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Q10250 - INFO: Terminal Server Licensing Requirements for Windows 2003 Terminal Server

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Prior to Windows Server 2003, client workstations that ran Windows NT, 2000, or XP Professional had the right to obtain a “free” TS CAL. The only requirement was to purchase a TS CAL for client devices that ran an operating system lower than the Terminal Server operating system. For example, Windows 2000 Professional workstations did not require purchase of a TS CAL to connect to a Windows 2000 Terminal Server since Windows 2000 client devices had the right to obtain a free Windows 2000 TS CAL. Also, since these licenses were backwards compatible, the Windows 2000 TS CAL would also apply if you were using a Windows XP Professional client to connect to a Windows 2000 Terminal Server.

Since Windows XP was released over a year before Windows Server 2003, many people bought Windows XP Professional with the assumption that it would include a “free” Windows Server 2003 TS CAL. However, with the release of Windows 2003, Microsoft removed the “free” TS CAL license that was built-in to Windows XP Professional. Unfortunately, this announcement came well after many organizations bought multiple copies of Windows XP assuming that its free TS CAL would work with Windows 2003 Terminal Servers.

Negative response to this announcement prompted Microsoft grant a free Windows 2003 TS CAL  to anyone who owned a Windows XP Professional license on April 23, 2003 (the day before the release of Windows Server 2003.Does your copy of Windows XP come with a free Windows Server 2003 TS CAL? If you bought it before April 24, 2003, then it does. If you bought if after that it does not, and you’ll have to buy a Windows 2003 TS CAL. (If you had TS CALs that were enrolled in Microsoft Enterprise Agreements or Software Assurance, then you automatically qualified for the Windows 2003 TS CAL upgrade.)


Ron Oglesby
Brian Madden

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Created on 2/24/2006 3:00 PM.
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