Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server



  • I've seen it mentioned here that a Windows Desktop OS is not licensed to act as a server. I know this is pretty common for small businesses to do, and I was wondering where I could find the information on this, and what kind roles this is refers to.

    As far as I was aware, as long as you stay under the 20 concurrent connection limit, and the one user desktop login in limit, you would be fine to utilise the capabilities of the OS to serve other clients. Isn't this kind of what a windows workgroup is about? A Windows Desktop OS has the ability to act as a sort of file server, and Microsoft tries to make it easier to do so. (which doesn't necessarily mean it is compliant with their licencing)

    We have a lot of clients running SQL on a Windows Desktop OS, is that against the licencing? Where can I read about this?



  • Info is in the EULA. But the simple overview is.... if it acts like a server you can’t do it with a desktop.



  • The 20 concurrent is a networking limit and unrelated to the license issues. It is not a factor.



  • SQL Server can never be used on a desktop unless it is for use exclusively by that desktop. The moment you connect to SQL Server or any application using sWL Server from another desktop, you’ve violated the EULA.

    Use duck logic. Walks like a server, talks like a server, it’s a server.

    You need a Server OS and CALs



  • Workgroups are a security mechanism and not for what you are thinking. Servers do workgroups too. Workgroups are for when you don’t have AD, not necessarily for not having servers.



  • Peer to peer file sharing is a specific exception in the Windows 10 EULA. You can do a limited amount of this, and Internet sharing (routing) with a Windows desktop. But nothing else.



  • Examples of other common violations:

    • Spiceworks or any web application cannot be used from a desktop
    • QuickBooks cannot be served from a desktop
    • Web pages

    More or less anything that you’d want to do. It all requires a server. That’s the entire point of the cheap workstation licenses - you get them dirt cheap compared to a server license but can’t do anything you’d want a server for.

    All of the things above are fine as long as you don’t access them from another machine. Which is why they are allowed to be installed.



  • I guess it was easy enough to find in the EULA

    For Windows 10

    Multi use scenarios.
    ...
    (iii) Device connections. You may allow up to 20 other devices to access the software installed on the licensed device for the purpose of using the following software features: file services, print services, Internet information services, and Internet connection sharing and telephony services on the licensed device. You may allow any number of devices to access the software on the licensed device to synchronize data between devices. This section does not mean, however, that you have the right to install the software, or use the primary function of the software (other than the features listed in this section), on any of these other devices.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    The 20 concurrent is a networking limit and unrelated to the license issues. It is not a factor.

    It does mention 20 devices in the EULA, but I agree that built-in software limitations != licence restrictions



  • @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    Examples of other common violations:

    • Spiceworks or any web application cannot be used from a desktop
    • QuickBooks cannot be served from a desktop
    • Web pages

    More or less anything that you’d want to do. It all requires a server. That’s the entire point of the cheap workstation licenses - you get them dirt cheap compared to a server license but can’t do anything you’d want a server for.

    All of the things above are fine as long as you don’t access them from another machine. Which is why they are allowed to be installed.

    The EULA does give an exception for Internet information services. Since it's not specifically saying IIS, and any other definition for Internet information services is google-washed, do I assume the definition is the same as the services that IIS is capable of?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    SQL Server can never be used on a desktop unless it is for use exclusively by that desktop. The moment you connect to SQL Server or any application using sWL Server from another desktop, you’ve violated the EULA.

    Use duck logic. Walks like a server, talks like a server, it’s a server.

    You need a Server OS and CALs

    Luckily we don't actually take responsibility for our client's SQL server. (software company) But we need to make sure our minimum requirements don't violate any licencing.

    Might need to push QA to do their testing with MS SQL for Linux too



  • @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    Workgroups are a security mechanism and not for what you are thinking. Servers do workgroups too. Workgroups are for when you don’t have AD, not necessarily for not having servers.

    Right, I forgot about the use case for workgroups when having servers but no domain.



  • @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    SQL Server can never be used on a desktop unless it is for use exclusively by that desktop. The moment you connect to SQL Server or any application using sWL Server from another desktop, you’ve violated the EULA.

    Use duck logic. Walks like a server, talks like a server, it’s a server.

    You need a Server OS and CALs

    Luckily we don't actually take responsibility for our client's SQL server. (software company) But we need to make sure our minimum requirements don't violate any licencing.

    Might need to push QA to do their testing with MS SQL for Linux too

    That’s a major fix these days. With SQL Server available on Linux, there’s no budgetary excuse for cutting corners and running on a desktop OS.



