Server 2022 essentials included RDP CAL's?

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New Member
May 7, 2022
Hi, we are looking to build a small server for a customer, having trouble finding out what license CALs are included in Server 2022 Essentials?

i understand it does not require cals as every article mentions this:

"Microsoft also offers an Essentials edition of Windows Server 2022 that it targets for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices. Windows Server 2022 Essentials sells for $501 and does not require CALs but is limited to 10 cores, a single socket and a single virtual machine. The feature set is the same as the Standard edition. Windows Server 2022 Essentials is only available through certain server hardware partners."

But does this included RDP? and if not, will RDP cals work with it? Server is only around $600AUD but 5 RDP cals would cost an extra $1500AUD


Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2016
But does this included RDP? and if not, will RDP cals work with it?
From experience windows server will work fine without cals/licenses.
You (the customers) want to have the proper cals/licenses when you (they) get auditioned (by microsoft or other entities for certain iso certifications) :D


New Member
May 7, 2022
cool, yeah we were thinking of using it in a "Trial Mode" and if it needs the cals we will just have to work that out.


Apr 16, 2021
You can also check for a Microsoft Reseller for the RDP CALs

I don't know if you can purchase from them in Australia, but Trusted Tech Team - has a 5 pack of 2022 RDP User CALs for $480 USD


New Member
Sep 16, 2023
Hi [B]XN1337[/B], Can you please confirm the RDS role DOES actually work for more than 2 users on Server 2022 ?? 99% of chatter about 2022 Essentials states the RDS role is NOT supported, yet MS docs say all services as per Standard edition are available, would love to have it confirmed from someone who has actually installed it in a working environment before I commit to upgrading our 2012 R2 server to 2022 Essentials, Thanks in advance, Phil

Roelf Zomerman

Active Member
Jan 10, 2019
the CAL's provided with Essentials are REGULAR CALS's not RDP - those are different. Regular CAL's are for users accessing / using the Server (AD login, file sharing, etc) - 25 of those (users) and 50 (clients) are provided with the purchase.

Essentials DOES NOT support converting it into a Remote Desktop Session host (for which you need RDP CAL's) but does have the natively built-in 2 administrative sessions like any other server.

If you need to have an RDP Session Host (formerly known as Terminal Server) - you need a "Standard Windows" server and a domain and configure the servers with the Remote Desktop Services role. If your users are only using the RDP - then use RDP CAL's - if they use login + file + RDP etc - they will require a user/device CAL + RDP (user/device) CAL.

It is important to note that Server 2022 Essentials can't be used as a member server on an existing domain, or have member servers on the same domain. It can't be used as a terminal server. If any of these features are required, Server 2022 Standard is recommended as a minimum.

If possible - I would look at Windows 365, or Azure Virtual Desktop possibly in combination with Azure AD Domain Services (or native Azure AD only). Certainly if you already have Office 365 licenses