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When licensing User CALS for Windows Server, I have following problem (or question):

Given you have 30 employees in your domain. 5 of them are administrators. Each of these administrator has two domain accounts, one for working, with almost normal permissions, and one account with domain admin permissions, for logging in into servers and workstations. This helps distinguishing who was responsible for a software installation, reboot etc.

Now, do I need to buy 35 licenses for those 30 physical employees because I have 35 user accounts or is it enough to buy one user CAL per (physical) admin?

Same question appears for a special backup user which is used by backup scripts (=no physical user) to tranfer files to our file pool.

I already checked Active Directory Licensing but it doesn't completely cover my question.

marked as duplicate by Bryan, Michael Hampton, Sven, MDMarra, mdpc Feb 19 '13 at 0:37

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  • We can not answer such questions with any certainty. And if some joker here gives you bad advise, and as a result you find yourself at the wrong end of nasty judicial proceedings, it will be your own fault anyway. – vonbrand Feb 19 '13 at 3:27
  • I see. But I thought this is a very common problem and maybe someone is able to give me a link to a microsoft document which clearly says yes or no – Daniel Alder Feb 22 '13 at 23:02

Go with your gut... I'd buy 30 CALs, since I think of it as number of butt-in-seat real users. It doesn't sound like the administrator-enabled users are used particularly often, so I wouldn't get hung up on that; e.g. follow the spirit of the law versus the letter...

You could simply call Microsoft to get the authoritative answer, but I suspect that the response would be similar.

If you want to be safe, buy the extra CALs. It shouldn't make much of a difference at your scale.

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