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Remote Desktop Server Licensing

In this guide, we will look at how to license a remote desktop server (terminal server), or in other words, configure the server to connect to it via RDP. This instruction is distributed for Windows Server 2012, 2016, 2019 and 2022 versions.

1) The first thing we need to do is add remote desktop services and roles, if you haven't installed them yet. Go to Active Directory => Install roles or components => Select the desired server.

Next, add "Remote Desktop Services" in the roles, and "Remote Desktop Licensing" in the role service, you can also install "Remote Desktop Session Host" and "Remote Desktop Gateway".

2) The next step we need to configure the group policy. To make the configuration, go to the "Search" on the toolbar => gpedit.msc => Computer Configuration => Administrative Templates => Windows Components => Remote Desktop Services => Remote Desktop Session Host => Licensing.

Go to the menu "Use the specified remote desktop licensing servers" and enter the name of your server or its IP in the field.

After that, go to the "Set remote Desktop licensing mode" menu, select "Per user" or "Per device" in the drop-down menu, depending on your license. 

3) Now you can go directly to the licensing itself. Go to the "Control Panel" => Administration => Remote Desktop Services => Remote Desktop Licensing Manager.

Go to the "Server Activation Wizard".

Select the recommended "Auto" connection method.

Next, optionally enter the first and last name, the name of your organization and the country where the server is located. (You can enter any data, they do not require verification).

We proceed to the licensing itself after registering above. You need an activation key for terminal server licensing — CAL (Client Access License). In our case, it will be licensing "Per user", it provides connection of 50 users (clients) via RDP to the server.

You can purchase activation keys "Per user" or "Per Device" in our online store by selecting a license for your version of Windows Server. Windows Server CAL activation keys.

When licensing - select "Retail License Package" => Next.

Enter the activation key that you purchased.

Further, depending on the license, it can be determined for 50 users or devices at once, or you will need to specify it yourself as in the screenshot below. (specifying more users than the license allows — this setting is simply not activated). The license type is selected accordingly "By user", in our case.

After that, we return to the remote desktop licensing manager. And see if the server is activated. If yes, it means that everything was successful. But you may still have a "yellow warning" on the server icon. To fix the problems, go to the "Review". In the menu of this "Review" there may be items that need to be marked, click the appropriate buttons if you have them.

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