Autodesk Product Activation FAQs

Oct 31, 2014


Answers to the most frequently asked questions about activating Autodesk products.


Activation Overview

Activation Scenarios

Activation Overview

What is Product Activation?

Activation is the process of verifying the serial number and product key of an Autodesk product, and licensing it to run on a specific computer.  Activation is initiated the first time the product is launched and if you are connected to the Internet, the process is completed automatically.

See How to find the Serial Number and Product Key for your Autodesk product

Why is product activation necessary?

Product activation is an important part of licensing Autodesk software.  The process protects both your rights as a consumer and our rights as a software developer by verifying that you have installed a genuine Autodesk product and that it has not been activated on more computers than are allowed by your Software License Agreement.

Is product activation the same as product registration?

No. They are different, but connected, procedures:

Product Activation: The process that verifies your product serial number and product key and licenses it to run on your machine.
Product Registration: The process where you create an Autodesk ID associated with an individual or company account and which prevents unauthorized use of your product by another person.

See How to Activate and Register Autodesk Software

Do I need to be online to activate Autodesk software?

No. However, we recommend that you do activate your software over the Internet because it is the easiest and fastest method. If you're having trouble, see How do I get help if activation fails? below.

Manual activation can be done offline; however, this process can take up to two business days as you will have to contact Autodesk for Activation Assistance.

To get Manual Activation Assistance:

  1. Visit Contact Us
  2. Select "Activation and Registration/Activating a Product/Activation Codes and Request Codes" from the decision tree.
  3. Click the "I Still Need Help" button to view your contact options.
How long does product activation take?

Online activation takes only a few minutes to complete, while manual (offline) activation can take up to two business days.

What happens if I don't activate my product?

Most Autodesk products have a "Free Trial" period of 30 days, during which you can use the software without activation.  However, after this period ends the software will stop working until you activate it.

How do I get help if activation fails?

Having trouble? Information about troubleshooting activation errors can be found in the following articles:


Activation Scenarios

Will reinstalling the software provide a new grace period?

No. Only one initial grace period is supported per product, per computer.

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

We understand you may need to use the software when you are away from your usual work location—for example, while working from home. Therefore, most Stand Alone Autodesk products can be installed and activated on a second computer owned or controlled by you (the software license owner). The software may only be used by you and only one of the two copies may be used at one time. Consult your Autodesk Software License Agreement for complete details about using the software on a second computer.

What if I get a new computer, can I still use the software?

Yes. Most Autodesk products (starting with 2010 releases) include a License Transfer Utility (LTU) that enables online transfer of stand-alone licenses from one machine to another.  The LTU can be used to transfer your license to a temporary machine (for repairs or when working in the field) or when permanently switching to a new machine

See How to Transfer Stand-Alone Autodesk Licenses.

Will reformatting my hard drive have any impact on my software license?

Yes. Replacing or reconfiguring hardware on your computer can invalidate your Autodesk license, requiring you to reactivate it before you will be able to use it again. You can avoid this problem by using the LTU to transfer your license online before making any major system changes.

See these articles for more information:
How to Transfer Stand-Alone Licenses Online
Product Reactivation FAQs

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

No. After you have finished the activation process, no data will be transmitted to Autodesk. The only time data would need to be resent, is if product reactivation is required.

When manually activating mutiple software seats (licenses), do I need multiple activation codes?

Yes. Each software seat (except those managed with a network license server) requires a unique activation code. You cannot use an activation code from one machine on another machine.

I use a network license to manage my Autodesk software licenses. How does this affect product activation?

Product activation only applies to stand-alone and multi-seat stand-alone licenses for most Autodesk products and is not required for network licenses. However, selecting the wrong license type during installation (such as “Stand-Alone”) can prevent you from installing your network license on multiple computers.


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