Windows 11 licensing for Virtual Desktops


Windows 11 can be used to deploy secure and centrally managed virtual desktops to workers at scale. Customers looking to virtualize Windows 11 have a variety of ways to deploy and license their virtual machines (VMs). This brief describes how to license Windows 11 running on VMs.

  • This brief addresses Windows 11 licensing for Microsoft Commercial Licensing customers only. For the purposes of this brief, Commercial Licensing programs include all Volume License programs, CSP, and the Microsoft Customer Agreement. Windows 11 licensed solely through your OEM device generally does not include virtualization entitlements, with some exceptions. Please see your OEM license agreement for more details.
  • This brief addresses Windows 11 remote virtualization (i.e., on local servers, Azure and outsourcers’ servers).
  • This guidance also applies to subscription licenses and licenses with Software Assurance for Windows 10.

Generally, and with limitations found below, you must have one of the following licenses to deploy and remotely access a virtual machine running Windows 11:

  • Windows 10/11 Enterprise E3/E5
  • Windows 10/11 Education A3/A5
  • Windows 10/11 Education Student Use Benefit
  • Windows 10/11 Enterprise per device with Software Assurance
  • Windows VDA E3/E5
  • Windows VDA per device
  • Microsoft 365 F3/E3/E5
  • Microsoft 365 A3/A5
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium

User licenses allow licensed users to access Windows 11 VMs from any device. Device licenses allow any user of the device to access Windows 11 VMs from the licensed device.


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