We are migrating to another accounting system, but still have a legacy system built in MS Access (97/2000/2003) with SQL Server as the backend.

The system running Access has to be in the same office as the database, because otherwise it runs entirely too slow.

The way we have worked around this so far is by running 2 RDP sessions on the server, and then buying additional Windows Pro licenses to run VMs that are in the same office as the server. The user will then attach via RDP.

We need to upgrade to a newer version of Windows Server. I am trying to understand what options exist that might be a better option.

We are a very small company, and already have licensed copies of MS Windows and Office on most users desktops. We only need the connection to work for about 4 remote users.

What options are available that might best fit our situation?

  • It seems like getting Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services set up for multiple users would be more expensive than buying a few more copies of Windows 10 Pro.
  • We are pretty open on options, but we just don't know what they are. We have even considered something like running the database across multiple locations and doing some sort of syncing, but that seems overly-complicated.
  • I found some rumors of a multi-user Windows 10 coming in late 2018, but it looks like that never materialized.
  • We don't even really need Windows server, we aren't using the domain, SQL Server runs fine on Windows Pro.

Thanks for any help with this, and please let me know if there are any issues with my question. I'm mostly a lurker on StackExchange site, and have rarely posted.

  • If you don't care about official support, give the termsrv.dll patch wrapper a try. I lets you connect unlimited users at the same time to a Windows 10 machine. – bjoster Mar 4 at 19:10

You can use terminal Sessions, Remote desktop services and it is allowed to work more than one user at the same time. But you need to have Server OS. (no idea about pricing)

otherwise You can use third party tools but it is against Terms of Service(microsoft windows)

I think below link will help you to find third party tools. rdp third party tools


First thing to note is that licensing Windows desktop editions on a multi-user server has licensing requirements beyond the VM that you are running the Pro OS on.

Specifically -- all legal caveats aside (IANAL, IANALE, IANAMSLE, etc.) -- I believe that you have to license a full Retail copy of Pro for each user that will access the VM, not just adding a single Pro license to the VM. Otherwise, you have to license Windows for VDA (virtual desktop access).

Ditto for Office, also, I expect -- there have certainly Terminal Server-specific activations for Office in the past.

I think, if Access is being used as the front-end for a SQL Server back-end database (and not using the relational database storage features of Access itself), the correct thing to do is to run Access on the end-users' desktops, and point it at the remote SQL database and, if it performs badly, so be it -- you're migrating anyway.

Anything else is an attempt to circumvent licensing requirements which big teams of Microsoft lawyers have already worked very hard to tighten up.


  • I agree that each VM will require a Windows license, as well as an Office license. In fact I'm pretty sure having a Windows 10 install (VM or otherwise) used by 2 users at different times is against the licensing requirements. We are using separate licenses per seat. – laydros Mar 4 at 19:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.