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Expire the License Logging Service

Long-standing problems with the License Logging Service mean one thing: disable it.

The License Logging Service is a Microsoft Windows service that was originally designed and included with Windows to help administrators track the number of valid licenses purchased for Windows Server and various Microsoft server products, including Exchange.

Some confusion exists about the use of the License Logging Service. For one, running the License Logging Service is not mandatory; it's simply supplied as an aid to administrators to track the total number of licenses purchased for a particular server. Unfortunately, a number of known problems with the License Logging Service make it unreliable. Consider the following:

-- License purchase information is not always reliably replicated between local servers and a master license server, especially if there are network problems.

-- The method used by the License Logging Service to associate client access licenses with a particular user or device may not properly represent how the product in question is licensed and may create spurious errors.

-- Many Microsoft server products do not use the License Logging Service consistently, which can be confusing to administrators.

-- Windows 2000 Servers refuses network connections that exceed the license information available through the License Logging Service.

Because of this, and because of other long-standing problems with the License Logging Service, one common approach by many Exchange administrators is simply to disable the License Logging service and track license compliance manually. Microsoft even recommends this.

Some programs may produce an error on setup that the License Logging Service is not running if you disable it, but continue with the normal installation anyway. Likewise, a great many misleading and log-consuming errors created by the License Logging Service in conjunction with Exchange can be avoided.

Another option, for products or situations where the License Logging Service must be run and the administrator is experiencing network lockout problems due to licenses being exceeded, is to simply increase the number of licenses listed in the service until the problems stop (although the administrator should take care that the proper number of licenses have been purchased).

Microsoft has taken note of the problems with the License Logging service. To that end, it is now shipped disabled in Windows 2003 Server. Microsoft has even gone on record to say that future editions of Windows Server will not contain the License Logging Service.

Controversial as it is, the long-term plan appears to be to use Product Activation as a way of tracking per-server licenses for server-level products.

Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter.

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