Server 2008 R2 RDP licensing and issues

I have a question regarding Microsoft Licensing and a problem regarding Windows Server 2008.
The scenario is... there are several time clocks that connect back to a server through an RDP connection. Also, there are several users that connect back to that Server through an RDP connection. The server is loaded with Server 2008 R2. There are 50 Server 2008 Remote Desktop device cals for all of the time clock and business software users. At most there are only 40 users that could possibly ever connect to the server. Almost immediately the time clocks stopped working correctly. Most all of the time clocks will disconnect at night and when they do come back up they are showing the previous day’s times. There is a message from the server saying the Remote Desktop manager is out of licenses. There are never any more than 30 connections at any given time. It’s almost like the server is remembering every Remote Desktop connection and has used the 50 licenses up and it’s just letting users on temporarily and then at night it’s disconnecting them.  
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Cláudio RodriguesConnect With a Mentor Founder and CEOCommented:
Your problem is simple.
You need to determine what makes more sense in terms of RDS CAL licensing for your environment. If you have multiple shifts for example, where workers share the same computers (meaning more users than devices) it makes sense to license per device. If users connect from several locations (home, multiple office PCs, laptops, etc meaning more devices than users) you should have per user licenses.
As pointed out these are NOT concurrent.
The other thing to keep in mind is per DEVICE licensing is ENFORCED what means if you run out of licenses you do not connect. Simple as that (you actually get a temporary RDS CAL and after 90 days with no RDS CALs available that one expires and you get screwed).
As a workaround until you get more licenses you can simply delete the registry key HKLM\Software\Microsoft\MSLicensing on the device that cannot connect and it will get a new temporary RDS CAL good for 90 days.
For more information about licensing please download and read the guide I wrote, "Terminal Services A to Z" available at no cost at It explains all that and much more.

Cláudio Rodrigues
Microsoft MVP - Remote Desktop Services
Citrix CTP
Rodney BarnhardtServer AdministratorCommented:
How are the licenses installed? Per device or per user?
bytespeedAuthor Commented:
They are per device.
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Rodney BarnhardtConnect With a Mentor Server AdministratorCommented:
Have you checked your session time limits for things like inactivity? I have seen where a client disconnects, but the server still holds the connection open, especially if the disconnect is not clean, as in a wireless client dropping.
Darius GhassemConnect With a Mentor Commented:
That is correct once a device or user connects these CALS get allocated they do NOT come back to the licensing server to be used again. These are NOT concurrent licenses which means that just because only 30 users are connected doesn't mean you are only using 30 CALS. How TS\RDS CALS work is once a device or user connects it gets a licensed allocated to it which does not get reallocated back to the licensing server.
The allocation by device are not concurrent so the first 50 devices that connect are licensed , all the different devices that try to connect afterwards the connection is refused because the license limit has been reached.

If you also can check the inactivity time so the session can be disconnected this can also be a factor to grab too many licenses if some users are idle for many time and dont disconnect or are not forced to disconnect.

I believe that you issue is relate to my first statement so check that out.

bytespeedAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the info everyone regarding the licensing and also regarding the session time limits.
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