The remote computer disconnected the session because of an error in the licensing protocol

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One remote user from work called me the other day saying her remote desktop client stopped working because of “there are no terminal server client access licenses available for this computer”. Well, that’s easy, I walked her through and successfully deleted the MSLicensing registry key on her Windows Vista computer, and happily told her you can try it again now. But surprisingly, she replied a few seconds later saying no, still didn’t work. But this time the error message was different:

The remote computer disconnected the session because of an error in the licensing protocol

It’s surprising because having been using remote desktop client for ages this is the first time I saw the error message like this. Out of luck after a few checking here and there, I went to Google for help. Nothing had worked until I was landed to this Microsoft KB, Removing Terminal Server licenses from an RDP client. At the very bottom of this KB, it mentions:

If you delete the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\MSLicensing subkey on a client that is running Windows Vista or a later version, later attempts to connect to a Terminal Server may fail. Also, you receive the following error message:

An Error occured in the licensing protocol.

And suggests that to resolve this problem, right-click the Remote Desktop Connection icon, and then click Run as Administrator. 

Bingo!! That was it. Did I mention that this problem was actually occurred on a Vista computer above? And it only happens on Vista or later OSs because:

By default, the remote desktop connection runs as a user with the lowest user permissions. By default, a restricted user does not have permission to write registry entries to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Therefore, attempts to rewrite the MSLicensing key fail. Starting Remote Desktop Connection with administrative credentials provides the permissions that are necessary to write the needed registry keys.

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24 thoughts on “The remote computer disconnected the session because of an error in the licensing protocol

  1. Thanks, this saved me from nearly having a coronary when the old trick of deleting the registry key failed to allow it to regenerate the new temporary 120-day TS license for Vista Home. It had worked just fine up until the last expiration of the temp license a couple days ago; I guess some recent Vista update issued after May 2009 must have "fixed" Vista so that the TS client runs at the very lowest user permissions.

  2. You sir are a god. I have had this problem now on multiple computers and everything says to delete the regkey mslisencing wich did not fix the error. Rigth clicking on the RDC client and running as admin did. THANK YOU.

  3. Well I did all you mentionated before ..and still giving me the same error protocol 🙁 I dont know what to do .!!

    very very desperate

  4. @Maria,

    The trick is that you have to run Remote Desktop Client as Administrator or you will not be able to re-create the registry keys you just deleted.

    Cheers.

  5. Thanks! I’m an administrative professional whose company has a less than qualified IT guy…he was going to remove my computer from the office to fix this!

  6. Actually, this “fix”, along with many others I have found on Google and other places, did not work as described. The key was deleted, I ran the RDP Client as an Administrator but was still given the same error.

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  9. Really a wonderful Reply / Solution. I was searching and performing all the available solution but all in vain from deleting the registry up importing other PC registry.

    This solution really works and saved a lot of time.

    Regards,

    Zain

  10. Really a wonderful Reply / Solution. I was searching and performing all the available solutions but all in vain from deleting the registry up to importing registry files from other PCs.

    This solution really works and saved a lot of time.

    Regards,

    Zain

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