O/S license requirements for a thin client connecting to Windows 2003 Server Terminal Services

Posted on 2006-05-10
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
In my enviroment I have windows 2003 Servers with Terminal Services running, providing Desktop sessions to my users via Thin Clients.  I am trying to double check my licensing.  I have my W2k3 server CAL's and my W2k3 Terminal Services Cal's, but do I need a actual workstation O/S license for each thin client?
Question by:rongillis
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Each thin client will come with its own licensed operating system.  Usually winCE linux or if they are more expensive ones they can come with 2000 pro or XP Pro embedded.  

    If they have XP Pro embedded then you don't even need a 2003 tcal.  You only need tcals for clients that are not running xp pro.  

    If you are asking about regular client access licenses on the server you do need as many client access licenses on the the server as you will have simultaneous connections to the server in addition to the tcals for clients that are not XP Pro.

    example  if you have 30 users total, 20 wince thin clients, 10 winxp pro workstations, you will need 30 cals and 20 tcals
    LVL 82

    Accepted Solution

    Server 2003 in Application Mode requires one TS CAL for *every* client, no matter which OS. TS CALs were only included in W2k/XP pro for access to a Terminal Server running Windows 2000.
    Furthermore, TS CALs are NOT concurrent; depending on the licensing mode, you need one license for each user/device accessing the terminal server; you can only re-assign TS CALs if a device is taken off completely, or the user doesn't access the terminal server anymore.

    The Ultimate Guide to Windows 2003 Terminal Server Licensing

    The Function of Terminal Server CALs in Windows Server 2003

    Windows Server 2003 Terminal Server Licensing

    Windows Server 2003 Terminal Server Licensing Issues and Requirements for Deployment

    What's New in Windows Server 2003 Licensing

    Author Comment

    I understand what you are all saying and perhaps I am crazy, but..... From what I remember back with NT 4.0 Terminal Server,  each thin client connecting had to have a NT Workstation license.  Not for the right to connect to the terminal server, but because the terminal server was providing the thin client user with a NT Workstation Desktop.   Thus MS felt there were not getting screwed out of selling a workstation O/S license because you were using terminal server.  Does this still hold true, or was it never the case?
    LVL 82

    Expert Comment

    That's what the TS CAL is for ...
    Read the "Ultimate Guide"; it's the most comprehensive explanation of TS licensing you can find. Quoted from there:
    "[...] To legally access a Windows 2003 Terminal Server, each client seat requires each of the following licenses:
    Windows Server 2003 Client Access License.
    Windows Server 2003 Terminal Server Client Access License."

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