License Remote Desktop session hosts
Applies to: Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016
You can use the information in this article to configure licensing for session hosts on your Remote Desktop Services (RDS) deployments. The process will be slightly different depending on which roles you've assigned to the session host you're licensing.
In order to install licenses for your session hosts, you'll need a Remote Desktop license server with per-user or per-device client access licenses (CALs) activated.
Configure licensing for an RDS deployment that includes the RD Connection Broker role
If you need to license session hosts where your RDS deployment doesn't include the connection broker role, you'll need to specify a license server by using group policy either centrally from your Active Directory domain or locally on each session host. You'll also need to do specify a license server when using Windows Server with Azure Virtual Desktop.
To specify a license server:
On the RD Connection Broker computer, open Server Manager.
In Server Manager, select Remote Desktop Services > Overview > Edit Deployment Properties > RD Licensing.
Select the Remote Desktop licensing mode (either Per User or Per Device, as appropriate for your deployment).
If you use domain-joined servers for your RDS deployment, you can use both Per User and Per Device CALs. If you use workgroup servers for your RDS deployment, you have to use Per Device CALs In that case, Per User CALs are not permitted.
Specify a license server, and then select Add.
Configure licensing for an RDS deployment that includes only the RD Session Host role and the RD Licensing role
Depending on whether you want to configure Group Policy centrally from your domain or locally on each session host:
Open the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) and create or edit a policy that targets your session hosts.
Open the Local Group Policy Editor on the session host.
Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Licensing.
In the policy list, right-click Use the specified Remote Desktop license servers, and then select Properties.
Select Enabled, and then enter the name of the license server under License servers to use. If you have more than one license server, use commas to separate their names.
In the policy list, right-click Set the Remote Desktop licensing mode, and then select Properties.
Under Specify the licensing mode for the Remote Desktop Session Host server, select Per Device or Per User, as appropriate for your deployment.
Learn how to create reports to track RDS per-user CALs issued by a Remote Desktop license server at Track your Remote Desktop Services client access licenses (RDS CALs).