SBS CAL’s reset to 5 – where did my licences go?

This has happened to me on a couple of different Small Business Server 2003 boxes, so I thought I’d post the solution up here – to remind me as much as to help anyone else :)

Used to have more than 5 CAL’s but now they have suddenly disappeared? This will be caused by one of 2 things:

  1. Your C: drive is full, or very nearly full (very common on standard Dell pre-installs – why do they give you a 12GB partition?? That is soooo not enough).
  2. Your anti virus package is scanning the file in the c:\windows\system32 folder.

So you had a search around and found the Microsoft article telling you to just go ahead and run a restore job from the license backup utility – that would be really easy to do if you had done a backup in the first place, but no one ever has because nobody knows this utility exists until its too late. Why don’t they tell you about these things when you add the CAL’s?

Anyway, don’t panic, there is a simple solution:

  1. Stop the License Logging Service.
  2. Rename the existing to
  3. Rename the to
  4. Restart the License Logging Service.

Now your CAL’s should be back to where they should be. 1st thing to do now? – Run the license backup utility that you didn’t know existed until now. Then you won’t have to worry about this again.

Then you might want to exclude the 2 files from your AV scan, or work out why your C drive suddenly got full (clue – look for a runaway service that is logging loads of errors, or the SBS monitoring and reporting thingy having a massive log file).

Once that is sorted you can relax as you will have happy users once again. Brilliant


  1. Thanks, saved me some grief.

  2. Yay! Worked a treat with 2K3 server – you are a star.