  • @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    The 20 concurrent is a networking limit and unrelated to the license issues. It is not a factor.

    It does mention 20 devices in the EULA, but I agree that built-in software limitations != licence restrictions

    Yes mentions. But as a limit.



  • @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    Examples of other common violations:

    • Spiceworks or any web application cannot be used from a desktop
    • QuickBooks cannot be served from a desktop
    • Web pages

    More or less anything that you’d want to do. It all requires a server. That’s the entire point of the cheap workstation licenses - you get them dirt cheap compared to a server license but can’t do anything you’d want a server for.

    All of the things above are fine as long as you don’t access them from another machine. Which is why they are allowed to be installed.

    The EULA does give an exception for Internet information services. Since it's not specifically saying IIS, and any other definition for Internet information services is google-washed, do I assume the definition is the same as the services that IIS is capable of?

    Not IIS. It’s for sharing Internet information services which is very specific and totally useless. The only use case for that is as an Internet proxy when using your desktop as a router. Using IIS is not covered by that - that’s a product called IIS but running it on your desktop would not be an Internet service.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    Examples of other common violations:

    • Spiceworks or any web application cannot be used from a desktop
    • QuickBooks cannot be served from a desktop
    • Web pages

    More or less anything that you’d want to do. It all requires a server. That’s the entire point of the cheap workstation licenses - you get them dirt cheap compared to a server license but can’t do anything you’d want a server for.

    All of the things above are fine as long as you don’t access them from another machine. Which is why they are allowed to be installed.

    The EULA does give an exception for Internet information services. Since it's not specifically saying IIS, and any other definition for Internet information services is google-washed, do I assume the definition is the same as the services that IIS is capable of?

    Not IIS. It’s for sharing Internet information services which is very specific and totally useless. The only use case for that is as an Internet proxy when using your desktop as a router. Using IIS is not covered by that - that’s a product called IIS but running it on your desktop would not be an Internet service.

    The only non-IIS specific references to Internet information services that I can find all relate to web servers. Where are you getting the definition of a proxy service from?



  • @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    Examples of other common violations:

    • Spiceworks or any web application cannot be used from a desktop
    • QuickBooks cannot be served from a desktop
    • Web pages

    More or less anything that you’d want to do. It all requires a server. That’s the entire point of the cheap workstation licenses - you get them dirt cheap compared to a server license but can’t do anything you’d want a server for.

    All of the things above are fine as long as you don’t access them from another machine. Which is why they are allowed to be installed.

    The EULA does give an exception for Internet information services. Since it's not specifically saying IIS, and any other definition for Internet information services is google-washed, do I assume the definition is the same as the services that IIS is capable of?

    Not IIS. It’s for sharing Internet information services which is very specific and totally useless. The only use case for that is as an Internet proxy when using your desktop as a router. Using IIS is not covered by that - that’s a product called IIS but running it on your desktop would not be an Internet service.

    The only non-IIS specific references to Internet information services that I can find all relate to web servers. Where are you getting the definition of a proxy service from?

    It’s not something that requires a reference. It’s just regular English. Web servers are not Internet services. An Internet service is a service acquired over the Internet.

    A proxy is the only means known to accomplish what this English phrase means in this case - sharing a service acquired over the Internet to other machines on the network.

    That phrase exists so that you can do later 7 application filtering, not only layer 3 routing, when using the desktop as a router.



  • Reading the EULA more closing, it never refers to sharing. So this implies that you can use a desktop to serve up to 20 users over the Internet, but not internally.



  • It’s not capitalized, so no connection to the IIS software.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    Reading the EULA more closing, it never refers to sharing. So this implies that you can use a desktop to serve up to 20 users over the Internet, but not internally.

    Ok, so that's the interesting part. I believe is it using it as an term to refer to protocols that at one time would only have been used over the internet and not over the LAN. Which seems to be how IIS uses the term, since it's not like they're trying to tell people not to use IIS over the LAN.

    But if we take it literally today, we can now use these protocols over the Internet, but not over the LAN.



  • @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    Reading the EULA more closing, it never refers to sharing. So this implies that you can use a desktop to serve up to 20 users over the Internet, but not internally.

    Ok, so that's the interesting part. I believe is it using it as an term to refer to protocols that at one time would only have been used over the internet and not over the LAN. Which seems to be how IIS uses the term, since it's not like they're trying to tell people not to use IIS over the LAN.

    But if we take it literally today, we can now use these protocols over the Internet, but not over the LAN.

    It’s a legal doxument. It’s always literal.

