Thursday, 13 September 2007

SBS - Lost CAL recovery or reset CAL count to 5

Chris Knight mentions a situation where his SBS server had its CAL count reset to 5: Small Business Server 2003 - The Dreaded 5 CAL Reset Issue.

The following KB refers to the methodology to recover your CALs if they were somehow lost as was the case in Chris' case:

Microsoft KB 888818: The number of client access licenses may be reset to five in Windows Small Business Server 2003.

If none of the methods in the KB article can work for you, then there is a fall back: The backup licensing file that is created by SBS.

To recover your CALs via this file:
  1. Stop the License Logging Service.
  2. Rename the existing to
  3. Copy the to %Windir%\System32
  4. Rename the to
  5. Restart the License Logging Service.
One only has to verify that the existing licenses are back by opening Licensing in the Server Management Console.

There is another good use for this information: For one who has setup the server, and installed the CALs as the wrong type. Indicated Device CALs instead of User CALs or vice versa?

Stop the License Logging Service, rename both and, restart the License Logging Service, and open the Licensing in the Server Management Console.

You will get a 1016 error in the event viewer when the service cannot find the license file, but it will create a new one back at the default of 5.

When you go to reenter your CALs as the correct type, keep in mind that the online method of registration may not work. You may need to call into Microsoft to register the CALs.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.


Anonymous said...

Great tip.. Just a new customer call with this issue and they weren't backed up.

I've found that the CAL's tend to disappear when the drive space on C gets low.

Anonymous said...

This Works!! Thanks you saved my job.. My Backups were Corrupt and this saved the day.

Anonymous said...

whew.. this just saved the day!

Rudy @ Tekworks said...

Thank you!!!

We had the same issue of the OS drive filling up.

If you were local to Vancouver BC, we would be buying you a TON of drinks ;-)

Anonymous said...

This is what I was looking for! None of the other solutions were an option.

Roland Hall said...

I imaged my server and put it on new hardware so MSFT wants me to put the codes back in to add the licenses through a license transfer, so this will not work for me. That seems a little excessive.

Zeeshan Murtaza malik said...

Thanks Philips,
I also retrieve the CALS.

Anonymous said...

Excellent Tip. Just had this issue due to low space, on a customers machine. A great 5 minute instant fix.

Anonymous said...

Excellent !!!! Still works in Aug 2011. Customer lost CALS due to low disk space & no CALs backup. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much ! You saved my life :D

PridePC said...

OMG spot on, thanks a bunch. Saved my bacon with a client this morning ;-)

Steve said...

Thanks for a well written help that actually works!!

Now I can leave and have a beer :D

Anonymous said...

Absolute life saver! Didn't think anyone could help with a 2003 SBS server...keys were lost and license had reverted back to 5 cals. Worked perfectly!! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Saved my day.