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Purchasing and installing client access licenses on 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

Purchasing and installing client access licenses on a Terminal Server license server

After a Terminal Server license server is activated, you can purchase and then install client access licenses (CALs) on that server so that it can issue those licenses to terminal servers upon request. The CALs are stored and tracked on the license server.

For instructions on purchasing CALs, see Purchase client access licenses. After you purchase CALs, make sure to retain the License Purchase Agreement information. Having this information with you will facilitate communication with the Microsoft Clearinghouse, should you need assistance with recovering CALs or other Terminal Server Licensing tasks that are supported by the Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is the facility that Microsoft maintains to activate license servers, issue CALs to license servers, recover CALs, and reactivate license servers.

The Clearinghouse processes your request to install and issue CALs, in the quantity requested, to your license server. Then, you install the CALs, using one of the three methods you used to activate a license server—Automatic (recommended), Web Browser, and Telephone. For instructions on installing CALs by using any of these methods, see Install Client Access Licenses. For instructions on locating the Clearinghouse telephone number if you do not have access to the Internet, see Locate the Microsoft Clearinghouse telephone number for your country or region.

Client licenses are digitally signed certificates that each client stores locally. After client licenses are installed on a license server, the server can issue licenses. When a client computer attempts to log on to a terminal server for the first time, the terminal server recognizes that the client has not been issued a license and locates a license server to issue a new license to the client. Terminal Server Licensing modes determine the type of CAL that a license server issues to a client. In Windows Server 2003, two types of CALs are available: Per User and Per Device. A Per Device CAL gives each client computer or device the right to access a terminal server that is running Windows Server 2003. A Per User CAL gives one user the right to access a terminal server from an unlimited number of devices. In this case, only one CAL is needed instead of a CAL for each device.

By default, when the Per Device licensing mode is used, after a client logs and authenticates to a terminal server for the first time, and after the terminal server locates a license server, the terminal server issues the client a temporary license. After a client logs on and authenticates to a terminal server for the second time, if the license server is activated and at least one Per Device CAL is installed on the license server and not yet issued, the terminal server issues the client a permanent, Per Device CAL. Per User CALs are not monitored by Terminal Server. This means that even though there is a Per User CAL in the license server database, the Per User CAL is not decremented when it is used. Additionally, if you use the Per User licensing mode, when a client logs on to a terminal server for the second time, the temporary license is not upgraded to a permanent CAL.

If you want to transfer a license from one computer to another, you must call the Microsoft Clearinghouse. According to the terms of your End User License Agreement (EULA) for Terminal Server Client Access Licenses, you can make this transfer only once.


  • You must configure Terminal Server Licensing correctly in order for your terminal server to continue to accept connections from clients. 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. During this grace period, a terminal server can accept connections from unlicensed clients without contacting a license server. The grace period begins the first time the terminal server accepts a client connection. It ends after you deploy a license server and that license server issues its first permanent CAL, or after 120 days, whichever comes first. 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 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=34627) and Windows Server 2003 Terminal Server Licensing (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=26220).

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