Can Windows Server 2016 Essentials be accessed by remote desktop?

Remko Drent
Remko Drent used Ask the Experts™
I currently use Windows home server 2011 and I mainly like the backup part of it. It can really make a perfect backup of all clients in the network. Since it's time for a new server by now and I'd like to keep the same type of backup, I've been looking around. Server 2016 Essentials can do the same trick. Server 2016 normal can't. Makes choosing easy :)
However: It seems that I would need a special RDS CAL license package to access the server with remote desktop. Is this true? Even if I log in with administrator?
No other users would really need this.

Kind regards,
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Distinguished Expert 2018

If you are logging in only for admin purposes then you don't need an RDS CAL. If you plan on installing an app and using the server to access it remotely  essentials cannot be a remote desktop server and any other windows server you stand up would need RDS CALs. This isn't new or unique to 2016.
Top Expert 2012
By default you can access 2 concurrent remote sessions and one console sessions without CALS if you need more concurrent sessions then you need CAL's
Tom CieslikIT Engineer
Distinguished Expert 2017
I do have Windows 2012 Essentials in one of my client site and I have no problem to access server by RDP from 2 different locations.
So Yes I think there is no difference in Server 2016 Essentials since RDP is not restricted for access without RDS Cals up to 2 connections.


Thx guys, I guess I'll go really buy this and see how it works out for me.

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