You cannot install a standard version of Office on an RDS server. Prior to Office 365 you had to buy Enterprise licenses for each user which are quite expensive. I understand Enterprise licenses are still available and I assume they will still work but you may already have a suitable Office 365 subscription, or you can upgrade to one that will. Your Microsoft 365 license must include Office Pro Plus, a Business Standard license will not work. There is an Office Pro Plus license or an E3 or higher license includes Office Pro Plus. With Office/Microsoft 365 you can use your current licenses but have to download a special installation version and jump through a few hoops. This method is supported by Microsoft.
(Oct 2020 update: Microsoft has changed the naming of it’s Office 365 subscriptions to new Microsoft 365 names. I believe the minimum license level now is Microsoft 365 Business Premium but be sure to confirm with your vendor. The following is a Sept 2020 article referencing the install with the new licenses https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/deployoffice/deploy-microsoft-365-apps-remote-desktop-services#:~:text=If%20you%20use%20Remote%20Desktop%20Services%20%28RDS%29%20to,installation.%20The%20following%20are%20two%20common%20RDS%20scenarios%3A )
Note: when installing apps on terminal servers in the past you had to put the server in “Install mode” by running from an elevated command prompt
- Change User /Install
- and to exit Install mode run
- Change User /Execute
Though this is still recommended, I tried it without doing so and it worked, but make sure you are an administrator of the machine (local or domain) and all other users are logged out. I recommend a clean reboot before starting.
Create a shared folder such as \\RDS\O365 pointing to C:\Temp\O365
Download the Office deployment tool from the link below and extract to your shared folder \\RDS\O365
Create an .xml configuration file for the download and save to the same folder. I named DownloadConfig.xml
<Add SourcePath="\\RDS\O365" OfficeClientEdition="64">
<Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail" >
<Language ID="en-us" />
Download the custom version of Office. To do so open an elevated command prompt, change to the directory containing the .xml file C:\Temp\O365\MayBeSubfolder and run the following command.
setup.exe /download DownloadConfig.xml
This may seem like it hangs, but wait. I believe it took about 15 minutes with my connection.
Create another .xml configuration file for installation and save again to the same folder. I named InstallConfig.xml
<Language ID="en-us" />
<Display Level="None" AcceptEULA="True" />
<Property Name="SharedComputerLicensing" Value="1" />
<Logging Level="Standard" Path="C:\Temp" />
Deploy Office using: \\RDS\O365\setup.exe /configure \\RDS\O365\InstallConfig.xml
Note: you must use the full path
Again it may appear to hang, but be patient
If you ran Change User /Install before starting, run Change User /Execute
Microsoft has more detailed information and options to customize the xml files at: