This might be a really basic question, but I couldn't find an answer here or on Google. The situation

  • Windows Server installed in the cloud (we can choose 12,16,19)
  • Remote Desktop installed (authenticating with AD)
  • Remote Users connecting to the server over RDC

The question: Can users who connect via RDC install applications that only work in Win10? That is, does Window Server present itself as Win10 to RDC clients or does it present itself as Windows Server? We believe there may be some desktop apps that will work (and are licensed) for Win10 but are not allowed on Windows Server.

We aren't going to install apps on Windows Server for all these users, but if a user wants to install an app on their local desktop on this RDC instance, will the application think it's installing onto Win10 or to Windows Server?

If there is a better approach to this problem, acceptable answers could include better approaches.


Windows allows developpers to check whether it's a Server Edition, or a Client Edition.

The OS Version and the fact that it's a Server or Client release are two different things:

  1. Windows provides a way to check whether you are running (for example) Windows 10 or higher:


The version helper functions do not differentiate between client and server releases[...]

  1. The developper can check if it's a Server release with IsWindowsServer

Indicates if the current OS is a Windows Server release. Applications that need to distinguish between server and client versions of Windows should call this function.

So, it depends on the application and license agreement (don't forget that because the application can start doesn't mean that you are allowed to use it on a Server OS if the license agreement says the opposite)

You can try using App-V. Sometimes, applications that are incompatible with multi-user or server environments end up working.

  • 1
    Just to expand on that, IsWindows10OrGreater will be true for Server 2016 and Server 2019, but not for Server 2012 or 2012 R2 (which are equivalent to Windows 8 and 8.1 respectively). – Harry Johnston Sep 5 '19 at 0:12

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