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Remote Desktop Services license key activation

Remote Desktop Services (RDS) are ordered like any other server subscription however the license key activation is different hence this section below.

  • Remote Desktop Service (RDS) CALs require Windows Server 2016 or above.  
    Server 2016 CALs will work on both a Windows Server 2016 and 2019 install but Server 2019 CALs will only work on a Windows Server 2019 install. 
    Once installed the RDS license server must be activated against *Clearing House. 
    Once activated follow the steps below to install the 5×5 RDS CAL.
  • Once a 5×5 code is used it cannot used again on any other license server including the same license server.

*Clearing House is the RDS Licenses activation site hosted at clearinghouse.one.microsoft.com.

Step1:  Launch Licmgr.exe from the Server where RDLS role is installed.

Step 2:  Select the machine name from left tree view control.  Right click on the server name then select Install Licenses.

Step 3:  Click Next.

Step 4:  From the License Program drop down list, select the option for Retail CAL installation denoted as License Pack (Retail Purchase).  Click Next.

Step 5:  Enter the 5×5 Retail code in the License Code input boxes and then click Add
Repeat this for all retail codes that need to be installed on the box.  Once all retails codes are added click Next.

Note: The retail CAL’s are first partially validated before sending the request to Clearing House, failure to pass validation will result in an error message.

Step 6:  After clicking Next in the above step the retail codes are sent to Clearing House where they are validated further, this should only take a few seconds when in “automatic internet connection” mode. 
If the retail codes are valid, customer will see a message for successful installation and can click Finish to complete the process.
 If not, the user will see a message with errors listed. 
Examples of both types are listed below.

Example of successful installation message:

Example of an error message where a 5×5 code was entered that has already been used.

Updated on 14. september 2020

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