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TS Licensing in 90 Words Or Less

Various aspects of TS Licensing are often misunderstood, so I set myself the goal of explaining it relatively clearly in under 90 words.
I cheated by using a picture, which is reputedly worth a thousand words, though I think that mainly applies to people with, what’s the word, skill.
Words From The Picture Retyped:
Clients connect directly to the Terminal Server using RDP.
The Terminal Server validates the client license, and talks to the TS Licensing Server (LS) if necessary:
  • to obtain a Temporary License token for an unlicensed client
  • to upgrade Temporary License tokens to Permanent
  • to renew Permanent License token within 7 days of expiry
Clients never connect to the LS directly.
The TS discovers the License Server automatically if the LS is a Domain Controller. If not, use DefaultLicenseServer value (Windows 2000) or LicenseServers subkeys (Windows Server 2003).
Enterprise LSs span domains within a site.
Domain LSs span sites within a domain.
Picture FAQ:
Yes, the user on the right is probably up to no good, but I can’t prove anything.
Windows Server 2003:
301932 Terminal Services Licensing Service Discovery

Notes: You can specify a list of license servers, you create a subkey of LicenseServers for each LS you want to query.
Windows 2000:
239107 Establishing Preferred Windows 2000 Terminal Services License Server
Notes: You can only specify a single default license server, a single REG_SZ registry value called DefaultLicenseServer.
Some history on TS Licensing Enhancements (short version: for Windows 2000, get SP3 or later, and put it on both the TSs and LS).
287687 Terminal Services Licensing Enhancements
And the Terminal Services Licensing White Papers (if you want to know how it all works in detail, start here – there’s tons of excellent information).
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