Can You Spot the Error?

I recently came across a Windows Server 2019 licensing brief from Microsoft. As I was reading through it something was not adding up. Then I realized the document has an error. Below is a snippet of the error.

If you do the math for the cores required for a 3 processor server you will see it does not match the document, but they do match a 4 processor server. Not to mention, how many 3 processor servers exist in the real world.

Now let’s see how long it takes for this error to get corrected.

Please click here to download this document


Office 365 system requirements changes for Office client connectivity

Back in April of 2017, Microsoft published an article stating, “Effective October 13th, 2020, Office 365 will only allow Office client connectivity from subscription clients (Office 365 ProPlus) or Office perpetual clients within mainstream support to connect to Office 365 services.”. What this meant was no more connecting to O365 services from Office 2016 after 10/12/2020.

Please click here to read the April 2017 article

Then in September of 2018, Microsoft announced the following:

Office 2016 connectivity support for Office 365 services
In addition, we are modifying the Office 365 services system requirements related to service connectivity. In February, we announced that starting October 13, 2020, customers will need Office 365 ProPlus or Office 2019 clients in mainstream support to connect to Office 365 services. To give you more time to transition fully to the cloud, we are now modifying that policy and will continue to support Office 2016 connections with the Office 365 services through October 2023.”

Please click here to read the September 2018 article

I am pleased to see Microsoft listening to customers and accommodating them. However, just because we have more breathing room does not allow us to stop planning and moving forward.

Please make sure you are keeping up with Microsoft’s Lifecycle Policy - Click Here to View

Big Microsoft October 2018 Changes

It is official, Office 2019 and Windows Server 2019 are now included on the Microsoft October 2018 Product Terms and the 2016 versions have been removed.

Make sure to visit and pull all the latest Microsoft licensing documents.

There is one interesting change in the October Product Terms, Microsoft is retiring on January 1, 2019 the right for M365 E3 and E5 FROM SA customers to run Office Professional Plus.  Of course, for those customers who have active EAs, this will not be a factor until your next renewal.   I have to wonder if Microsoft fully understands the impact to their customers of this change and did they even get customer feedback before making it. Many customers depend on this right and they will have to make significant changes without it. In fact many customers would not have purchased the M365 E3 or E5 without the FROM SA right to run Office Professional Plus.

Maybe it’s time for more customers to take a look at LibreOffice, because at least they will not have rights rescinded in the future.

Awesome No Charge WMI Tool

If you are looking for a great no cost option to work with WMI, then you should download WMIX from Goverlan.  System Administrators in need of clientless remote administration can use WMIX to generate comprehensive reports and execute tasks on remote computers and servers without an agent.  WMIX is also a PowerShell script generator, it can create syntax-accurate PowerShell scripts based on actions configured via a user-friendly interface.  Goverlan created WMIX with the intention of giving back to the community. 

Download WMIX

Goverlan also offers its full featured Goverlan Reach, a powerful and full featured IT Remote management solution which runs securely on-premise.  Goverlan was kind enough last fall to provide me a walk-through of WMIX and Goverlan Reach. 

SoftwareAdvocates has no business relationship with Goverlan and receives no compensation.  This article is provided to share valuable information with our readers.



Windows Server CAL Waiver for Azure AD Sync a Big Win

The Microsoft January 2018 Product Terms brought a welcome surprise in the form of a Windows Server CAL waiver for customers using Windows Server solely in connection with Azure Active Directory syncs with on-premises Active Directory infrastructures.  Please see the below snippets from pages 5 and 46 of the January 2018 Product Terms.  It is important to note the words “Added a new” in the below announcement implies this right did not exist before January 1, 2018, otherwise it would have been called out as a clarification.  This was pointed out by one of my very good friends who is also a very knowledgeable Microsoft licensing expert.

This is a very big announcement that many customers may not understand or overlook.  So what exactly is this new right?  Before January 1, 2018 customers who had online only users who also had an on-premise Active Directory account required a Windows Server CAL.  Most large organizations prefer to have their users reside in their on-premise Active Directory and sync them to Azure Active Directory.

I directly reached out to Microsoft last May recommending they create this waiver, so you can only imagine how excited I was when I opened the January 2018 Product Terms.  I applaud Microsoft for making this change.

Before this announcement there was a large amount of confusion among Microsoft sales teams on this topic.  I have experienced on several occasions Microsoft telling customers they did not need Windows Server CALs for online only users who also existed in the customer’s on-premise Active Directory.  This advice put customers out of compliance without the customers knowledge they were at risk.  For those customers who have purchased Window Server CALs and no longer require them because of this new waiver, I recommend speaking with your Microsoft sale team, especially if it was a recent purchase.

