Migrating a Windows Server 2003 TS License Server

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This article is designed to help those who want to migrate their Windows Server 2003 TS License Server from one machine to another. We recommend that you read through the instructions once before beginning the migration.

License Server migration is an added feature in Windows Server 2008 R2. In Windows Server 2008 R2, when you right-click on the server name you will see the ‘Manage RDS CALs’ option. After selecting this, you will see the ‘Manage RDS CALs Wizard’ to guide you through the migration process. But to migrate Windows Server 2008 license server, you need to follow the same steps as mentioned in the post.

The migration of your license server requires three stages. First, you must activate the new license server. Next, you need to deactivate the old server. Lastly, you need to move all the licenses from the old server to the new server. To do this, you will need to contact Microsoft Clearinghouse over the telephone. You should to be prepared with the paperwork for the original TS licenses, as this data needs to be provided to clearinghouse personnel. If the original paperwork is lost, then you need to contact your Microsoft TAM (Technical Account Manager) to obtain copies.

To migrate your license server:

Step 1: Activate the new license server:


  1. Setup a machine running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 as a license server. [UPDATE: Corrected from Win2003 to Win2008/Win2008R2]
  2. Open the TS License Manager tool (licmgr.exe)
  3. Activate the server by right-clicking on the server name under the ‘All servers’ node in the left pane and selecting ‘Activate Server’. The Activate Server Wizard will open.
  4. Click Next. Select ‘Telephone’ as your connection method and click Next.
  5. On the ‘Country or Region Selection’ page, select your appropriate country and region.
  6. The next page will provide you with the License Server ID and the Microsoft Clearinghouse telephone number to call. Write them on a piece of paper but don’t make the call yet. You may want to keep the wizard open.

Step 2: De-activate the old license server:

  1. Open the TS License Manager tool on your old license server.
  2. Change the connection method to telephone by right-clicking the server name under the ‘All servers’ node in the left pane, selecting ‘Properties,’ and setting the connection method to ‘Telephone’.
  3. Again right-click the server name under the ‘All servers’ node in the left pane, select ‘Advanced’ and then select ‘Deactivate Server.’ The License Server Deactivation Wizard will open. Click ‘Next’.
  4. On the ‘License Server Deactivation�� page, you will be provided with the same clearinghouse phone number and the License Server ID of your old server. Make a note of this License Server ID as you need to provide this to Microsoft Clearinghouse.
  5. Call Microsoft Clearinghouse at the number you have noted and give them the product ID of the new license server which you want to activate and of the old license server which you want to deactivate. Once you have given them this information, Microsoft Clearinghouse will provide you with the confirmation code. Enter this code into the License Server Deactivation Wizard when prompted.

Step 3: Move each of the license key packs one by one, from the older LS to the new one:

  1. On the same call with the clearinghouse, inform them that you also want to migrate the licenses.
  2. Open the License Install Wizard on the new license server.
  3. Provide the following information to the clearinghouse which they will use to generate the new License Key Pack ID:
    1. The license server ID of the old license server
    2. Paper work for the original TS licenses
  4. Enter the new license key pack ID in the Install License Wizard and complete the License Installation on the new license server.
  5. Repeat the same process for migration of all license key packs.
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  • Hi there,

    Is that possbile to uninstall / remove the TS CALs that are already installed on TS licensing server?  Both TS CAL and icensing server are Windows 2008.


  • Yes,

    You can either contact Clearinghouse for the same or use APIs:

       uint32 UninstallLicenseKeyPack( [in] uint32 ProductVersion,

                                       [in] uint32 ProductType,

                                       [in] uint32 LicenseCount);                                

       uint32 RemoveLicensesWithIdCount( [in] uint32 KeyPackId,

                                         [in] uint32 LicenseCount);

    Hope that helps!


  • Does this migration apply to windows server 2000 to windows server 2003. Is there anything to watch out for since they are not the same OS.

  • No, with all the pre-requisites mentioned in the post, just call the clearinghouse. They will guide you through the process.



  • Hi, as I had been reading, if you want to migrate the licenses from one server to another on, the OS should be the same, is that right?

    Right now I see at the "Terminal Services Licensing" console that we have unlimited licenses in the old server that has windows 2000 and I would like to move them to another server but it has windows 2003. Can I do that following the steps in this blog or I need to buy new licenses or what I should do?

    Thanks in advance,


  • Can you clarify what paperwork is being referred to in Step 3, #3b... "Paper work for the original TS licenses".

    I need to migrate our TS CALs, but the existing CALs were purchased before I joined the company and I haven't had luck tracking down any paperwork.

  • @Leizer: Yes you can follow the steps mentioned in the post to solve your issue.

    You need to buy the new CALs only in case if you are upgrading your terminal servers also. For accessing Windows Server 2003 terminal server you need Windows Server 2003 TS CALs.

    Else you are good to go:).

    Hope that helps!



  • @Graeme : Here paper work refers to all the details of the CAL Pack like agreement number, type of CAL Pack etc.



  • I can not locate the original TS Call paper work mentioned in step 3.b.

    I have installed a new Windows 2003 server that will also run licensing.  How do I migrate to TS Cals to this server?

    The older licensing server is still working but we want to migrate to to newer server.  

    Any help is appriciated.

  • Do you have the license key pack IDs of the installed licenses?



  • Hi,

    I'm confused. On step 1 #1, it says "setup the VM guest as a Windows 2003 TS license server".

    Should it be "Setup a Windows 2008 R2 as a license server?"

  • @Jessica: Yes, your right. It should be: "setup a machine running Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 as a license server".

    Thanks for pointing out. I will get that fixed.


  • i have a Win2K3 licensing server with 50 2K3 TS CALs installed.  We have purchased a Win2K8 server to replace the 2003.  Do i purchase new 2K8 CALs or do the steps above apply in this scenario?

  • If your plannig to replace you TS also with Windows Server 2008 then definately you need to buy Windows Server 2008 TS CALs.



  • Can a client with a 2008 TS device-CAL connect to a W2K3 TS server ?

    More precisely : If I have now 100 TSCALS for 2003 with software assurance, and I install a 2008 TS (RD) license server and I upgrade the 2003 TSCALs to 2008 TSCALs can my clients connect to both 2003 and 2008 Terminal Servers ? Or should I have now suddenly 200 Cals ? And within a year if all 2003 servers are phased out, again 100 CALS ?

    Kind regards,


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Migrating a Windows Server 2003 TS License Server