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Microsoft CALs for home use

Posted on 2014-01-07
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Last Modified: 2014-01-09
I am looking to spin up a Remote Desktop Services server in my home lab (Non-Business related) and I have never purchased CALs before. To my understanding I need to purchase a minimum of 5. What I am unsure of is which type of CAL do I need? I'm looking at Open Licensing but it looks like I have to fit a certain profile. I also saw this one: Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services - License - 1 user CAL - MOLP: Open Business - Win - Single Language, but I am not sure that I fit. Also, do I need to purchase a new CAL every year or once I install it is it permanent?
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Question by:AustinArbz
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Lee W, MVP earned 2000 total points
ID: 39764150
If it's a lab, you don't need to buy CALs - you can run trials for 6 months (though the RDS trial only survives 4 months) using the downloadable  trials.

You can also just leave it in Remote Administration mode (default) which can allow up to two simultaneous connections (a little config adjustment can be required), though this is really intended for administration purposes of the server.

Generally, you need to open an Open License agreement by purchasing at least 5 copies of a single SKU EXCEPT for server SKUs which you can do with just one.  Once you have an Agreement, you can add to that agreement single licenses (less than 5 packs).

MOST CALs are ONE TIME purchases (permanent) and should be valid for that product level AND OLDER - meaning if you buy a 2012 RDS CAL, it's valid for use with 2012 (including R2), 2008, 2003, 2000 servers but NOT 2016 servers (assuming that's what Microsoft calls the next version of Server).
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