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Post-upgrade problems in Windows Server 2003

We have just upgraded from Windows NT Server to Windows Server 2003. We used NT Server to network 15 PCs through a workgroup. After the upgrade to Windows Server 2003, there have been all kinds of problems when we exceed 10 PCs. Is there a quick fix without moving to a domain environment?
This actually sounds like a common problem that occurs when using MSDN media, which historically was hard coded for 10 licenses per server. I believe that Microsoft stopped this practice with recent MSDN fulfillments, but if you used an MSDN CD for your installation, it's worth looking into in more detail (and perhaps contacting Microsoft) or reinstalling using a non-MSDN media source.

This can also be the result of using Windows Server 2003 Web Edition, which is hard coded to only allow 10 concurrent connections (under the theory that a web server doesn't need to support multiple Windows Networking clients). If this is the case, your only option is to not use Windows Server 2003 Web Edition.

Finally, if you are using "Per Server" licensing and you have only added 10 licenses, this would also prevent additional connection attempts. In this case, you need to purchase and add additional licenses using the "Licensing" administrative tool. In addition to having the appropriate number of licenses, I also generally recommend using "Per Seat" licensing to prevent these kinds of licensing blocks from being enforced.

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This was first published in February 2006

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