How can I install MS Office on Windows Server 2008? The purpose would be to enable Quickbooks to be able to export to Excel.

Quickbooks is set up to run as a RemoteApp in a Terminal Server environment. The Quickbooks applicaiton senses whether or not Excel is installed and will not allow the user to create an Excel report unless Excel is actually installed on the client running Quickbooks.

Since the client and the server are the same machine in a Terminal Server environment, Excel must be installed on Windows Server for the Quickbooks Excel exporting feature to work in this setup.

There is no need to actually use Excel in a Terminal Services environment. We only need to generate the Excel files using the server, then we can use an installed version Excel on a regular Windows 7 machine to work with the Excel file.

MS Office does not normally install on Windows Server. Is there any way to buy a special license? Could we somehow fool Quickbooks into thinking Excel is installed, if that would work?

  • Office installs on Windows Server just fine and pretty much always has since Microsoft added Terminal server/Remote Desktop support. Older versions of office (2000,XP,2003) did need a special transform to be passed to the MSI though. Office 2007,2010 work out of the box. – Zoredache Oct 19 '12 at 22:37

Excel will install just fine, but you need to be aware of the licensing requirements. The upshot is that you need

  1. a non-retail, non-OEM license of office for every computer that will be connecting to your terminal server and using the excel function.
  2. A remote desktop CAL for every device (or every user) that will connect remotely

Please see the following for more info on the thrice-benighted world of MS RDS Licensing: http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/briefs/remote-desktop-services.aspx

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  • We have the CAL licenses for all of the users who currently use Quickbooks in the TS environment. So we just need to obtain the non-retail, non-OEM copy of MS Office. If 10 users already have an MS Office license on the desktop, do they each need a second license for the server? – steampowered Oct 19 '12 at 22:08
  • It depends on the type of office license that they have on the desktop. The retail and OEM licenses specifically prohibit network use, so if the office on their computers came from Best Buy or came pre-installed, you will need to buy additional licenses under an Open or select license scheme. If you already bought the licenses under an open license, you should be all set. – smithian Oct 20 '12 at 12:51
  • Just to clarify: The site license worked, and the site license allowed office to install and run on Windows Server. However, Windows Server disables the retail and OEM versions of MS Office after installation on the server. This is how Microsoft forces you to purchase the site license for MS OFfice on Windows Server. – steampowered Oct 25 '12 at 14:57

Excel definitely installs on Server OSes, including 2008. No fooling the OS, or special licenses required.

The rub is you're doing this on a Terminal Services environment, which does require a key that forgoes the product activation. If you have a volume license agreement, the good news is that it should work. (Does for us.) Just make sure you're actually licensed for the number of users and TS/RD sessions that will using it, or you could end up in violation of your licensing agreement.

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  • None of the users will actually be using Excel on the server, but the Quickbooks client may use some of the libraries to create the export file. We don't have a volume license for MS Office, we just buy retail copies on Amazon. – steampowered Oct 19 '12 at 22:00
  • @steampowered It doesn't matter if the users actually use it, if it is used in their TS session, then a license (or CAL) is typically required. – HopelessN00b Oct 19 '12 at 22:38

To the best of my knowledge MS Office does indeed install on Server 2008 instances, I've got [redacted] such installs right now. We didn't have any problems getting it on there, at least with Office 2010. Such installs are common in TS environments, so it is quite possible.

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  • I think there may be some special licensing requirements, mentioned here . I am not too familiar with the world of MS licensing. I'm looking for any info to get pointed in the right direction for a small business to solve this Quickbooks problem. – steampowered Oct 19 '12 at 20:36

Office 2010, 2013, and 2016 does NOT install on Server 2008 STANDARD, but it does just fine on R2. I am trying to find a workaround or some way I can make that happen after I mistakenly took Office 2007 off a barely-used 2008 Std RDP server (oops) only to realize that nothing newer will install on it, but it seems an in place upgrade to 2008 R2 might be my only option, provided I actually have a license key for it.

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