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Remove / Uninstall CAL (Client Access License) from SBS 2003.

Adam Ray
Adam Ray asked
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
Short Verson:  I need too remove / unistall CALs from an SBS 2003 install.

Full story: I am an IT consultant for several small companies and I came into a situation where one client had an immediate need for more CALs and I had another client that wasn't currently using all of their purchased CALs.  Since all of the CALs were retail, it was my understanding that it was just fine to transfer CALS around.

The leased CALs are now going back to their original owner and I have purchased and received CALs to replace the leased ones.  No action has been performed since the original transfer.

Now when I look at the licesning module of both SBS installs of each respective client, the CAL license code appears to be activated on each [independent] install.  It's been serveral months, so I don't know if there was an error in the transfer process or I did it incorrectly.

I have not added my new CALs yet because I want to get this first issue straighen up before I complicate the matter with additional licensing.

As near as I can tell the situation can be resolved if I can just find a way to remove the CALs from one of the SBS installs so that everying complies to the licensing agreement.  I've searched around and can't find a way that will work with SBS, does anyone know how?  TIA.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
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Commented:
You can only transfer retail CALS INTERNALLY to a new set of hardware.

OEM CALs are bound to the original hardware that SBS was installed on.

Open License CALs can be transferred to hardware used for a new SBS install INTERNALLY.

By internally, I mean within the original CAL purchaser's organization which can be site specific depending on how they are set up.

You are in contravention of your client's license by moving them from one client to another.

CALs for clients must be purchased for each client by a Microsoft Partner or a registered Microsoft distributor.

If your client that received the CALs that were originally installed elsewhere gets audited for licensing they are in big doodoo as you would be too.

I hope this clarifies things for you?

Philip

Author

Commented:
Although I do not have written documentation from Microsoft in front of me on the licensing issue, the universal consensus on various threads all around the 'net that I came across when doing my research is that a retail CAL can be transfered to whomever you please, internally or externally.  Also, I was on the phone is Microsoft Corporate pre-sales and said I was transfering licenses from "one client to another" and no question was raised.

In any case, what was done is done and now I am trying to remove licenses that may or may not be in violation of the EULA.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
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Commented:
As far as I can see, the only way to reset that count is to reinstall the server from scratch. I will keep searching for you, but it is not looking too good.

A Swing Migration from www.sbsmigration.com would mitigate the costs.

Again, I will look further to see if there is a way to remove them.

Someone else may have the way to do it.

If you are a Microsoft Partner you can also give Product Support Services a call to see if they can provide an answer.

Philip
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
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Commented:
Talking to a sales person does not necessarily guarantee things are on the up and up! ;)

Licensing will be able to clarify that for you.

And, I may very well be wrong... It has been known to happen. :D

Philip

Author

Commented:
Thanks for you help.  I did find a MS KB article about resetting the Licensing server enterprise wide, but it made to mention to being compatible with SBS.  -- I'm at a datacenter now and can't pull up the article number at the moment.

I have seen reference to MS Product Support being able to clear this issue up, but I would like to attempt to find a solution not only to avoid the support call, but to be able to document the process for future users with the same problem.
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Commented:
Thanks for your efforts.  I have penciled in a call to MS on Thursday morning.  Hopefully I'll be able to come back with a solution.

Author

Commented:
I never did get back to Microsoft, after they wanted to charge me for a support incident to look at the issue.  However I just did find the solution in this thread on another forum: http://9z.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=13

I will post it here as well incase the source becomes unavaliable.

[quote]If you need to remove user or client licenses from an SBS box (for instance you thought you needed user CALs not device CALs and you don't want to mix and match them for administrative purposes) this can be done by renaming the file:
%systemroot%\system32\licstr.cpa
The next time you refresh the licensing snap-in it will throw a 1016 in the event viewer and mount a fresh license store.
You can now start over from a blank database and add the CAL's you want.
SBS can accept two kinds of licenses, user and device.
User licenses might make since for an organization that has the same users accessing the server from multiple (of unknown) devices.
Device CAL's might make since in an environment where several users access the same devices (such as shift workers).
Mixing and matching the two, however, is an administrative headache you probably don't want so it is not advised.[/quote]
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage
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Commented:
Thanks for that. Very helpful!

Philip

Commented:
Yeah thanks.

Tom
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