Setup RD Licensing Role on Windows Server 2012 R2

Once you have an Remote Desktop Services [RDS] environment setup and want to continue using it past the 120 day trial period you will need to setup the RD Licensing role. This blog post will document how to setup the role, activate the license server with Microsoft, add a license key, then configure RDS with the license.

Remote Desktop Serivces - Licensing Role
RDS Architecture


vBoring Blog Series:

  1. Setup Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012 R2
  2. Setup RD Licensing Role on Windows Server 2012 R2
  3. Setup RD Gateway Role on Windows Server 2012 R2

Installing the Remote Desktop Licensing Role:

First the licensing role needs to be installed. On your license server go to Manage -> Add Roles and Features

1 License Server - Add Feature and Role

Click Next

2 License Server - Before youu Begin

Select Role-base or feature-based installation and click Next

3 License Server - Installation Type

Select the license server from the server pool. Click Next

4 License Server - Server Selectio

Scroll down and select Remote Desktop Services then click Next

5 License Server - Server Roles

Click Next without selecting a Feature

6 License Server - Features

Click Next 

7 License Server - Remote Desktop Services

Select the Remote Desktop Licensing role

8-1 License Server - Role Services

Click Add Features on the pop up

8-2 License Server - Confirm Selection

Click Next

8-3 License Server - Finish Role Services

Select the Restart the destination server automatically if required then click Install

9 License Server - Confirmation

Once finished click Close.

10 License Server - Results

Activate Licensing Server:

Now the RD Licensing role is installed we need to activate it with Microsoft. To do this we need to launch the Remote Desktop Licensing Manager.

Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Remote Desktop Services-> Remote Desktop Licensing Manager

11 License Server - Open Remote Desktop Licensing Manager

Right click your server name then click Activate Server

12 License Server - Activate Server

Click Next

13 License Server - Activate Server Wizard

If your computer is connected to the internet leave it on Automatic connection and click Next

14 License Server - Connection Method

Enter your information and click Next

15 License Server - Company Information

[Optional] Enter additional information and click Next

16 License Server - Additional Company Information

Check the box to Start Install Licenses Wizard now then click Next

17 License Server - Wizard Complete

Install Licenses:

If you did not start the Install Licenses Wizard in the previous step it can be access by right clicking your server name in the RD Licensing Manager then click Install Licenses

Click Next

18 License Server - Install License Wizard

Pick the type of license you want to install. I am installing a retail RDS Server 2012 license. Click Next

19 License Server - License Program

Enter your license click then click Add. It should populate the License Codes Entered section if the license key was correct. Click Next

21 License Server - Enter License Code

Click Finish to complete the license install.

20 License Server - Completed License Install

The license key you just added will show

22 License Server - License Key Installed

Add license server to Activate Directory:

We can fix the yellow splat next to your license server name. Click on All servers then click Review

23 License Server - Configuration Review

Since installing the license server we never moved it to the Terminal Server License Servers group in Active Directory. Click the Add to Group button for this to happen.

24 License Server - Add to Group

It will give you a pop up confirming the add. Click Ok

25 License Server - AD Group Confirmation

Now you should see all green. Click Ok

26 License Server - Finish

Configuration should now show green with a green check beside your server name.

27 License Server - All Green

To confirm the license server is added to the AD group you can check the computer account or the actual Terminal Server License Servers group.

28 License Server - Server added to group

Add License Server to your RDS Environment:

From one of your RDS servers open Server Manager. If the license server is on a different server you must first add it to the server pool by going to Manage -> Add Servers

9 Remote Desktop Service - RDS Overview - Add Server

Enter the name of your license server -> Click Find Now -> Select the server -> Click the right Arrow -> Click Ok

10 Remote Desktop Service - Add Server

Now the license server is added to the server pool, Click Remote Desktop Services ->RD Licensing

11 Remote Desktop Service - RD Licensing

Select the server you added above -> click the Arrow button -> then click Next

12 Remote Desktop Service - Server Selection

Click Add

13 Remote Desktop Service - Confirm Add

Once finished click Close

14 Remote Desktop Service - Results

RD Licensing now has an icon!

15 Remote Desktop Service - RDS Overview - License Server Installed

An easy way to validate your RDS license is to open the RD Licensing Diagnoser. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Remote Desktop Services -> RD Licensing Diagnoser.

RD Licensing 1 - Launch Diagnoser

You can now see the number of licenses installed and available.

RD Licensing 2 - Launch Diagnoser RD Licensing 3 - Launch Diagnoser

You should now have a licensed RDS environment!

Continue reading – Part 3: Setup RD Gateway Role on Windows Server 2012 R2

7 thoughts on “Setup RD Licensing Role on Windows Server 2012 R2

  1. Can the licensing server be the same as the RDS Server that you set up in part 1 or does it have to be a different machine? If it has to be different can I use my DC as the licensing server?

  2. Hello.
    If I have an RDS server with the licencing server on it and I want to add another RDS server to the same domain, is it simply a process of adding the existing licence server on the new RDS server to get the licences?
    Thanks.

  3. Hi ,

    I am doing a POC , I have an existing licensed RDS TS farm with a Load balancer (LB)
    I will be adding another TS farm with another LB . The new TS is temporary and wanted to know if I can use the the free trial period on the existing TS and then add the same servers to the exiting RDS farm at a later stage .

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