New to Microsoft Windows Server 2008

alexusa73 used Ask the Experts™
I am new to Microsoft Windows 2008 and I would like to know if each computer inside of my network should be licensed do access the server where the Windows Server is running. Also, what kind of Microsoft Windows is appropiated to install in the computers of the network. Windows 7 Professional will work ? Even running Windows 7 Professional genunine I should get a license to access the server or it will say the number of PCS able to connect it.

Thank you.
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Only windows pro machines will be able to join the domian (or ultimate) but you want pro operating systems for your work environment.  Also you can have as many systems as you want joined to the domain, HOWEVER, there is seperate license called CAL's, a CAL is a license that allows either a user/computer to be legally able to use the server, I believe server 2008 comes with 5 - 10 CAL's and if you have more computers than you do CAL's you might be breaking the license agreement.

There are 2 types of CAL's (User & Computer), I purchased user CAL's so it goes by how many people i have in the office vs each system.  You will however stay legit if you have 10 CAL's and 20 systems only if 10 users are using the server interactively.  Licensing gets confusing when it comes to microsoft, takes a bit to wrap your head around how it all works but it is an organized structure.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Some technical clarification and expansion on usescomp's answer:

Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise, and Ultimate are all capable of joining a domain - Enterprise is only available through Volume License programs and has the same featureset as Ultimate.

There is no realistic limit of systems connected to a Windows Server based domain.  Each computer or user requires a Client Access License (CAL).  Which one depends on how you want to license.

Every device that will authenticate against a Windows Server requires a CAL - a cell phone, a computer, a laptop, ANYTHING that a user will enter a user name and password on have that username and password validated by the Windows Server will require a Device CAL - UNLESS - the user has a User CAL assigned to them.  

> You will however stay legit if you have 10 CAL's and 20 systems
> only if 10 users are using the server interactively.
IMPORTANT: This is not correct.  Licensing is NOT concurrent - meaning it's not a question of how many users or devices are accessing the server at the same time - it's how many are authorized by NAME to access the server.

You CAN mix licensing types - if you have an office staff of 20 and these 20 use their cell phones, laptops, office computers, and home computers to access the server, you would license them by USER and then when a licensed user uses one of these devices, they are legal.  Then, if you have 2 computers shared by 5 people who ONLY access work resources from those 2 computers (they don't use their cell phones or laptops or any other device for e-mail or anything else) then you can get 2 DEVICE CALs for those two computers and ANYONE who uses those two computers will be licensed.

Windows Server 2008 Standard typically comes with 5 CALs
Windows Server 2008 Enterprise typically comes with 25 CALs
Small Business Server 2008 / 2011 typically comes with 5 CALs
Small Business Server 2008 Essentials comes with 25 CALs (or none and doesn't require them but has a maximum of 25 users, depending on your perspective)
Windows Server 2008 Foundation typically comes with 15 CALs (or none and doesn't require them but has a maximum of 15 users, depending on your perspective)


Well, basically we do have 48 users, each one should be able to access the server from they workplace computer. So, what do you suggest for this situation?
Technology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
In MOST cases, User CALs are going to be best.  Mostly because you cannot tell when the boss is going to say "Work from home" or "lets get everyone cell phones to check e-mail".  The exceptions are usually just the systems/places where, for example, you have a piece of hardware in a shop and the shop people operate the hardware but don't have e-mail and never use any other computer.  You could have 6 people operating that one computer that maybe controls a piece of an assembly line or something - they ONLY do that and NEVER tough another company computer - so it's better to get one Device CAL for that computer than 6 User CALs.  The 6 User CALs would satisfy licensing but would be overkill as really, just the one device CAL is needed.
You would typically want 48 user CALs and if you have exchange you will also need 48 exchange CALs.  These are interactive licenses so as stated above and along with leew, it depends on your systems vs users.  you have 30 users but have 10 systems (3 shifts) it would be cheaper for you to CAL by system vs user.  Now if each individual has a system of their own and its a 9-5 business style then per user would be the best.

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