    Actually not using over a LAN isn’t that weird. That would mimic the server licensing model. What’s used on a LAN and what is used over the Internet are treated differently.



  • It would mean that we could use any protocol over the Internet. There is no such thing as an Internet protocol. Things like HTTP and FTP were local LAN protocols first. The Internet made them popular and useful, of course.

    The web refers to specific protocols at layer 7. But Internet refers only to the layer 3 + connected to the specific public network called the Internet.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    It would mean that we could use any protocol over the Internet. There is no such thing as an Internet protocol. Things like HTTP and FTP were local LAN protocols first. The Internet made them popular and useful, of course.

    The web refers to specific protocols at layer 7. But Internet refers only to the layer 3 + connected to the specific public network called the Internet.

    Unless Microsoft tells us they're defining it differently, ^^^ this must be it



  • @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    It would mean that we could use any protocol over the Internet. There is no such thing as an Internet protocol. Things like HTTP and FTP were local LAN protocols first. The Internet made them popular and useful, of course.

    The web refers to specific protocols at layer 7. But Internet refers only to the layer 3 + connected to the specific public network called the Internet.

    Unless Microsoft tells us they're defining it differently, ^^^ this must be it

    I think so. Feels nutty BUT I bet they could explain some logic.... like this is just enough for some development thing or to cover some specific use case but so generally useless that they lose no money.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    It would mean that we could use any protocol over the Internet. There is no such thing as an Internet protocol. Things like HTTP and FTP were local LAN protocols first. The Internet made them popular and useful, of course.

    The web refers to specific protocols at layer 7. But Internet refers only to the layer 3 + connected to the specific public network called the Internet.

    Unless Microsoft tells us they're defining it differently, ^^^ this must be it

    I think so. Feels nutty BUT I bet they could explain some logic.... like this is just enough for some development thing or to cover some specific use case but so generally useless that they lose no money.

    So you would have to expose to the internet but filter to your public IP in order to be compliant and use it as something functional.



  • @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    It would mean that we could use any protocol over the Internet. There is no such thing as an Internet protocol. Things like HTTP and FTP were local LAN protocols first. The Internet made them popular and useful, of course.

    The web refers to specific protocols at layer 7. But Internet refers only to the layer 3 + connected to the specific public network called the Internet.

    Unless Microsoft tells us they're defining it differently, ^^^ this must be it

    I think so. Feels nutty BUT I bet they could explain some logic.... like this is just enough for some development thing or to cover some specific use case but so generally useless that they lose no money.

    So you would have to expose to the internet but filter to your public IP in order to be compliant and use it as something functional.

    Right. Or just know that there were no internal users. The licensing doesn’t require a strict enforcement system.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    It would mean that we could use any protocol over the Internet. There is no such thing as an Internet protocol. Things like HTTP and FTP were local LAN protocols first. The Internet made them popular and useful, of course.

    The web refers to specific protocols at layer 7. But Internet refers only to the layer 3 + connected to the specific public network called the Internet.

    Unless Microsoft tells us they're defining it differently, ^^^ this must be it

    I think so. Feels nutty BUT I bet they could explain some logic.... like this is just enough for some development thing or to cover some specific use case but so generally useless that they lose no money.

    So you would have to expose to the internet but filter to your public IP in order to be compliant and use it as something functional.

    Right. Or just know that there were no internal users. The licensing doesn’t require a strict enforcement system.

    Oh, I meant because it's probably pretty much useless to have something public facing with only 20 connections available



  • @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @flaxking said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    @scottalanmiller said in Windows Desktop Licensing: Cannot be used as a server:

    It would mean that we could use any protocol over the Internet. There is no such thing as an Internet protocol. Things like HTTP and FTP were local LAN protocols first. The Internet made them popular and useful, of course.

    The web refers to specific protocols at layer 7. But Internet refers only to the layer 3 + connected to the specific public network called the Internet.

    Unless Microsoft tells us they're defining it differently, ^^^ this must be it

    I think so. Feels nutty BUT I bet they could explain some logic.... like this is just enough for some development thing or to cover some specific use case but so generally useless that they lose no money.

    So you would have to expose to the internet but filter to your public IP in order to be compliant and use it as something functional.

    Right. Or just know that there were no internal users. The licensing doesn’t require a strict enforcement system.

    Oh, I meant because it's probably pretty much useless to have something public facing with only 20 connections available

    That’s what I meant to. It’s enough for like basic testing or a five person company to do something weird. But not enough for anything real.


Log in to reply