Is using XP Unlimted legal?

This is a question I’ve been asked, and I’ve seen a multitude of opinions out there on the wild wild web.

Thus I thought I’d share my findings.

First of all, what is XP Unlimited?

XP Unlimited turns your Windows System into a full blown Terminal Server, without any limit. XP Unlimited gives you eXtra Productivity when using Microsoft Windows.

Source: http://www.xpunlimited.com/

It is meant to turn your XP machine into the equivilant of a terminal server machine without the expense of spending money on Terminal Server CALs (Client Access Licenses)

Thus the question, is this legal? is it legit?

The document on the Microsoft Site (MS Word format) found here:
http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/9/5/695ba00d-c790-4c90-813a-f10539d97991/Licensing%20Windows%20Server%202008%20Terminal%20Services.doc
(Full URL included for the sceptics).

Now this document is about Windows Server 2008, but it makes three points that I feel are important:

  1. Is this a change from Windows Server 2003 licensing? No.
  2. Do I need a TS CAL if I am using a third-party technology like Citrix XenApp, Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect, Quest Virtual Access Suite, GraphOn Go-Global, etc. to directly or indirectly access the server software to interact with the graphical user interface? Yes.
  3. Note: Windows® client operating system (OS) license terms do not permit multiple users to access or otherwise use more than one licensed copy of the software simultaneously.

I would put XP Unlimited into this same category as these products.

So if you were to use XP Unlimited on an XP Pro machine, I would feel that invokes the third point above, if you where to use XP Unlimited on a Server 2003 machine then you would still require TS CALs, so I wouldn’t need XP Unlimited.

What do you think?

(updated: added info on what XP Unlimted is)

How to: discover open files on Microsoft Server

So you’re working on a Microsoft Server machine, merrily getting stuff done, when you get a message saying that it can’t continue because files are open. Sound familiar? It happens to me often.

Here is how I find out which files are open and who has them open:

If you’re working on a Microsoft Server 2008,
Start | Administrative Tools | Share and Storage Management | Manage Open Files…

If you’re working on a Microsoft Server 2003,
Start | right click My Computer | Manage | Computer management (local) | System Tools | Shared Folders | Open Files

Makes it a great deal easier, now you know which file needs closing, and who you need ask to do it.

Hope that helps you. Anything you’ve found helpful? Let me know in the comments.

Resurrecting Terminal Server

A Terminal Server I was attempting to work on today gave quite a lot of grief. The first hint was that users were unable to login to it. When I then tried to login, it gave an error message of:
Login Failed
You are connected to the remote computer. Howerver, an error occured while an initial user program was starting, so you are being logged off. Contact the system administrator for assistance.

So I rebooted it remotely using the command shutdown /r /f /m \\TSERVER1 while having a continuous ping running, from the ping results I could see it go down, come back up. However on trying to login now, after entering a username/password I could see the logon script run, but no taskbar, start button appeared. Right clicking the desktop didn’t give any menu.

I could however navigate to the hard drive on that machine by pointing My Computer to \\tserver1\c$\.

Copying some of the tools at live.sysinternals.com I was able to view the event logs, no issues apparent, check status of various services, all ok.

So I connected via RDP once more (mstsc /v:tserver1 /console) and viewed the background (still no start button or taskbar) and pressed CTRL-ALT-END which allowed me to start the Task Manager. This allowed me to run a new task (File | New tas (run...)) so now I was able to copy the sysinternals autoruns program to the root of the C: partition, and run it from the affected terminal server. Running c:\windows\explorer.exe didn’t work tho.

Delving into it’s depths I found an entry for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\Explorer – renaming this entry then allowed Explorer to run. So I’ve exported the key (in case I do want it sometime) and then deleted it.

Rebooted the server once more and bingo, it lets everyone log in. Very satisfying after a couple of hours of mad hair tearing.