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Professor Windows - June 2001

Terminal Services Licensing refers to a service that runs on Windows 2000 servers. This service is responsible for managing Terminal Services Client Access Licenses (CALs) that are issued to devices connecting to Windows 2000 servers running Terminal Services (Windows 2000 Terminal Servers). This article will focus on licensing issues related to Windows 2000 Terminal Servers only. As far as this column is concerned, the discussion of licensing requirements for third party software, client access licenses for the operating system, or licenses for other Microsoft products is considered out of scope.

Terminal Server Licensing can manage the following types of licenses:

  1. Built-in Licenses

    Windows 2000 clients are automatically issued these built-in licenses.

  2. Temporary licenses

    When a Terminal Server requests a license for a client but the License server does not have any licenses to issue, it issues a temporary license and keeps track of the expiration date.

  3. Terminal Services CALs

    These licenses are purchased for non-Windows 2000 clients that connect to the Terminal Server and are issued and assigned per-device.

  4. Terminal Services Internet Connector licenses

    These licenses are used to allow non-employees to connect to the Terminal Server from the Internet. There is a hard coded limit of up to 200 concurrent anonymous connections.

Windows 2000 offers two modes to run Terminal Services. Before we delve into the details of licensing issues, it is useful to understand the differences between these two modes: Remote Administration mode and Application Server mode.

Remote Administration mode

This mode is meant for members of Administrators group so they can administer servers remotely using Terminal Services. Users that are not Administrators can also be assigned the rights to access the server in Remote Administration mode. However, only two simultaneous users are allowed to connect to the Terminal Server at any given time. This mode does not require any Terminal Services licensing.

Application Server mode

This mode is used by end-users to connect to the Terminal Server and run applications that are installed on the Terminal Server. There are no connection limitations but you must purchase licenses, install Terminal Services Licensing service, and activate the server.

Types of License Servers

Microsoft recommends that you enable Terminal Services on a member server or a stand-alone server and that you install license server on a separate computer when you have more than one Terminal Server. There are two types of license servers: Domain License Server and Enterprise License Server.

Domain License Server: This is the default server type. Configure this when you want to maintain a separate license server for each domain. If you are using Windows NT domains or you are in a workgroup environment, then this is the only choice you have. The Terminal Server looks for a domain license server every 15 minutes. Once a server is located, it checks for it every two hours. If it can't find a domain license server, it goes back to checking every 15 minutes again.

In Windows 2000 domains, you must install a domain license server on a domain controller. In Windows NT domains or workgroup environments, you may install it on any server.

Enterprise License Server: This type of license server can serve any Windows 2000 domain within a site. In multiple domain scenarios in a single site, this will be an appropriate choice. The Terminal Server polls Active Directory every 60 minutes looking for an enterprise license server. Even after an enterprise license server is located, it keeps checking for it every 60 minutes.

Deploying Terminal Services License Server

After deploying Terminal Services in Application Server mode there are three steps that you need to complete.

  • Step 1 - Install Terminal Services Licensing service
  • Step 2 - Activate Terminal Services license server
  • Step 3 - Install Terminal Server CALs on the License server

Step 1 - Install Terminal Services License Server

After you install Terminal Server in Application Server mode you have 90 days to enable (activate) the License server. During this 90-day period, Terminal Server will accept connections from unlicensed clients. After this period is over, your Terminal Server will not accept connections from any unlicensed clients, including Windows 2000 clients (unless you install and activate a License server).

You install the License server from the Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, Add/Remove Windows Components.

Step 2 - Activate Terminal Services License Server

Once the License server is installed, you can use one of the four methods below to activate the License server. The licensing wizard guides you through the steps and provides all the pertinent information.

1. Internet

If the computer running the Terminal Services Licensing admin tool is directly connected to the Internet, this is the quickest method. Microsoft will provide you with a digital certificate that validates your server ownership and identity. Note that the license server itself does not need to be connected to the Internet - only the computer running the Terminal Services Licensing admin tool needs Internet connectivity.

2. World Wide Web

If you are connected to the Internet on a different computer and want to activate your license server, you can use this Web-based method.

3. Fax

Use this method to fax the information to Microsoft. Microsoft will fax your confirmed request back to you.

4. Telephone

This method requires you to call Microsoft Clearinghouse using a telephone number specific to your region, as shown in Screen 1 (see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q291795 to locate the telephone number in your region). A customer service representative will walk you through each step and you will be up and running in minutes.


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Screen 1 Selecting a Connection Method and Region

Step 3 - Install Terminal Server CALs on the License Server

After the Terminal Server has been activated, you need to install the licenses. You will use Terminal Services Licensing MMC to install, manage, and configure the license server, as shown in Screen 2. A Licensing Wizard will walk you through the installation process. To start the Licensing Wizard, right-click on the Server name in the Terminal Services Licensing console and select Install Licenses.


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Screen 2 Terminal Services Licensing Management Console

The Licensing Program tab, as shown in Screen 3, gives you the options to select your licensing program. If you are part of Microsoft Select or Microsoft Enterprise Agreement program, you need to provide your Enrollment Agreement number in order to activate your licenses. If you purchase Microsoft products through Microsoft Open License Program, you would need to provide your Authorization number and your License Number to obtain Terminal Services CALs (TS CALs). You will use the "Other" option if you purchased packaged TS CALs through another channel and have received a Microsoft LicensePak. When you use the "Other" option, the Licensing Wizard will prompt you for a 25-character License Code that is included in the Microsoft LicensePak packages.


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Screen 3 Licensing Program options

Non-Windows 2000 Clients

You need to ensure that licenses are installed on your Terminal Server before non-Windows 2000 clients can access the Terminal Server when you use Terminal Server in Application Server mode.

Windows 2000 Clients

Windows 2000 computers are automatically licensed to use Terminal Services. You do not need to purchase any additional TS CALs for these clients. They are licensed using the Built-in CALs.

Optional Terminal Server Licenses

There are two additional licenses that are worth mentioning:

  • Windows 2000 Terminal Sever Internet Connector License
  • Work at Home Windows 2000 Terminal Services CAL

The Internet Connector license allows a maximum of 200 concurrent users to anonymously connect to the Terminal Server over the Internet. This license is not included with Windows 2000 and needs to be purchased separately as an add-on to Windows 2000 Server. It is available under Microsoft Open, Select, and Enterprise Agreement volume licensing programs.

The Work at Home TS CAL is available through Microsoft Volume licensing programs. For each Windows 2000 Professional or TS CAL that organizations purchase, they can purchase the additional Work at Home TS CALs for their employees' home access to a Windows 2000 Terminal Server. Work at home CAL is treated as a normal CAL by the LS.

Terminal Server Licensing (TSL)

TSL service consists of four primary components: Clients, Terminal Server, License Server, and Microsoft Clearinghouse. TSL is Microsoft's first step in developing integrated licensing technologies in Windows operating system. TSL has a very low overhead. The impact on CPU, memory and hard disk space is negligible. It typically uses about 10 MB of RAM while running and for every 6,000 licenses that are issued, the license database will grow only about 5 MB.

For More Information

For more information about TSL, including information on how to request a license re-issue, please refer to Microsoft Windows 2000 Terminal Services Licensing white paper. Here are some additional resources that you will find useful:

The following is a partial list of Microsoft Knowledge Base articles that are related to Terminal Server Licensing:

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