Server 2016 Standard CALs

Hello,

      First deployment of a MS Server 2016 Standard. The client purchased 3 "Windows Server 2016 CAL 5 Device" with their server. I tried like crazy to locate the licensing manager or even add the role but I am not able to determine if these are pre-installed in some manner or if they are needing to be entered like previously. These are NOT RDP CALs, just users.

       If pre-installed, the system had to be formatted because a Windows Update error-ed out and jacked up the OS so they clean installed the OS prior to having me set up the Hyper-V, etc. Did the reformat wipe the licenses or is there some way for me to check?

      Lastly, if I have to install them somehow, they should still be on the Host since that is the DC and the VM is file sharing right?

Thanks!
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James BunchSystems EngineerAsked:
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Windows does not track CALs. They aren't installed. Haven't been for a long time.  RDS still does  but that's a different matter.
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James BunchSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
@Cliff If that is the case then why was the client quoted and purchased these 15 CALs from the vendor. Even the stickers on the CAL pack don't have serials like the ones in the past did, just some bar-coded numbering sequence. I mean when adding up the potential users that could be on the server at any given time it would equal to about 15, so its pretty much calculated by someone that sent the packs to us.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
You still *need* CALs. I didn't say you didn't.  I said you don't  *INSTALL* CALs.  So when you call a vendor and they ask how many users or devices, that's how many CALs you need.  Licensing CALs has been on the "honor system" for nearly two decades, though Microsoft does have the right to do an audit to ensure compliance.  But there is no technical tracking system built into windows.   SBS 2003 was the last version of Windows I ever saw that required installing and activating OS CALs.
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James BunchSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
Also, the following link on their site says that they are CAL based, but no documentation on how to add them correctly.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/product-licensing/windows-server-2016.aspx
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James BunchSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
I was replying before I seen your second one. Well that can make some sense then and I can have the consumer hold onto them for record keeping. It just seems like a really awkward system to have. Hope its working until it isn't lol.

Thanks
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Hemil AquinoNetwork EngineerCommented:
Hi, I see a lots of people getting confuse about Windows license CALs.

This is what is. Windows license CALs are just a list of license that tells Microsoft you bought a certain amount of user license for the company, basically like a proof.

If you have 100 users and you only have 50 CALs doesn't means windows is not going to work. What it mean is if for some reason you fired some employee as an example and the employee wants to play dirty he can file a report saying that your company are working with unlicensed products.

You will be receiving a letter saying that you need to show proof of all your license with the total amount of users and whatnot. If you ignore the letter they could proceed with legal action towards you.

Or if you don't provide the necessary documentation, they might send an auditor to your company and run some app in your system to detect what type of software you are running unlicensed.

Trust me, you don't want an auditor in your company. If they find anything you might be paying lots of thousand dollars in theory more than 150,000.

I hope this helps,
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James BunchSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys. @Hemil always coming through with that precise explanation.
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