We are using Windows 2012, purchasing, and installing per user CALs to enable more than 2 users to connect to a Windows 2012 server. We are going merrily along when someone asks: how will we know if we have enough CALs on the machine? Someone else says that the server will stop allowing people on the machine when you reach the CAL limit. Someone else says, in days of yore (win 2003) Windows terminal services did not enforce this limit. If it is the case that the software does not enforce a connection limit based on available CALs, we will need to monitor ourselves by performing a manual audit so that we do not end up creating more accounts on the machine than we have CALs deployed - in order to ensure that we stay on the right side of the license agreement terms.

Can someone give me a technical answer to the question: does Windows 2012 count the number of concurrent connections and prevent the 16th user from logging in if the local machine has 15 CALs deployed? In this hypothetical scenario, the machine is a stand alone box and not on a windows domain so the licensing server is the same machine that users are logging into.


No, there is not a connection limit based on the number of User CALs. User CALs have traditionally not been enforced. Also, the license requirements do not factor in concurrency.

A User CAL is required for every person that logs on. Microsoft isn't interested in every user that has ever logged on, but they do count users that have logged on in the last 90 days. If you have 10 accounts, but 20 different people have logged on in the last 90 days, you need 20 licenses to be compliant. A CAL may be reassigned no more frequently than 90 days.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.