How to Join a 2012 R2 RDS Session Host running workgroup to a 2012 R2 License Server (also on workgroup)

So this is a major PITA. Microsoft, along with their decision to ditch tsadmin.msc from 2012 R2 (was last seen in 2008 R2), decided that Active Directory is a “pre-requisite” to RDS and that the licensing portion of RDS will only show up in the server manager if the RDS configuration is in fact joined to a valid domain…

Step 1 – Install RDS Rolls onto the server

There are other tutorials around for installing without implementing an Active Directory.

Step 2 – ensure you can resolve the FQDN of the license server you have running in workgroup mode on your network.

If you cannot then modify the hosts file at C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts <- open that file with a notepad with administrator level and put in your license server name and ip address as shown in the examples. Save it. You should now be able to resolve the name, test using a ping…

Step 3 – Ensure you enter some credentials for connecting to the licensing server

So that the server will be able to connect to the license server without requiring credential you need to enter them using the cmdkey command in an administrator level cmd prompt.
cmdkey /add:SERVERNAME /user:Administrator /pass:password
This should them say
CMDKEY: Credentials added successfully.

Step 4 – Open a PowerShell window on the RDS server and set the RDS Mode, Per Device OR Per User.

Per User is value 4, Per Device is value 2. See below for the commands

PS C:\Users\Administrator> $obj = gwmi -namespace “Root/CIMV2/TerminalServices”Win32_TerminalServiceSetting
PS C:\Users\Administrator> $obj.ChangeMode(4)

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.38.26 pm







Step 5 – Connect to the licensing Server.

For this we use the Group Policy Editor! use run and type gpedit.msc

Navigate to-> Local Computer Policy\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Licensing\
Double Click on “Use the specified Remote Desktop license servers“. Enable this and enter the License servers to use in the Options area. See below



















Step 6 – Check the configuration using RD Licensing Diagnoser. My need a restart first….

As you can see the system is now connected to the workgroup based license server with 25 available user cals and no complaints. :)







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