Thursday, September 07, 2006

Small Business Server 2003 - The Dreaded 5 CAL Reset Issue

A runaway process on SBS2003 decided to fill up all the disk space on C: in the early hours of the morning. The fallout from this was the System log was corrupt and the SBS license data was reset to the default 5 CALs.
The System log was easy to fix - reboot the server.
The SBS license data was an absolute pain. I'd never run the "Back up licenses" utility in the Licensing section of Server Management. Microsoft have KB article 888818 discussing this, which is either re-enter the licenses, restore the C:\WINDOWS folder or restore a backup of the licenses.
The first wasn't an option as I was offsite and the person with the key to the safe wasn't in. The second was just not viable - why Microsoft couldn't specify which file/folder needed restoring I don't know. The third would have been OK if ever I had run it.
After much stuffing about I found that the SBS2003 licenses are kept in the licstr.cpa file in the WINDOWS\system32 folder. Thankfully, Microsoft actually keep an automatic backup of this in autolicstr.cpa. The simple process was to stop the License Logging Service, rename licstr.cpa to licstr.cpa.old, then copy autolicstr.cpa to licstr.cpa. After this I started License Logging Service and used Server Management to confirm that the licenses had been restored.

235 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Works like a champ. 2003 SBS decided to dump it's licenses. Followed these instructions, and the license came right back.

Very much appreciate the info.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I had this happen to 2 different customer's networks in 2 days. haven't been able to find a cause but saved our customer's big time.


net stop LicenseService
cd c:\windows\system32
rename licstr.cpa licstr.cpa.old
copy autolicstr.cpa licstr.cpa
net start licenseService

Anonymous said...

Save my day. Thank you!

farmboy said...

Yet another save from this blog post.

Thanks!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Amazing !!! Thank You
If everyone keeps on sharing knowledge like the world would be a better place.

Thanks Again

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. Restarting the License Logging service fixed it. It saved me from restarting the server.

Thanks again from Albuquerque

Mark Anderson said...

This was a gift of Mana from heaven!
Full c: drive dropped the licenses and last licensing backup was before I added 20 licenses. Now I'm livin' the good life again!

Binh Tang said...

Thanks for posting this. That saved me a lot of work!!! One of my clients just had this exact same problem and after following your post, they're back to 15 licenses now :) Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Finding this just saved me a half days work. Thank you sir!

Anonymous said...

Another big THANKS!

In my case some log-files went mad and with only 1-2 GB systemspace left, the CAL licenses dropped to the standard 5. Searching the original certificates turned out to be a herculean task: About two cubic meters of manuals and licences waiting to be sorted out, while more and more employees and the boss were kicked out of the domain.

I followed you advice and the system was back up in no time.

Unknown said...

Let me add my voice to the choir. LIFESAVER!

Thanks a million.

Anonymous said...

Thank you soooo much!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks!!! Fixed my problem.

Eddie said...

I'll add another thank you to the list!
it got me back working when nothing else was possible.
but i have found the license keep randomly removing them selfs

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU!!!

Most simple solution to the most infuriating problem. Spent three days working on this and called our external support. NO answers til your blog.

YOU ROCK!

Anonymous said...

Another +1 thanks for posting this.

fishingwithgreedo said...

Thanks so much for posting this, been trying to figure out all day what the heck was going on..really a life saver.

Anonymous said...

thanks, a sbs 2003 server had this issue but your fix resolved without the need to restore the Windows folder from a backup!

Brian Milnes (Cambridge, UK) said...

This is still relevant today - thanks for posting - I've finally got this sorted after a nightmare morning...

Anonymous said...

You saved my day. Thanks for the post

Massimiliano Anziutti said...

December 2013, still same problem.
Thank you for the fix, worked like a charm!

Anonymous said...

I love you. I love you so very much. You rock!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a bunch! Saved my day, and it's so simple...MS could really update their KB with your info.

taram said...

Hey, thanks so much for this post. Saved me a load of time and stress.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much
This is useful...

Anonymous said...

After all this years, this helped me out.
Thank You
Juergen

Anonymous said...

Awesome tip, thank you!

Lieuwe Rekker said...

Hi, I am so thankful that you put this on the internet. It was a great help!!!! THANK YOU!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot! We encountered a same problem and afther trying this solution (copy - rename), we got our max licences back! Thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

8 years later and this is still relevant. Thank you for this!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! thank you! I'm naming my next kid after you.

Anonymous said...

Still valuable even today...

Nice easy fix... worked like a charm!

t1ggy said...

You fixed it for me! Thanks a lot

Anonymous said...

You saved my life. Thanks a lot
np

Anonymous said...

Still saving lives! thank you.

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