Terminal Services Licensing

Licensing requirements for the Remote Desktop connections to Windows Server 2003 servers are dependent on three factors: the mode in which Terminal Services are running (Remote Desktop for Administration or Full Terminal Server), the operating system on the client device that's running Remote Desktop session, and the number of Terminal Servers configured with per-device and per-session licensing. (Per-device licensing requires a temporary or full license for each connecting device; per-session counts only concurrent connections to the server.) In Remote Desktop for Administration mode, no additional licenses are needed, regardless of the type of clients. This changes after you install the Terminal Server component. To comply with licensing requirements, you need to set up the Terminal Server Licensing Server (which involves the installation of a licensing component and its activation) and, depending on your client population and the licensing mode that you set on terminal servers, purchase a number of client licenses.

In general, with the Full Terminal Server component installed, you use one or more of the following types of client licenses:

♦ Temporary Terminal Server Client Access Licenses. These licenses are sufficient to provide unlimited connectivity to clients who are running Windows 2000, XP Pro, or Windows Server 2003 operating systems and, for a limited amount of time (up to 120 days), to all the other clients (including non-Windows operating systems). These temporary licenses, stored typically on a client in the form of a digital certificate, are valid for 120 days after they are issued by the activated Licensing Server. Even if all your clients are running Windows 2000, XP, or Windows Server 2003 operating systems, you still need an activated Licensing Server in your environment, although you don't need to purchase any license packs for them. Keep in mind that the temporary licenses can be used only for clients connecting to Terminal Server configured in the per-device licensing mode.

♦ Full Terminal Server Client Access Licenses. These are granted to all clients not covered by temporary Terminal Services Client Access Licenses (CALs). This may happen as soon as such clients request a license (if Terminal Services Licensing Server has available CALs) or at the time that their temporary licenses expire (if CALs have been installed after the initial client connection). Prior to Windows Server 2003, Microsoft offered only per-device licenses, which meant that you needed to ensure that you had a license for every device that connected to any of your Terminal Servers. Although this worked fairly well in intranet scenarios, it was impractical for providing Terminal

Services to Internet users. Partial relief was provided by the Internet Connector License, which enables up to 200 concurrent connections (using per-session and not per-device licensing). The Internet Connector License, however, had significant limitations. It could be used only for anonymous connections and was restricted to non-employees. In Windows Server 2003, Microsoft switched to per-device and per-session licensing. The following paragraphs describe the differences between these two types of licensing:

• Per-device licensing works the same way as it did in Windows 2000 Service Pack 3. Like the temporary Terminal Services Client Access License, the full per-device license is stored on a client machine in the form of a digital certificate. Also just like temporary Terminal Services CAL, the full per-device license expires within a random time interval shorter than 120 days. Although the idea of a "temporary" full license may sound like an oxymoron, Microsoft has a very good reason for it. Because a full Terminal Services CAL is stored locally on a client device, it would be permanently lost in the case of hard-drive failure. By using a temporary full license, this problem is avoided as follows: After the client OS is rebuilt, it requests a new license. Even if no full Terminal Services CALs are available (because the one that formerly belonged to the client is lost), the client can operate for the first 120 days by using temporary Terminal Services CALs. Before the 120-day period passes, the full license is returned to the license pool (as soon as it expires) and assigned to the original owner. Full Terminal Services CALs are renewed whenever a client negotiates a new connection. Terminal Server checks the expiration date of the license and renews it automatically when the expiration date is near.

• Per-session licensing is a replacement for Windows 2000 Terminal Server Internet Connection licensing. Instead of being assigned on per-device basis, it works on a per-connection basis. Remember that per-session licensing applies to every connection to the server, including those initiated from Windows 2000, XP, and Windows Server 2003 systems.

Each Terminal Server must operate on either a per-device or a per-session licensing basis. The type of licensing is set in the Terminal Server Configuration MMC snap-in (by using the Licensing entry in the Server Setting folder). Each server configured by using per-session licensing contacts the Terminal Server Licensing Server and uses the next available persession license from the pool of available ones.

Keep in mind that the licenses described in the preceding list do not include the Windows Server 2003 product license and Windows Server 2003 Client Access Licenses, which are required regardless of the use of Terminal Server.

In publishing applications via Terminal Services — in addition to operating-system and Terminal Server licensing — you also need to comply with multi-user application licensing rules. The use of third-party products enhancing Terminal Services functionality, such as Citrix MetaFrame, further increases your licensing and product costs.

Whenever Windows Server 2003 running the Full Terminal Server component receives a connection request, it first tries to retrieve a license from the client. Clients typically cache previously obtained licenses locally in the registry. (This does not apply to non-Windows operating systems, however, for which the per-device Client Access License is stored on the Licensing Server.) If such a license exists and is valid, the connection is established. Otherwise, the Terminal Server tries to contact a Terminal Server Licensing Server containing a licensing database.

Specifics of the mechanism used to obtain the license depend on the client device's operating system, Terminal and Licensing Server configuration, and the length of time that the Terminal Server and Licensing Server have been operational.

Terminal Server can ignore the absence of a Licensing Server for the first 120 days after you install the Full Terminal Server component (but contacts it as soon as the Licensing Server becomes available). After this grace period passes, all further connection requests are rejected, so within the 120 days after the installation date of your first Terminal Server, you also need to have a fully functional Licensing Server.

