According to the Windows 10 (Retail) license terms:

c. Restrictions. The manufacturer or installer and Microsoft reserve all rights (such as rights under intellectual property laws) not expressly granted in this agreement. For example, this license does not give you any right to, and you may not:

... (v) use the software as server software, for commercial hosting, make the software available for simultaneous use by multiple users over a network, install the software on a server and allow users to access it remotely, or install the software on a device for use only by remote users;

* emphasis mine

I'm thinking of getting one of these and using it in a build farm. (A build farm is a group of computers whose primary purpose is to download source code and compile applications — often for different platforms.)

The device includes a licensed copy of Windows 10 Home. Would using the device for the purpose described above fall within the scope of the license? In particular, I am concerned about the first phrase ("use the software as server software"). This seems a bit vague. What type of usage would this prohibit?

  • I think this is off-topic as "requesting legal advice." If you can't ask the licensor for clarification on what they intend to enforce, the only person who can advise you on the legal application of contract terms is a licensed attorney.
    – feetwet
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:45
  • If I could afford an attorney, I would be able to afford Windows Server :D Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:46
  • That being said, if this is off-topic, I apologize. Feel free to close it. I will have to try my luck getting in touch with someone at Microsoft then. Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:58

1 Answer 1


Section 2 says that they grant you the right to install and run one instance of the software, that it can be used by one person at a time, and that grant is contingent on complying with all of the terms of the agreement. The restrictions clause says that Microsoft reserves all rights, except those expressly granted in the agreement. They do mention some specific things not allowed, but that is not a complete list. Few rights are expressly granted (for example, w.r.t. multiple versions, they state a limit on what you can do – you can't install multiple versions, which is not the express grant of any right). They do actually permit you to allow up to 20 other devices to access the software for "file services, print services, Internet information services, and Internet connection sharing and telephony services on the licensed device", and "You may allow any number of devices to access the software on the licensed device to synchronize data between devices".

Suppose that MS had reserved no rights: then you would have the right to do anything you want (in terms of the things that MS has any say over). If MS says "all rights reserved", that means that grant you no rights. What they say is that they only grant you those rights that they expressly grant you. So apparently, you cannot install and execute word processor software on the device, since those actions are not expressly permitted. Since this cannot seriously be what they mean, then you cannot rely on the terms of the license to know when they will and will not come after a person for copyright infringement.

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