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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  • @ Damien: When you say "wondered if it were possible to migrate the existing setup onto r2", I hope you are asking about migrtaion of license server only. If so, then yes, you can do so.



  • Ok, new to TS and sitting at a client now,

    situation: we have

    1x w2k8sbs runnging AD, exch etc

    1x w2k8stnd running sql and TL (new system)

    1x w2k3 that users TS into (old system)

    1x w2k3 that is now running ISA

    We in the proccess of migrating users to a new system,

    our sql srvr (new sys)is taking strain with the TS login in so we want to move our users back to a w2k3 server for TS logins (also because we ran into problems with v.1 and v.2 Roaming profiles)

    The sql srvr is running the TL (w2k8 CALS)

    My understanding would be that we would have to downgrade the TS licenses to w2k3 and install the w2k3 srvr as the TL srvr?

    Then also will the sql srvr not kick the users trying to access the SQL-DB since the sql srvr wont have cals installed?

    all i need now is to downgrade, migrate and find they cant access the sql db! would just top this week off, lol!

  • Please consider contacting your Account Manager rather than you Technical Account Manager for information regarding licensing.

  • Hello blog!!!

    Here is my scenario...

    In my company we have one windows 2003 SP2 server which hosts Domain controller and TS licensing server roles and one windows 2003 SP1 server which is our Terminal server and is servicing 65 users.

    We bought new servers with windows 2008 R2 server and we will create a new domain decommissioning our windows 2003 DC . My question.. is it possible to keep the TS licensing role on our old server while changing the domain membership on our terminal server?  or should i follow the really helpful migration walk through mentioned above?

    Thank you in advance


  • Can WinRghtsMgmtSrvcsCAL 2008 SNGL OLP C UsrCAL connect to a server running Windows 2003 Server?

  • I have a win 2003 LS and 500 device cals. I wish to migrate to Win 2008R2 LS, will the existing device cals work with the new 2008 R2  LS along with any new 2008 Device cals i purchase in the future.

  • Yes, you can install WIn2k3 licenses on Win2k8 R2 license server. If you are upgrading your all the RDSH to Win2k8/Win2k8R2 then you dont need Win2k3 CALs, hence you will need to upgrade the licenses as well. But if you still have few Win2k3 RDSH in the environment, you are good to go.

    Hope that helps!


    Silvia Doomra

  • I need to test Windows 2003 TS clients on a WIndows 2008 r2 server.  I can't migrate my normal license as we're using it in production, how can I obtain test licenses for 180 days to test?

  • Tony, if you don't install a license server, there's a grace period of 120 days during which you don't need a CAL.


    After that, temporary licenses should tide you over for another 90 days.

  • Hi,

    I have a Win2000 TS CAL Server and a 2008 CAL TS Server. To migrate my 2003 CALS from the old to the new already running server I need to call the Clearinghouse. As far as I understand it I do need the new servers License ID. How can I obtain it because the server is already running 2008 CAL's so I don't think deactivation is the way.

    Thanks, apo

  • Great article, thanks very much.

    We obtained our 2003 TS CALs via the Transition Plan and our Campus Agreement (as per download.microsoft.com/.../ts_transition_1205.doc). As such I have no documentation that I can use when I have to contact the clearing house. Will the clearing house be able to look up this information or accept my word that our licences are genuine? We have 5000 2003 TS CALs that'll need transferring.

  • I have installed 2003 TS CALs on another memeber server for citrix  now we have upgrade our citrix server with OS windows 2008r2

    is it possible that we can use same 2003 TS CALs for windows 2008r2 also?

  • Great articel, hope you are still monitoring this page ... We have a W2K8 machine which we want to rebuild as W2K8 R2 for the extra features. However, it has to be the same name, and I can't see how we can have both machines up at the same time. Does the original server have to be on the network, or can we deactivate in isolation ?

  • Short version: just go to activate.microsoft.com and forget about this stupid blog post!

    I did the phone method and glad I wasn't in a hurry, after 20 minutes (half this time on hold because agent was busy) the F-wad  in Asia managed to get the confirmation code to deactivate, then proceeded to hang up on me.

    Next agent managed to complete the process but unfortunately the new server displayed a yellow triangle w/ exclamation mark and instead of a number of licenses in the available column there was a link "Generate report." The agent proceeded to transfer me to the main MS switchboard and hang up leaving me to explain the whole thing to some secretary (thankfully American). She transferred me to pre-sales licensing (thankfully also American) and got to explain the situation a second time. The Windows Server support team seems to be much higher quality and the Moin Shaikh there was very well spoken, intelligent, and understandable. In fact he told me about activate.microsoft.com which I am quite surprised is not mentioned in this blog post. If you go there you can migrate CALs and do anything else you need.

    What a waste of time from this blog post!!!!

  • Hi!

    We have 2008R2 Lic. Server, 10 2008TS per User CAL installed on 2008 LS. Why 2003R2 TS can't take licenses from 2008 LS? Thanks.

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Migrating a Windows Server 2003 TS License Server