"Cannot find a valid Terminal Services License Server" error on Windows Server 2008 When Logging On as Local Administrator


Symptoms


When you log on using the local administrator account to a server running Windows Server 2008 with the Terminal Services role installed, you may receive the following balloon message in the system tray:

Cannot find a valid Terminal Services License Server
Terminal Services will stop working if this computer does not connect to a valid Terminal Services license server within <X> days. Click this message to launch  the Terminal Services Configuration tool to specify a valid license server.

Cause


On a Windows Server 2008 server with the Terminal Services role installed the TlsWarning scheduled task is created under the following task path to launch the TLSBLN.EXE process.

\Task Scheduler Library\Microsoft\Windows\termsrv\licensing

When you logon using the local administrator account, the TLSBLN.EXE process tries to connect to a license server on the network. When it fails to find a license server, it generates a balloon message in the system tray.

By default, local administrators will not have the necessary permissions on the domain so the TLSBLN.EXE process fails to connect to any license server. A domain admin or domain user logging on to the same server will not receive the message since they will have the permissions to contact a license server if one is available.

Resolution


Follow the steps below and make sure that the given conditions are true in your scenario:

  • You have an activated Windows Server 2008 license server.
  • The Terminal Services Licensing service is running on the license server.
  • The license server is a member of the Terminal Services License Servers group in Active Directory.
  • Terminal servers are able to access your license server and the license server discovery process is working and you are able to open the Terminal Services Licensing snap-in from the terminal servers. If you are using Group Policy to publish the license servers, make sure that the Group Policy object (GPO) is being applied to the terminal servers.
  • Make sure there are enough client access licenses (CALs) available on the Windows Server 2008 license server and that those licenses are being issued to the clients.

You can safely ignore the message if all the above is true.

More Information


By default, after you log on as a local administrator to a terminal server, a message will appear in the lower-right corner of the desktop that notes the number of days until the licensing grace period for the terminal server expires.

For more information about Terminal Services Licensing, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

Overview of TS Licensing
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc732346(WS.10).aspx