Solutions Through IT

June 29, 2012

Microsoft CAL Licensing Explained (the Hilton “meatbag” Travis way)

Filed under: Administration, Exchange, Microsoft, SBS, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2 — solutionsthroughit @ 14:58

First and foremost, I’m attributing this solely and wholly to Hilton Travis, who coined this explanation many, many moons ago.  I’m re-writing/blogging it, because I can never seem to find it when I need it.  This may be somewhat paraphrased, and I’m sure any corrections will be pointed out by Hilton and applied to this article rapidly :),  Hilton’s original explanation referenced users as “bags of meat” and devices as “bags or wires and parts”.  I’m not going to do that, I’m just going to staple post-it notes onto computers and foreheads.

The easiest way to work out licensing is to imagine each license that you buy as a single post-it note.  You can purchase Yellow Post-it notes (User CALs) or Blue Post-it notes (Device CALs).  The rules for using the post-its or CAL’s are as follows:

  • If your post-it notes are colour-free, you must choose a colour for them.  This choice is not changeable once you have made it.  The included CALs with some products (typically OEM) are non-specific as to device or user.  You must choose to allocate them as device or user, and this choice must be retained. 
  • Each post it note must be stapled or (almost) permanently attached to it’s recipient. You can not pass post-it notes around from person to person or device to device.  You can transfer them if someone leaves or a device is replaced, but they can’t be used as a pool of licenses, or you can’t grab a post it as you walk in the door for your shift (This means no more concurrent licensing.  Microsoft haven’t had it for years, but people either still remember it, or understand that this method is more cost effective for them).
  • Yellow post-its can ONLY be stapled to a person.  With this post-it stapled to their forehead, the person can use 1 or 1,000 computers, devices, phones, widgets or interfaces to connect to the server or service that you have a CAL for.  These CAL’s are typically used where staff have multiple methods to access services.  In a SBS environment, you may access from your desktop, your home computer (OWA / RWW) and your mobile phone.  This is three device CAL’s or one user CAL.
  • Blue post-its can only be stapled onto a computer.  With this post-it, 1 or 1000 users may use the device to access the server/services.  This would be typically used in an office or call centre where multiple staff access the same computer, or where multiple shifts of staff work in the same area.  These staff will typically not access via mobile phone or remote computers.  This way you can have two or more users on a device or computer for one device CAL.
  • You can use Device or User CALs through your licensing, in any form or mixture that you require or desire (as long as you don’t exceed maximum licensing – e.g. SBS has a 75 user hard limit).

Disclaimer This article is provided for loose instruction and a way to get your head around the way Microsoft currently do their licensing.  The ONLY source for advise on Microsoft Licensing, is Microsoft.  Please contact them via their website or for Australians, 13 20 58.

Update – Hilton finally put it back up, mere minutes after I called him out – his post is available here (


August 12, 2011

Massive Memory Usage / Huge Database by AVG Admin Console

Filed under: Antivirus, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2 — solutionsthroughit @ 10:22

Had this issue on a number of machines, where AVG Admin will consume huge amounts of RAM and disk space.  One solution that I’ve found is as follows:

Dear customer,

Thank you for your email. The memory leak issue should have been resolved with the 3175 build.

Please open the AVG server Monitor from the icon on the task bar Click Stop Server

Please go to the following directory an delete the file named “avgdb.fdb”

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\AVG10\Admin Server Data

Once the file has been deleted please proceed as follows.

– Click “Start”
– Click “All programs”
– Click AVG2011 Remote Administration”
– Click “AVG Admin Server Deployment Wizard”
– Click “Next”
– Click “Next”
– Un-tick “Perform data centre database backup to folder” and click “Next”
– Select “Create new empty datacentre database” and click “Next”
– Click “Next”
– Make sure all boxes are un-ticked and click “Next”
– Click “Next”
– Click “Next”
– Click “Next”
– Click “Next”
– Click “Deploy”

There will be a new “avgdb.fdb” folder generated.
Please monitor this folder over the next few days and if it starts to grow rapidly please inform us.

March 9, 2011

Shell Command Control of Windows Firewall

Filed under: Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 — Tags: , , , — solutionsthroughit @ 14:00

Add Ports to the Exception List:
netsh firewall add portopening TCP 1234 Port/ApplicationLabel
netsh firewall add portopening UDP 5678 Port/ApplicationLabel

Disable the Firewall:
netsh firewall set opmode disable

Enable the Firewall:
netsh firewall set opmode enable

Enable the Firewall and DO NOT Allow Port \ Program Exceptions:
netsh firewall set opmode enable disable

Enable Firewall and Allow Port \ Program Exceptions:
netsh firewall set opmode enable enable

Enable Firewall on Local Area Connection:
netsh firewall set opmode mode=ENABLE interface=”local area connection”

Disable Firewall on Local Area Connection:
netsh firewall set opmode mode=DISABLE interface=”local area connection”

Enable the Firewall on Wireless Network Connection:
netsh firewall set opmode mode=ENABLE interface=”wireless network connection”

Disable Firewall on Wireless Network Connection:
netsh firewall set opmode mode=DISABLE interface=”wireless network connection”

February 6, 2011

Hyper-V Manager – disable UAC prompt when starting

Filed under: Hyper-V, Server 2008 R2 — Tags: , , , — solutionsthroughit @ 11:21

Found this link showing how to disable the UAC prompt every time you start the hyper-v manager on server 2008R2/Windows 7. Whilst not THAT annoying, it is slightly.

First, from an elevated command prompt, copy \program files\Hyper-V\virtmgmt.msc to \windows\system32.


Next, open the properties for the shortcut to Hyper-V Manager located under Administrative Tools. The target will be %windir%\system32\mmc.exe “%ProgramFiles%\Hyper-V\virtmgmt.msc”. Update this to%windir%\system32\mmc.exe %windir%\system32\virtmgmt.msc. Do not change the “Start in” location though.



Note that double quotes are not necessary. When you hit enter, you will get a UAC prompt to confirm the update.


And that’s it – starting Hyper-V Manager should no longer prompt you for elevation.

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