Legality of running a Minecraft server on Windows 10?

DISCLAIMER: Unless otherwise specified, nothing in this thread is intended to be official legal advice.

Currently, I have a private Minecraft server running on a Windows 8.1 computer. As far as I can tell, this is perfectly fine. I’m thinking about upgrading that computer to Windows 10, but one thing in the Windows 10 EULA, which isn’t in the Windows 8.1 EULA, is causing some questions:

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;

Does this mean I’m not allowed to run the server on Windows 10?

Technically yes.

Actually no.

In practicality no one cares.


That’s for Windows Home editions, the Pro and Server versions are fine. (From what I remember)

I would expect that the Server versions are fine, but where does it say that Pro is allowed to?

My interpretation - coming from a long history working in IT - is that the phrase “the software” in the clause usually means the product to which the licence applies, in this case Windows itself. Essentially you can’t use that edition of windows for - for example - acting as a terminal server, or use any built-in services such as IIS for hosting websites. You can also not use it for commercial hosting purposes, which could potentially extend to third party services provisioned atop it.

However I struggle to see how running a non-commerical, third-party piece of software on the OS would put you in breach of that clause, since it’s hard to draw the line between generally network-enabled services and “server” services in any meaningful sense. For example, if I have a game which supports co-operative play and uses STUN to punch a hole in my firewall so that another friend can connect, is that software a “server” at that point?

My general advice would be, if you don’t have any compelling reason to update (there is literally nothing that great in windows 10) then why bother with the brainache, and if you do have a compelling reason to update, I wouldn’t worry about it.


Not a lawyer, etc. etc. Also, @mumfrey managed to get there before me, but I’ll add my tuppence anyway.

Note that this is for the client version of Windows 10. I think what they are trying to do here is stop people from installing a client OS on a server and run it headless, or as a cheaper server. When they say access “the software”, they refer to the functions of the Windows system, that is, inbuilt Windows functions. What you’re doing here is making the Minecraft software available on the Windows machine, you’re not making functions of Windows itself available, you’re not allowing users to acess the Windows system remotely.

So, I think you’re OK to install and run a private server.

1 Like

If all else fails, use a virtual linux machine inside your computer to host servers.

It ain’t that hard.

That suggestion makes absolutely zero sense given the context. If the grey area is whether running non-licence-impinging software on a platform whose licence tacitly implies that it’s not allowed, exactly the same scenario applies to running a virtualised OS within a hypervisor on that machine. So all you achieve is adding the overhead of another entire OS plus the hypervisor into the scenario, and don’t change the licencing implications one bit…

I would have let you get away with the comment if it weren’t for this condescending sneer you saw fit to add to the end of your message. @JBYoshi is just being cautious, and talking down to someone seeking advice is not appropriate.


So in “use the software as server software”, “software” only includes Windows itself and the built-in programs, not third-party programs?

Even before Windows 10 came out, I had already decided that if I ever make the server public, I would host it on Linux, but as a standalone operating system.

Yes, that is my understanding.

Like @mumfrey said, pretty sure this refers to Microsoft licensed software such as Active Directory, Exchange or Lync…etc. I wouldn’t worry about it

I feel hurt D:

I didn’t mean it that way at all…

I’m going to shut up and go curl up in a corner.

Why would you even want to run any server on windows? -.-

1 Like

Because windows is an excellent platform and that’s not really the issue here anyway.