Reclaiming product licenses

License reclamation is the process of taking unused software product licenses and reassigning them to devices that need a license for the same product.

Your organization may have unused product licenses that can be reclaimed and given to users who need to install the product. License reclamation is a software license monitoring (SLM) feature that finds product installations that have not been used within a certain period of time. When a product on a device meets the reclamation criteria, it's uninstalled from that device, and the license is then free for you to assign to another user.

The delivery methods and uninstall packages that you use for license reclamation must have been created in the Endpoint Manager console first. They will then be available to select in the SLM console.

Required user rights

Any user who will work with license reclamation must have the following software distribution rights:

  • View delivery methods
  • View packages
  • Deploy packages

For information about assigning rights to users, see Managing roles

Getting started

To reclaim product licenses, you need to do the following:

  • Configure defaults for license reclamation. (Configuring license reclamation defaults.) Although these are the defaults that appear when you enable reclamation for a product, you can change any of these items for a product.
  • Enable license reclamation for individual products (described below). You can reclaim licenses for single products, as well as for normalized and custom products.
  • Run a reclamation manually, or set up a schedule for reclamation (described below).
  • View a list of product licenses that have been reclaimed. (Viewing license reclamation status.) Use this list to determine which products can be installed on other devices.

NOTE: If you’re using the French-language version of SLM, Microsoft has a bug in their regional settings that affects French-language digit groupings. For numbers of one thousand and over, Microsoft has a default setting of a space character instead of a period for the digit-grouping symbol (for example, 1 234 567,00). Because of this bug, when entering numbers in the French-language version, SLM will not allow the period character to be used.

To fix this problem, you must change the setting in the Control Panel > Region and Language applet. Click the Additional settings button, and change the Digit grouping symbol from a space to a period (or whatever other character you want).

To enable license reclamation for a product
  1. Click Products > Monitored.
  2. Select a product. On the toolbar, click Edit.
  3. Click Reclamation and select the Enabled check box.
  4. Specify how long a product has not been used to make it eligible for license reclamation. Enter a number in the Only reclaim if the product has not been used box. The default for this item is 120 days, because many manufacturers consider a product to have been used in a quarter if the product has been run at least once in a three-month period. Software usage reporting is typically counted by the quarter.
  5. If you want to reclaim licenses based on the number of days that products haven't been used, select Reclaim from all machines that have not used the product...
  6. If you want to use license reclamation to always have a certain number of availasble licenses, select Reclaim to maintain a set of free licenses. Specify a lower threshold for the number of available licenses that triggers reclamation. Specify a higher number that represents the number of licenses you want to make available.
  7. Click Task.
  8. Click Browse to select an uninstall package that is applied when a product meets the reclamation criteria. For normalized products, you can specify an uninstall package for each contained product, or you can specify a package for the normalized product and make all the contained products use the same uninstall package as the normalized product.
  9. For Endpoint Manager 9.5 or earlier clients, check that the delivery method for the package is correct. To change the delivery method, click Browse and select a new one.

    Because a Endpoint Manager 9.6 core server can manage both 9.5 and 9.6 clients, you should specify this setting as well as the settings for distribution/patch and reboot, which are for Endpoint Manager 9.6 clients only.
  10. For Endpoint Manager 9.6 clients, check that the distribution and patch setting is correct. This setting combines delivery for both software distribution and patches.
  11. For Endpoint Manager 9.6 clients, check that the reboot setting is correct. This setting controls if the device will be rebooted and how the reboot will occur.
  12. Select the Start scheduled tasks immediately after creation check box to run reclamation for this product after saving your data.
  13. Specify how often you want license reclamation to run. Enter a number in the Run reclamation process every ... days box. If you select 0 in this box, reclamation will run daily. By default, reclamation will run immediately after you save this task, then again at night every 14 days. Once a reclamation process has run, the run date will appear in the Last run box.
  14. Specify a re-installation policy task if you want to give an end user the option of reinstalling a product after reclamation. The option to reinstall will appear on the Endpoint Manager client dashboard, where the end user can choose to reinstall the product. Click Browse and select the name of the re-installation policy you want to use. Click OK.
  15. Click Advanced to include or exclude computer groups for reclamation of this product.
  16. If you want to include certain computer groups, select Include and click + to add groups to the list. Only devices in the groups you list here will be included in license reclamation; all other devices will be ignored. The groups you can select are defined on the Administration>Computer Groups page.
  17. If you want to exclude certain computer groups, select Exclude and click + to add groups to the list. Select groups that should be excluded from license reclamation. Reclamation will include all monitored devices except those in the groups you select.
  18. If you want to send an email to any administrators informing them of a reclamation action, select Enable email notification and type one or more email addresses in the box. Separate multiple addresses with a semicolon (;) or comma (,).
  19. When you've completed the information for reclamation of the product, click Save.

The options in this dialog are generally the same as those in the Administration>Reclamation Defaults page. For descriptions of these options, see Configuring license reclamation defaults.

NOTE: After you have set the reclamation options for a product, you'll be listed as the reclamation owner on the Reclamation page of the product details dialog. If someone else changes the options at a later time, they will become the reclamation owner. It's important to know who the owner is, because the reclamation owner's scopes are used during reclamation. Only licenses on devices in the reclamation owner's scope will be reclaimed.

If an error occurs during the reclamation process, an error message will appear on the Reclamation page of the product details dialog. Use this message to troubleshoot the problem.

To run a license reclamation process

License reclamation runs on the schedule you set in the Administration>Reclamation Defaults page (usually 14 days). If you want to run a reclamation process before the next scheduled time, follow these steps.

  1. Click Administration > Calculations.
  2. Click Recalculate to ensure that usage and compliance calculations are up to date.
  3. Click Reclaim to start a license reclamation process.