More than you ever wanted to know about Remote Desktop Licensing

More than you ever wanted to know about Remote Desktop Licensing

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Hey everyone, David here. Here in support, there are certain types of calls that we love to get – because they’re cool or interesting, and when we figure them out, we feel like we’re making the world a better place. These are the calls that prompt us to write long-winded blog posts with lots of pretty pictures because we’re proud of ourselves for figuring out the issue.

Sadly, calls about Remote Desktop Licensing (formerly known as Terminal Services Licensing) aren’t those kinds of calls. Instead, they’re often questions about things that we really should have written down on the Internet a long time ago, so that people wouldn’t have to call us. Things like “How do I migrate my license server to a new OS version?” and “How does licensing server discovery really work?” That’s not to say that we don’t still get some interesting RDS Licensing calls, but most of them are run-of-the-mill. And to tell you the truth, we don’t want you to have to call us for stuff that you could have figured out if only someone had bothered to document it for you.

So, we did something that probably should have happened years ago: we went around the team and collected every scrap of knowledge we could find about RDS Licensing. We then scrubbed it (some of it was very dusty), made sure it was accurate, and, using liberal amounts of leftover Halloween candy from the bowl on Ned’s desk, bribed the team of writers that manages TechNet to make it freely available to everyone in one easy place.

On November 11th, we published Troubleshooting Remote Desktop Licensing Issues on TechNet.

Click that link, and you can find all sorts of information about things like:

  • The different types of CALs and how they work
  • License Server Discovery and how it works
  • How the Grace Period really works
  • Installing or Migrating CALs
  • Lots more useful stuff

We hope that someday it saves you a support call. And if there’s something RDS-related that you don’t see there, tell us about it in a comment. (Ned still has more Halloween candy for those writers). Enjoy!

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No really… he does.

- David “Hydra” Beach

  • Hey guys, glad to hear there was an effort to clean that stuff up.  I can definitely speak from having to make heads or tails of it over the years, and the "some of it was very dusty" comment may have been an understatement  :).  So having said that, the efforts by all involved are I'm sure definitely appreciated by the community as a whole!

    The one interesting thing that that was a little surprising to me, is that the Directory Services Team is involved in Remote Desktop Licensing.  Do you guys actually handle the calls on this stuff, or was this just an FYI type of post?  Either way, glad to hear the work was done... nice work guys!

  • Yep, we own and support TS Licensing. Along with USMT, Windows Scripting Host, and a few other red-headed stepchildren that no one else wanted.

  • Great post, as a TS Admin (one of the more unappreciated hats I wear), I always felt a little sheepish when someone from the business would ask how the TS/RDS Licensing discovery worked or the CAL types and I'd have to Boogle it (usually Bing and Google and look up whoever had the best links first), or just pull some correct sounding information out of my butt...

  • Adding the term "Boogle" to my personal lexicon.

    That. Is. Awesome.

  • Hi, this is a fantastic post. As Technet Forum moderator TS in Spanish, I believe this post is helpful for users. A good resource where to go to solve their problems. Since many users ask about it, would it be possible to add a point about the redundancy of the TS Licensing Server? Do you still are candy for the editors? ;-)

    Thank you very much for your time and help.

  • Hey Tomas,

    I think one of our guys had something like that in the works that just didn't make the initial push, but I will follow up with him and see if we can get it added.  It's definitely a question that we get fairly often!