Please remember this new right is very limited and users who are using any additional Windows Server services will require a Windows Server CAL.  Microsoft does not offer Windows Server CALs on Enterprise Agreements (EA) except as part of CAL Suites (CORE CAL or ECAL).  Thus, EA customers needing only a Windows Server CAL must purchase it on an MPSA or an Open license agreement.

(Source – Page 5 of the Microsoft January 2018 Product Terms)

Jan 2018 Product Terms Page 5.png

(Source – Page 46 of the Microsoft January 2018 Product Terms)

Jan 2018 Product Terms Page 46.png

Rest in Peace “Exchange Online Inactive Mailbox” (Oct 2017 to Nov 2017)

On October 1, 2017 Microsoft added the “Exchange Online Inactive Mailbox” to the Microsoft Product Terms as a new offering and on November 1, 2017 it was quietly removed from the Product Terms.  This was highly unusual to say the least.  Up until this time there was no charge for inactive O365 mailboxes, provided you followed Microsoft’s guidelines.

In all my years, I have never seen a new product be released to only be immediately pulled a month later.  What I have heard is Microsoft pre-announced the new offering at their 2017 Ignite conference and the customer feedback was less than enthusiastic.  Pulling a product back is not trivial and I am sure there was some very spirited dialogue in the Microsoft intenal meetings after the Ignite feedback.

I do not think we have seen the last of the Exchange Online Inactive Mailbox.  I am not sure when to expect it back, but I believe it will be back one day.

Click here to learn about Managing O365 inactive mailboxes


MPSA now permits Step-Ups

The August 2016 edition of the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement Licensing Manual announced Software Assurance (SA) Step-Up licenses may now be purchased on the MPSA.  This is a very welcome addition to the MPSA.

Below is an excerpt from page 6 of that document.


ECS being Replaced with Secure Productive Enterprise

July 21, 2016 - Update to the below blog.  

Microsoft has released additional information on the new Secure Productive Enterprise offering.  It will provide the following: 

  • On-premises productivity server entitlements including Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business for any user licensed with Secure Productive Enterprise.
  • One on-premises install of Office Professional Plus per user.

Click here to learn more...


Microsoft announced on July 7th the Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) is being replaced with a new offering named Secure Productive Enterprise.  I assume knowing how much Microsoft loves acronyms we should start referring to the new offering as the SPE.

Existing ECS customers who are being moved to the new SPE E3 on their next renewal should plan for an additional price increase beyond standard inflation based on the new capabilities noted in the above July 21 update to this post.

Windows 10 Enterprise is also getting renamed in this move and there will now be two editions, as shown in graphic 1 below.  The new Windows 10 Enterprise E5 will contain Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.

ECS customers need to carefully analyze this change and determine if the new offering will create duplicate software capabilities within their existing environment.

Graphic 1 (Source - Microsoft Corporation)

SMB Windows Desktop Customers Left Hanging on a Cliff

November 6, 2017 - Update to the below blog.

Microsoft is now allowing SMB customers to acquire Windows E3 or E5 per User on a Cloud Agreement and run it as a virtual desktop on Azure or with a Authorized Qualified Multitenant Hoster (QMTH) Partner.  This is an improvement, but with limitations that are highlighted in the below URL.  This is not the same type of VDA rights users have with SA, and Windows on Cloud Agreements do not have SA.  SMB customers still have no option when it comes to user based Windows SA, unless they have enough size to purchase on an MPSA.

Click here to learn how to Configure VDA for Windows 10 Subscription Activation

October 3, 2016 - Update to the below blog. 

I am very sorry to report that the new Windows 10 Enterprise E3 available via the CSP channel on a Microsoft Cloud Agreement falls way short in my opinion...  

The new USL provides for up to 5 active physical installations, but does not include Software Assurance (SA) rights.  Yes, you heard me right, no SA rights!

What this means is all of the below items are not available:

  • Long Term Service Branch
  • MDOP
  • VDA
  • Virtual OS Support
  • WTG

And if that is not enough there are also no downgrade rights.  

August 3, 2016 - Update to the below blog.  

On July 12th at the Microsoft Worldwide Partners Conference (WPC), the below announcement was made.  It appears Microsoft has revealed how they plan to address the concerns raised in this blog post.  It is unclear if the new offering will also be available direct from Microsoft.

"Today, we are announcing Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in CSP. Starting this fall, businesses can get enterprise-grade security and management capabilities at just $7 a seat per month for the first time through the Cloud Solution Provider channel."

Click here to lean more...


