I develop and support a .NET WinForms app that encounters IOExceptions accessing the server's disk (see StackOverflow question 582988). I have recently started to suspect the server might be running out of licenses. So I spun up a Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition virtual machine, configured it with one Windows Server license, and then connected from three clients, as shown in this screenshot (which I cannot display inline because of my low rep on SF).

After looking at the screenshot, can you help answer these questions:

  1. One client experienced the IOException linked to above, but why didn't the second client?
  2. Does Windows 2003 log these license violations/overflows? Where?
  3. As the screenshot shows, even the Licensing app does not seem to mind the overflow. Is there any trace/manifestation left on the server when it exceeds its number of client licenses?
  4. Should I expect a "license usage overflow" on the server to have any manifestation in my thick-client when accessing the server's disk?
  5. Is there any runtime effect to exceeding the number of Windows Server licenses?

The "License Logging" service is deprecated in Windows Server 2003. See here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/824196

To my knowledge, the License Logging service doesn't do anything if you do start it, other than whining in the event log. I'm not aware of any functionality in Windows Server 2003 to cause any type of behavior to differ if the "license count" is exceeded.

I have "License Logging" disabled on all the Windows Server 2003 machines in all my Customer sites and we don't have problems.

  • +1; totally correct. It's merely provided as a convenience for admins to keep their own records, but there is no enforcement in it. – Maximus Minimus Jul 23 '09 at 18:05
  • It should be noted that the License Logging service must not be stopped or disabled on an SBS 2003 box, unless you enjoy having your server reboot itself every 60 minutes. – ThatGraemeGuy Jul 23 '09 at 18:11
  • Just to clarify: Is it correct to say there are no enforcement mechanisms in place for exceeding the number of Windows Server licenses? This clarification goes beyond mh's comment which states the License Service provides no enforcement. I want to know whether anything on a Windows Server 2003 machine enforces license overflows or disconnects clients that exceed the number of licenses. – flipdoubt Jul 23 '09 at 19:00
  • I haven't seen the code so it's not right for me to speak definitively, but I am not aware of any documentation indicating that "License Logging" does anything enforcement-related in current versions of Windows Server, with the exception of the SBCore.EXE process that runs on Windows Small Business Server and checks for the License Logging service to be running. My single largest Customer site has in excess of 1,000 PCs and no license counts have ever been loaded in servers there. I'd be shocked to find out there's any behaviour other than generating whiny event log entries. – Evan Anderson Jul 23 '09 at 22:39

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