Legality of operating a node on Windows 10

Just asking out of curiosity, as all my nodes are hosted on a non-consumer-targeted OS. I recently checked legality of running a web server on Windows 10, and it turns out that the retail versions of Windows 10 have the following in their Retail EULA (ignoring the fact that the webpage itself has New Page in their title…):

c. Restrictions. The device 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;

This clause seems to be widely interpreted as disallowing hosting any kind of service where many users can connect to (e.g. here). It seems that the minimal requirements are Windows Server Essentials with an External Connector license.

What’s your take on this in the context of Storj nodes?

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The restrictions are regarding windows itself.

And MS services like a web server or shared file access (via SMB).
They also mentioned

The home version is likely used not only by remote users.

Indeed, like the Windows’ networking stack that Storj nodes need to use to communicate with the customers.

It’s about windows as a whole, not about parts of it.

I’m pretty sure that the license applies even if you’re using only part of licensed software. Otherwise if you, let say, allowed everyone to RDP in and do anything except, let say, run notepad, your exception would also apply.

Never trust any big commercial software (or any other asshole design/company for that matter) akin to Windows to be made for you to have extensive use of it. It is designed only to make money and most stuff will not be supported. Expect anything that is not explicitly stated as supported to be forbidden. They reserve all rights to sue you if they will profit from it or it’s of use to them. Also they will use it to evade any responsibility for anything that one could imply, that is not stated as a feature. This is a default MO for these “well developed” companies.

Also, unrelated, did anyone ever read anything helpful on a Microsoft forum from Microsoft support?

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Oh noes, I’m not allowed to host my favorite online game and let other players from around the world join me? How can that be?

That is not allowed, even if you remove notepad as already mentioned in the restrictions

Feel free not to use Windows to host your node…

I do not see any problem with that.
It is only me use my windows resorses, and i not share any web page to someone.
node create and store files, and upload them back. For this it not use any web or RDP only simple TCP connection.

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This has nothing to do with Storj licensing: “the software” is the Windows 10 distribution.

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You’re not getting paid for hosting online games, are you?

Upgrade to Linux, and move on…

Storj is your hobby right ? you can run a node on windows 10 home edition, that’s what you would expect a home user to do, along with hosting lots of stuff for “home use” - this is the key…

If you are running something commercially, or for profit you would of course have to purchase the correct licenses for the software you were running if you wanted to enter into the sprit of the EULA in my view :slight_smile: M$ is a commercial company, and you have to pay for using their software…

But we lucky, Storj allow us to pick which OS we run on, so all is good :slight_smile:

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I wouldn’t call storj commercial hosting. The money you (anybody) earn is peanuts and nobody (Microsoft) doesn’t care about that. If you would want to use it on a large scale you would need lots of hdds and Windows 10 isn’t capable of handling too many devices. You would either go with a large device (server) where you wouldn’t run windows 10 (or even windows at all) or many small devices (raspberry pi) where you also don’t run windows (10).

Can we agree that for the scale of a general SNO there is no problem with the Windows 10 EULA?

That’s what I’m looking for. It’s just that so far I haven’t seen any convincing arguments that Storj nodes don’t break Windows 10’s EULA. As far as I understand, EULA doesn’t give any exceptions regarding scale of operation. And I hoped that someone will point out something I missed, because I would really like to see a proper solution.

I think you’d have more issues with your ISP then you would with running windows 10 for use of running nodes and making money from it.


Ah, sure, that’s certain. What I’d fear though is Microsoft going after Storj itself when Storj becomes big enough that it could threaten Azure.

Like, you know, taxi corporations went after Uber, or sth.

Your ‘widely interpreted’ license violation example is of a company using Window’s built-in file sharing services to share a Filemaker file. That’s using Windows SMB in a commercial setting - where the remote users are using the Windows-provided service directly. (Is Storj exposing RDP? SMB? DNS? IIS/web? No, it’s on it’s own port). You must see the distinction?

I agree that a Microsoft licensing expert could argue nuance all day: but to them a user sharing their face on a Zoom call or opening a P2P app should be buying a Server CAL :slight_smile:

If this is truely of concern to you, please consider running Storj on Linux.

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It’s not a big concern for me, because I’m not using Windows for my nodes. But it is still a concern for me, because whatever affects Storj network as a whole will have an impact on my operations too. And Storj has plenty of Windows nodes.

Well problem with this is theres no way for microsoft to enforce it or know how your using windows 10 though. If microsoft revokes your license what does it cost to just get a new one? Its not like windows is unuseable without a license anyways. But your ISP can see the amount of data your using. They can see all the connections being made to your home.


Question is whether they can prove that these connection are commercially right? Could be something I do for free/fun without any financial gain.