Being a rather newbie server admin guy, I've stupidly overlooked the apparent need to renew remote desktop access licenses at my office, while I can presumably hook up a monitor and keyboard to server in it's rack mount (which is rather annoyingly situated) I would prefer a remote solution. Can it be done through remote registry or some other magic?

When I say newbie... I mean web designer turned server admin at a small business, any help would be appreciated!

  • 1
    Use the admin switch? – Jacob Apr 22 '11 at 23:13
  • 3
    RDP CAL's don't expire. What's the actual problem regarding CAL's that you're dealing with? – joeqwerty Apr 22 '11 at 23:50
  • As Joe mentioned, CALs don't expire; what's the exact error message you're getting. You might be able to get in by running mstsc /v:ServerName /admin from your machine as Jacob mentioned. – Chris S Apr 23 '11 at 0:08
  • I appreciate the reply guys, thanks. I believe the error was: "Remote session was disconnected because there are no Remote Desktop client access licenses available for this computer." I shall spend my holidays reading up a little more about remote access, I've clearly misunderstood how things work :) – Bill Apr 23 '11 at 18:02

Windows has a built-in failsafe for this. It's called either the console session, or the admin session, depending on your version of windows, but the effect is the same.

If your RDP client is on Windows XP, run mstsc /console, or if it's Vista or Windows 7, run mstsc /admin - this will always get you in to your server, but will disconnect anyone else who is using that session.

The other option (which is a better one) is to install the Remote Server Administration Tools for your choice of OS, and then connect to the RDP machine using the RDS Session Manager and just disconnect the people who are hogging your sessions (this only works if the remote server is on the same domain and it's on the sane LAN, you have access to it via a VPN or somesuch).


As joeqwerty mentioned, RDP/RDS/TS CALs don't expire per se. And as Chris S mentioned you should be able to access the server using "mstsc /admin" to at least get into the server to checkout the issue.

The question doesn't specify if the server is a RDS/TS application server. This is the same error you would receive if you're trying to access a Remote Desktop Services (aka Terminal Services) server that uses device licensing (not user licensing). The RDS/TS device licenses get "assigned" to the computers that connect to it until the server it out of licenses (let's say you purchased 20 RDS licenses). Then subsequent computers (the 21st+ computer) that try to connect will get the error you described.

More info on RDS licensing: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/licensing-rds.aspx

More info on TS licensing: http://www.brianmadden.com/blogs/brianmadden/archive/2004/04/01/the-ultimate-guide-to-windows-2003-terminal-server-licensing.aspx

  • Thank you for the detailed response, I've learnt a lot from those links. – Bill Apr 26 '11 at 9:16

It sounds like you are using an RDP server to publish access to other servers. This requires an RDP license server. Remote access is limited to two instances per server in server 2008 so you can either just scrap the RDP and allow users to remote directly into your servers, or you can stand up a license server and point your RDP server to it (they can be the same server, jsut add the new role). You will have to activate it as well as add your licenses, which it sounds like you already have.

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