To accomplish that task, follow these steps:

1. Install the Terminal Server Licensing component (via the Add or Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel) on a Windows Server.

A Licensing Server can be configured to serve an entire enterprise or only a single domain or workgroup. Enterprise Licensing Server responds to requests for licenses from any server from the same site (as long as it belongs to the same forest). Domain Licensing Server provides licenses only to servers from the same domain. For installation of Enterprise Licensing Server, you must be logged on by using an account with Enterprise Admin privileges, because the process results in the creation of an entry in Active Directory at the location CN=TS-Enterprise-License-Server,CN=sitename ,CN = Sites,CN=Configuration,DC=domain,DC=com. Terminal Servers search for Licensing Servers by querying all domain controllers in their domain for the reference to a server that's running the Terminal Server Licensing service. If several of them are available, the server chooses one at random and requests a license from a license-key pack matching the client type. If none is available in the same domain, the server searches Active Directory for the Enterprise Licensing Server at the location listed earlier in this step.

Note You can configure Terminal Services to request the license-key pack from a specific Licensing

Server by specifying the NetBIOS name of this server in the Def aul t Li censeServer registry entry of type REG_SZ at the following location:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\TermService\ Parameters

If you decide to use this configuration, remember that if the specified server is not available, then the Terminal Server does not try to contact another one.

2. After the Licensing Server component is installed, you need to activate it.

The activation process is a one-time event that involves obtaining a Licensing Server ID (based on your Licensing Server product ID) from Microsoft Clearinghouse (which you can contact via a direct (from the Licensing Server) or indirect (from any other computer) Internet connection to the Microsoft Clearinghouse Web site or by phone). Select Action O Activate Server from the Terminal Server Licensing administrative tool's menu bar. You are asked to provide your contact and company information.

3. If you have clients running operating systems other than Windows 2000 and XP Professional, you need to purchase client licenses.

You must take care of this within 120 days after Licensing Server activation. During this time, your clients can use temporary licenses. After this second grace period expires (the first one, also lasting 120 days, follows the installation of the Terminal Server), full client licenses are required. You need to decide what type of licensing agreement you are going to use. Several options are available (for example, retail license packs, Microsoft Open License, Enterprise agreement, and so on), so review them carefully before you decide which one works best for you. Another critical decision that you need to make concerns the type of licenses you're going to use (per-device, per-ses-sion, or a mix of both). Your choice depends mostly on whether your clients are internal or external and what types of operating system they run.

After both decisions are made, you can purchase licenses directly from Microsoft or a reseller (typically in the form of license packs, although this depends on the type of licensing agreement you go with), and install them on the Licensing Server by running the Terminal Server Client Access License Installation Wizard (which you launch by choosing Action O Install Licenses from the Terminal Server Licensing utility's menu bar). If you have a direct link to the Internet from the Licensing Server, the wizard connects to the Microsoft Clearinghouse and leads you through the CAL installation process. Otherwise, connect to the Microsoft Web site via a browser on another computer or contact the Clearinghouse via phone. You need to provide the Client Access License's 25-character code and 35-character Licensing Server ID. Both are used to generate a unique, 35-character client license-key pack ID, which activates the licenses.

Because that list of available licenses is stored in a database on a Licensing Server, you should back it up regularly. Your backup, at the very least, should include system-state data and the folder in which the Licensing Server component is installed (the %SystemRoot%\ System32\LServer folder, by default). As a last resort, in case your restore fails, contact the Microsoft Customer Support Center.

Windows Server 2003 SP1 includes the following new Group Policy settings for Terminal Services Licensing:

♦ Set the Terminal Server licensing mode. This new Group Policy setting determines the type of Terminal Server client access license (CAL) a device or user requires to connect to a Terminal Server. When this setting is enabled, you can choose one of the following two licensing modes:

• Per User. Each user connecting to the terminal server requires a Per User Terminal Server CAL.

• Per Device. Each device connecting to the terminal server requires a Per Device Terminal Server CAL.

If you enable this policy setting, the licensing mode that you specify overrides the licensing mode specified during Setup, or in Terminal Services Configuration

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, Terminal Services uses the licensing mode specified during Setup or found in TSCC.msc.

♦ Use the specified Terminal Server license servers policy setting. This Group Policy setting determines whether terminal servers must first attempt to locate Terminal Server license servers that are specified in this policy setting before attempting to locate license servers elsewhere on the network.

During the automatic discovery process, terminal servers attempt to contact license servers in the following order:

1. Enterprise license servers or domain license servers that are specified in the

LicenseServers registry key.

2. Enterprise license servers that are specified in Active Directory.

3. Domain license servers.

If you enable this policy setting, terminal servers attempt to locate license servers that are specified in this setting before following the automatic license server discovery process.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, terminal servers follow the automatic license server discovery process.

You can configure a specific terminal server to locate a Terminal Server license server using TSCC.msc. This Group Policy setting enables you, after successfully logging on to a terminal server as an administrator, to display ToolTips that show any licensing problems with the terminal server, and the expiration date of the terminal server's licensing grace period. If this Group Policy setting is not configured, the ToolTip display is defined by registry settings.

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  • gigliola
    How to turn off termical server license tooltip?
    7 years ago

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