Licensing, Registration & Activation

Frequently Asked Questions

For more frequently asked questions about Product Activation, view a PDF.

Product Activation FAQ (pdf - 24Kb)
Multiseat & Network Activation FAQ (pdf - 23Kb)
Product Activation FAQ (pdf - 24Kb)
Multiseat & Network Activation FAQ (pdf - 23Kb)
Product Activation Whitepaper (pdf - 94Kb)

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1. What is product activation?

Product activation is a software-based license management technology used by many Autodesk® products. It is a secure, easy process that allows users who have purchased legitimate software licenses to run the Autodesk software. The process verifies that the serial number is valid and that the software has been activated only on eligible computers. Product activation does not change the way the software works for licensed users. It is similar to activation mechanisms previously used in Autodesk products but improves security and license management.

2. What happens during product activation?

Product activation is a straightforward process that takes place the first time you run your Autodesk software. You transmit the product serial number and your registration data to Autodesk, where the serial number is validated and an activation code created and returned to your computer to enable your software. Activation is quick and easy; most users will experience it only once.

3. Do I require an activation code for each software seat (license)?

Yes. Each and every software seat (except those managed with a network license server) requires a unique activation code regardless of how it is deployed.

Please note that the activation process can be highly automated, especially if you purchase multiseat stand-alone licenses and deploy them using the Network Installation Wizard.

4. How does product activation work?

The activation request includes the product information (such as product name, serial number, and product version number) and a request code.

The request code is displayed next to the serial number in the Register Today screen. This code identifies each activation request and contains no other information about the product or hardware. It consists of a machine ID and a set of values such as the type and date of the request. 

 The machine ID is a randomly computed 64-bit value, which cannot be used to identify the make or model of your computer or any of its components. It simply assures that the software is not activated on any ineligible computers. You send your activation request to Autodesk through a secure Internet connection or by email. If the request is valid, you receive an activation code and your product is immediately available for use.

5. What if I use more than one computer to do my work? How many activations are permitted per license?

Autodesk recognises you may sometimes need to operate the software when you are away from your usual work location, for example, while working from home. To accommodate this need, product activation lets you install and activate the software on a second computer owned or controlled by you. Note that the software may be used by only one person and that only one of the two copies may be used at a time. Consult your Autodesk Software License Agreement for complete details about using the software on a second computer.

6. I usually buy multiple copies of Autodesk software, but use just one of the CD serial numbers for all the installations. Will this deployment method work with product activation?

No. For these situations, Autodesk recommends purchasing a multiseat stand-alone license. You then receive a single CD and a single serial number good for a specified number of licensed computers. See your reseller for details.

7. What if I want to use the software on a new computer?

If you upgrade or replace your computer, you can simply transfer your license using the Portable License Utility.

8. I reformat my hard drive often. What impact does activation have in this situation?

You may need to reactivate your software license if you reformat your primary boot disk, although reactivation can be avoided. The Autodesk Stand-Alone Licensing Guide (available in the help system) outlines a few simple steps that help prevent reactivation when you reformat the hard drive. The  Stand-Alone Licensing Guide can be accessed from AutoCAD Help > Installations and Licensing Guides > Licensing > Stand Alone Licensing, or alternatively from the installation CD provided with your AutoCAD or AutoCAD based product.

9. What common changes can trigger the need for reactivation?

The following activities can prompt a reactivation:

  • Significantly changing the primary boot disk
  • Tampering with the activation services or the software license files
  • Modifying the system date or time properties on a computer that has a time-limited software license
  • Reinstalling your operating system

10. Does the activation process ever send data to Autodesk after I activate my product?

No data is transmitted unless reactivation of your software license is required. However, if your software license becomes invalid, activation will again be needed.

11. I use a network license server (FLEXlm®) to manage my Autodesk software licenses. How does product activation affect my licenses?

Product activation only applies to stand-alone and multiseat stand-alone licenses. Network licenses are not affected in any way by product activation.