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SBS 2003 Device Access

Posted on 2011-09-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have a client that has SBS 2K3 Std R2. For financial reasons, they can't upgrade. Regardless, 2K3 runs fine for them at the moment. Before I was hired as a consultant to help them with several things, this server was installed. And, although several accounts were created, 1 'general' one was created for a handful of users to use. We'll call this user "user1".
Question - I think 7 or 8 of the 11 PCs are logged into the domain with the "user1" account. Printers are installed on the SBS server so users can access the printers they have over the network. A couple users that have logged in with "user1" are getting 'Access Denied' message in the Printers window, instead of "Ready" as some of the other users are. Why is this, exactly? I just installed a CAL llcense that upgraded them from 5 (default) CALs to 10 total CALs, so I'm not sure what the issue could be (they have 8 users total). My only guess is that 1 user cannot access the server more than "x" amount (I assume 5 connections per user?). But, I'm not sure. I did create separate accounts for everyone and suggested they log in with their own account to see if that would resolve the printer connection issue. But, I wanted to see if my assumption on the error is correct. Anyone know why this happens? Any documentation that says how many simultaneous connections a user can have, and if that's exceeded, Client Access to devices will be 'denied'?

Thanks a bunch!
~coolsport00
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Question by:coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 36550277
If you users are using the same user name then legally you have to have device CAL's. I am not quite sure how the licensing warnings and restrictions would handle this though. Are there any notations of exceeding licensing limits in the Event viewer. If you have more than 10 users, or in this case devices you need more CAL's but SBS does have a 5 CAL "fudge factor" so you will not hit the restriction until the 16th user/device.

As for the printer might it be shared on a PC? PC's have a connection, not CAL, limit of 5 on home O/S versions, and 10 on professional/business O/S versions. This is why business printers should be network printers and shared from the server.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36550349
D'oh!...Event Viewer! Why didn't I look there?! Ugh. Anyway, this happened a couple wks ago and, due to travel, I hadn't been able to really re-address this with them. Looking into this is more of a 'favor' I'm doing for them. So, I won't go too deep in a definite resolution here.

So, you're saying that I have to have device CALs if I have..say...more than 5 devices that user's access? I don't think there's more printers than 5. But, if I got this correct, whatever CALs I have, they have to be either user or device, not both? I think I remember looking that up a few weeks back. Maybe it was even you that helped me Rob. This is still the same client. Hahaah (I inquired on how to install CALs on SBS 2K3 :) ). The printer is indeed on the server, not a workstation. That was actually my initial thought.

I'm pretty much done with this client, but wanted to try to provide an answer for this issue to them, if possible.

Thanks again!
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Rob Williams earned 500 total points
ID: 36550444
Sorry but I think I have put you on the wrong track, or not explained properly.

For anybody to connect to a server resource they must have a user CAL (Client Access License), or the device (PC) from which they are connecting must have a device CAL. The more common method is to use user CAL's.
User CAL's allow a single user to connect from multiple devices such as their desktop, laptop, or phone.
A device CAL is more common in a situations like a call center where shift workers use the same computer. Thus you could have 3 users, 1 PC, and only need 1 Device CAL.

To have multiple users using the same username and user CAL is a licensing violation in that you are trying to thwart the licensing controls. I am not suggesting you are doing this intentionally. However, I don't think that is your problem as I don't think licensing will pick that up. My suggestion was in that situation, which I really don't recomend, you could stay within licensing regulations if you used device CAL's. I see no savings in doing so and it is much more beneficial for each user to have their own logon name.

There is another limit, totally unrelated to CAL's, and that is connection limits. Servers do not have these limits but PC's do. PC's are limited as to how many users can connect to a particular PC to access its resources such as a shared printer. If you have a printer connected to a PC and shared, rather than it being a network printer, connection limits come into play. A PC running a home O/S will only allow 5 connections, and a professional O/S will allow 10 connections. To add to that it is possible for a user to register as more than one connection so you may not get an actual 5 or 10 users being able to connect.

I would check the server event viewer for licensing errors, but if it is a printer shared on a PC I expect the problem is the latter issue.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36550565
Ok, well again, the 'IT Guy' who set them I believe was indeed trying to circumvent licensing issues and thus the reason why he created them this 1 user account. I changed that (thankfully).

I am sure the printer is on the server (I did check that), but think there's some 'rights' issue of some sort going on. If they're able to get the finances to continue utilizing my services, I'll look into it further for them.

Thanks much Rob...have a good weekend!

~coolsport00
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 36550964
Thanks very much coolsport00 . Good luck with it, and enjoy your weekend as well.
Cheers!
--Rob
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