The remote session was disconnected because there are no Remote Desktop LIcense Servers

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Remote Desktop is one of things administrators use throughout their day. It’s very useful and greatly missed when it does not work.

A user reported he had lost access to a 2012 server running remote desktop services. The server pinged and I was able to get to the hidden share.  However, when I attempted a Remote Desktop Connection; I received:

The remote session was disconnected because there are no Remote Desktop License Servers available to provide a license.  Please contact the server administrator.

Most likely the Remote Desktop Service had been running in trial mode and the grace period had expired. This server was located in another building and I was not interested in driving over.

Many people don’t know or simply forget there is a command line ability for remote desktop. You can by pass the licensing problem and get access by running the following from the Run command:

mstsc /admin

This will disable licensing for the session.  Basically; you are accessing the server through administrative mode only.

For more command line information, you can look at this.

Server 2012 changed many things.  It changed the way you manage Remote Desktop Services. Previously, you would simply go to administrative tools and bring up the services manager or session host configuration.  Now, you only get RD Licensing Diagnoser.

I ran it and a message which caught my attention was about licensing not being configuration for either Device or User.  There were also messages about license servers not getting accessed but I was interested in the configuration used during setup. The problem was where to configure this?  Especially since, Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration no longer exists.

Server 2012 is an attempt to be more virtual and cloud like so the management tools are geared for that. If you simply want a server to run Remote Desktop Service and use your license servers, you may configure the needed options through the local computer policy.  Start the editor:


Work your way through:

Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Remote Desktop Services -> Remote Desktop Session Host -> Licensing

There you will find your two needed options:

Use the specified RD license servers

Set the Remote Desktop licensing mode

Enable them and enter your license server(s) and the user or device mode.

Close out and give the server a reboot and you should have access to the server.


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