This blog post will discuss Installing and Configuring a Remote Desktop License Server (RDS CALs) on Windows server 2016. We can also use the same steps if we have windows 2019 or 2012. The steps are almost identical on each windows server edition. There are no noticeable changes in the Steps we follow for any of these Windows Server Editions.

But before proceeding with the installation, we must have the RDS CALs license in our hand, and if we do not have it, we can buy it Here.
The Windows Server version must be a full version and activated, not an evaluation version, so if you need a license, buy it Here

►RDS CAL Version Compatibility

► Installing the Server Roles

Open “Server Manager” >> Click “Add Roles and Features.”

Click “Next” in the Before You Begin section.

Select “Role-based or Feature-based Installation” and click Next.

Choose the option “Select a server from the server pool”. Choose Our server from the Server pool and Click Next.

Scroll down and select “Remote Desktop Services”, then click Next

Click Next by Leaving Default Selection in Features Section.

Click Next on Remote Desktop Services Section.

Select the “Remote Desktop Licensing” and “Remote Desktop Session Host”

A Pop Up Window Will Appear. Click Add Features for Each of them

Click Next and select the “Restart the destination server automatically if required”, then click Install

The server will reboot automatically during the install process, and finally, we will get the below screen when the installation succeeds. Once finished, click Close.

► Install the Server Roles Using Powershell Command

We can also install the RDS Licensing service and “Remote Desktop Licensing” and “Remote Desktop Session Host” using PowerShell Commands instead of the above graphical Server Manager method. Below are the three commands we need to use.

1   Install-WindowsFeature  Name Remote-Desktop-Services  IncludeManagementTools
2   Install-WindowsFeature  Name RDS-Licensing  IncludeManagementTools
3   Install-WindowsFeature  Name RDS-RD-Server  -IncludeManagementTools

If needed (and possible), restart the server using Below PowerShell command after the server role install.

1  Restart-Computer -Force

After the server reboot, we can check if the “Remote Desktop Session Host”, RDS Licensing service and “Remote Desktop Licensing” is available using the Below Powershell command.

Get-WindowsFeature | where name -Like “rds*”
2  Get-WindowsFeature | where name -Like “remote*”

The command Output can view from the below screenshot. You will also get similar results when issues those commands.


► Activating the RDS License Server

  1. Open the Remote Desktop Licensing Manager: click Start > Administrative Tools > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Licensing Manager.
  2. Right-click the license server, and then click Activate Server.
  3. Click Next on the welcome page.
  4. For the connection method, select Automatic connection (recommended), and then click Next.
  5. Enter your company information (your name, the company name, geographic region), and then click Next.
  6. Optionally enter any other company information (for example, email and company addresses), and then click Next.
  7. Make sure that Start Install Licenses Wizard now is not selected (we’ll install the licenses in a later step), and then click Next.

Your license server is now ready to start issuing and managing licenses.

► Windows Server 2019 Users Only

If we are Implementing “RDS User CAL” in Windows Server 2019 servers, Setup either of the below things before Proceeding with the Install of Remote Desktop Service.

  1.  Add the new RDS CAL server to the Terminal Server License Servers domain group of existing Active Directory Domain
  2.  Install Active Directory Services ( ADDS) in the RDS CAL server.

Otherwise, we will get an error like the below screenshot while users log in and stay for 60 Min.

There is a problem with your Remote Desktop license, and your session will be disconnected in 60 minutes. Contact your system administrator to fix this problem.


The Requirement Also Described in Microsoft Page, Below is the particular section screenshot where it mentioned.

We only need to Activate Active Directory Services (ADDS) if we settings up an RDS User CAL on Windows Server 2019. Not necessary for RDS Device CAL implementation on a Windows server 2019.

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