In February 2016 Microsoft removed Roaming Use Rights, a key Software Assurance (SA) benefit, from the Windows Desktop Operating System and Windows VDA.  This was a critical change that went unnoticed by most Microsoft customers.  The critical date for this change is January 31, 2017 or the end of a customer’s existing enrollment or agreement term, whichever is later.  The reference material section below contains the actual Microsoft verbiage.

So why is this such an important matter?  In order to answer this question we have to understand how business user computing has changed in the past 10 years.  If we go back a decade most users had a dedicated company issued PC and email on mobile phones was just starting to appear.  Fast forward five years and the average knowledge worker had multiple compute devices, which most likely included a company issued laptop, a smart phone, and a personal tablet.  As personal tablets became mainstream, employees pushed for access to their work environment while away from the office via these devices.  As technology evolved the introduction of the Windows virtual desktop arrived, which is also known as VDI.

VDI allows customers to install the Windows Desktop Operating System on a central server in the datacenter and then customers connect from both company owned devices, personal devices, and third party kiosks.  This new compute model was a licensing nightmare for Microsoft customers because Microsoft’s licensing models did not accommodate these scenarios.  Microsoft customers that accessed Windows VDI required each accessing device to be licensed.  This meant that every employee owned iPad or hotel kiosk where a VDI session was accessed required the Windows Desktop, Office, Project, and Visio be properly licensed.  As you can imagine licensing all third party devices an employee may access Windows VDI from was not practical nor cost effective. 

So in July 2010 Microsoft introduced a new Software Assurance benefit, Roaming Use Rights, to both the Windows Desktop, Windows VDA, and the Microsoft desktop applications (Office, Project, and Visio).   This new benefit allowed the primary user of a licensed device to access VDI from a qualified third party device while away from their office.  All third party devices used at the workplace still required the proper licenses.  The reference material section below contains the actual Microsoft verbiage for Roaming Use Rights.

In December of 2014 Microsoft introduced a user based licensing model for Windows Desktop and Windows VDA which was long overdue.  Unfortunately, Microsoft failed to provide SMB customers a path to acquire this desirable new subscription license.  The offering is only available on EA/EAS and MPSA, thus only customers with 250 or more employees can benefit from this new offering. The reference material section below contains the matrix from Microsoft showing how user based Windows and Windows VDA can be purchased as of June 2016.  As you can see Open Value and Open Value Subscription are not an option, and these are the licensing vehicles an SMB would purchase on.  It is very confusing why Microsoft made this decision, since they allow SMB customers to purchase single Office 365 enterprise subscription licenses. 

That takes us back to February of 2016 where Microsoft is now sending SMB customers back to the Windows Desktop licensing model that existed before July of 2010.  I am still dumb founded why Microsoft would do this without at least letting these customers know a new offering is coming that will provide like rights before they are slammed back in an archaic licensing model.  Please note that Roaming Use Rights for Office, Project, and Visio are all still in place as of June 2016, but who knows for how long.

I would like to point out this article also applies to customers who utilize Roaming Use Rights to run Windows To Go (WTG) on qualified third party devices.

So here we sit with all SMB customers who depend on Roaming Use Rights for Windows Desktop and Windows VDA hanging on a cliff heading for the January 31, 2017 deadline.  I reached out to the Microsoft licensing desk on April 27, 2016, they promised to escalate the issue and respond back to me in less than a week, I am still waiting for them to respond to me.

Reference Material Section:

Source Microsoft February 2016 Product Terms - Page 5

Windows Desktop Operating System: Roaming Rights for Windows Enterprise and Windows VDA is being discontinued as of either January 31, 2017 of the end of a Customer’s existing Enrollment or Agreement term, whichever is later.


Source Microsoft July 2010 Product Use Rights (PUR) – Page 5

Roaming Use Rights

As of July 1, 2010, we are expanding the product use rights for Windows Software Assurance, Windows Virtual Desktop Access (formerly known as VECD), Virtual Desktop Infrastructure CAL Suites, MDOP for Software Assurance, and Software Assurance for all editions of Office, Project and Visio to include Roaming Use Rights.  These new Roaming Use Rights will help to facilitate your users’ use of your virtual desktop infrastructure while they are away from the office.  The Roaming Use Rights permit the primary user of a licensed device to remotely access licensed software running in your datacenter from qualified third party devices.  In the case of Windows, Office, Project and Visio, these rights also permit the primary user’s use of the licensed software in a virtual machine on a qualified third party device.  See the Appendix 1 -- Software Assurance Benefits of this document for details.  All customers with active Software Assurance coverage or active subscription licenses for these products are eligible to use the software under these new rights.


Source Microsoft June 2016 Product Terms - Page 37

Red dot denotes not available on Open Value (OV) or Open Value Subscription (OVS)

Red dot denotes not available on Open Value (OV) or Open Value Subscription (OVS)