing» Value=»1″ />

The display level = none, makes it an silent install, and you also define the shared computer licensing value. Then you use the Office Deployment tool to deploy Office365 with Shared Computer support. Office deployment tool can be found here –> http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36778

So how does it work ?

When a user logs on a RDS server he/her will get a dialog box first time they log on

A screen shot of the Activate Office dialog box that tells the user to activate Office by entering the email address that’s associated with the user’s Office subscription. There’s also a Next button

Then they need to enter their associated Office365 user account, after that the application tries to verify against office online and a license token is stored in the user profile for that particular user.

You can verify that the shared computer support is activated by going into the   %localappdata%\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Licensing folder. (DO NOT ALTER THESE FILES)A screen shot that shows two text files in the user’s Licensing folder. One file name has an extension of authString, and the other file name has an extension of signingCert

There are a few gotchas here…

1: The license token expires after a couple of days, As the expiration date for the licensing token nears, Office 365 ProPlus automatically attempts to renew the licensing token when the user is logged on to the computer and using Office 365 ProPlus.If the user doesn’t log on to the shared computer for several days, the licensing token can expire. The next time that the user tries to use Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 ProPlus contacts the Office Licensing Service on the Internet to get a new licensing token.

Activation limits   Normally, users can install and activate Office 365 ProPlus only on up to five computers. Using Office 365 ProPlus with shared computer activation enabled doesn’t count against the five computer limit.

Microsoft allows a single user to activate Office 365 ProPlus on a reasonable number of shared computers in a given time period. The user gets an error message in the unlikely event the limit is exceeded.

A screen shot of an error message that tells the user that the Office 365 account has recently been used to activate too many computers and that to continue using the product, the user should try again later or sign in with a different Office 365 account

#office365, #shared-computer-support