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Activating a Terminal Server license server

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Activating a Terminal Server license server

You must activate a Terminal Server license server and then purchase and install the appropriate number of client access licenses (CALs) before the license server can issue permanent CALs to Terminal Server clients. A license server that has been installed but not activated only issues temporary licenses. These temporary licenses allow clients to connect to the terminal server for 90 days. For information about purchasing and installing CALs, see Purchasing and installing client access licenses on a Terminal Server license server.

To activate a license server, use Terminal Server Licensing. When you activate a license server, the Microsoft Clearinghouse provides the server with an X.509 digital certificate that validates server ownership and identity. Using this certificate, a license server can make subsequent transactions with the Microsoft Clearinghouse and receive permanent CALs for your terminal servers.

Information that you provide over the Internet or World Wide Web to the Microsoft Clearinghouse is encrypted for your security and is securely stored by the Microsoft Clearinghouse in a dedicated database. This information is kept separate from information you might have provided to Microsoft in other contexts, and is not disclosed to third parties. For more information, see Terminal Server license management and your privacy.


  • If the Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration setting is in effect on your Terminal Server license server, you must add the Microsoft Clearinghouse Web site ( to the Trusted sites zone in Internet Explorer before you can activate your Terminal Server license server. If you try to connect to the Microsoft Clearinghouse Web site and it is not yet a trusted site, you are prompted to specify whether to add it to the Trusted sites zone. For more information, see Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration.

The following table shows the three ways to activate a Terminal Server license server.


Automatic Web Browser Telephone

This is the fastest and easiest method. To use this method, the server running Terminal Server Licensing must have an Internet connection.

Use this method to connect directly to the secure Microsoft Terminal Services Web site. This method also requires an Internet connection, but the connection can be made from any computer, not just the computer that is running Terminal Server Licensing.

If you do not have an Internet connection, use this method to contact the Microsoft Clearinghouse and receive an ID number to activate the license server by phone. For instructions on how to locate the appropriate local number to call, see Locate the Microsoft Clearinghouse telephone number for your country or region.

For instructions on activating a license server by using any of these methods, see Activate a Terminal Server License Server.

You are required to activate a license server only once, after which the license server becomes the repository for terminal server client licenses.


  • If you upgrade a Terminal Server license server from Windows 2000, you must reactivate it.

  • The Microsoft Clearinghouse is the facility that Microsoft maintains to activate license servers, issue CALs to license servers, recover CALs, and reactivate license servers. You cannot purchase CALs from the Clearinghouse. For instructions on how to purchase CALs, see Purchase client access licenses. After you purchase CALs, make sure to retain the License Purchase Agreement. If you contact the Clearinghouse, the information in the Agreement will help them assist you.

  • To allow ample time for you to deploy a license server, Terminal Server provides a licensing grace period, during which no license server is required. For more information about the licensing grace period, see Terminal Server Licensing grace period.

  • For more information about Terminal Server and Terminal Server Licensing, see Guidelines for Deploying Terminal Server ( and Windows Server 2003 Terminal Server Licensing (

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