Establishing preferred Windows 2000 Terminal Services license server

This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.


To select a specific license server for use with various Microsoft Windows 2000 Terminal Services servers in a domain or site, you can modify the registry to point to a particular license server. You can do this to specify that all Terminal Services servers work with a particular license server for accounting purposes, or if a Terminal Services server and the license server reside in different domains. Microsoft recommends that you use the DefaultLicenseServer registry value to minimize issues with the Terminal Server licensing discovery process.

More Information

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

To select a specific license server, locate the following key in the registry:

Add the following value:

Name: DefaultLicenseServer
Data type: REG_SZ
Data value: ServerName
Substitute the NetBIOS name of the appropriate license server for ServerName. If the license server is located on a remote subnet, make sure the Terminal Services-based computer can resolve the NetBIOS name.
Selecting a specific license server enables administrators to select a license server at a site and have Terminal Services servers from various domains located at the same site. This enables the Terminal Services servers to use one license server, instead of requiring a local license server for each domain. Currently, Terminal Services servers work with license servers in their own domain, which may force them to use wide area network (WAN) links to find a license server, even if there is a license server from another domain located at the same site. The method described above enables the crossing of domains for license tracking and accounting.

Note Specifying the DefaultLicenseServer registry value adds one additional step to the typical discovery process. Even if the DefaultLicenseServer registry value points to a valid License Server, the typical discovery process still occurs. If it is unsuccessful, an error is logged.

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 uses a different registry value to specify a license server.

For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

279561 How to override the license server discovery process in Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services


Article ID: 239107 - Last Review: Dec 16, 2009 - Revision: 1