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Remote Desktop Service (RDS) CALs

For Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, there is no difference between a Terminal Services CAL and a Remote Desktop Services CAL—a Windows Server 2008 TS-CAL can be activated on a Windows Server 2008 R2 RDS License Server, and a Windows Server 2008 R2 RDS CAL can be activated on a Windows Server 2008 TS License Server.


The following types of RDS Server Client Access Licenses are available:

  • RDS Device CALs- permits one device (used by any user) to use Remote Desktop Services functionality on any of your servers
  • RDS User CALs- Permits on user (using any device) to use Remote Desktop Services functionality on any of your servers
  • RDS External Connector- Permits multiple external users to access a single Remote Desktop server. If you have multiple servers, you need multiple external connectors in addition to any required Windows Server External Connectors.

You may choose to combine RDS Device CALs and RDS User CALs simultaneously with the server software.

An RDS CAL is required for any technology used to directly, or indirectly, interact with the GUI. An RDS CAL is also required to use and functionality included in the Remote Desktop Services role in Windows Server.

For Windows Server 2012 a RDS CAL is required.


If you need to learn how to downgrade or move a RDS CAL see our white paper

Labels: Coffee Coaching
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