Error: "Invalid serial number" (standalone activation)

Dec 14, 2014


When you activate a product as a standalone license, the following error message is displayed:
Serial number is invalid


There are several reasons this message may appear during an activation:
  • The serial number is a network license rather then a standalone license.
  • The serial number has been upgraded to a new release.
    (Active subscription contracts have previous version benefits, so this does not apply to them.)
  • The product has been upgraded to a different product.
    (This can also happen if you have an active subscription contract. Please check the previous version eligibility list. )
  • The product has been returned through a reseller or the online store.
  • The Desktop Subscription license has lapsed or been canceled.
  • The serial number is not registered.
  • The product is part of a suite and you are not using the serial number and product key for the suite.


Follow these steps to obtain assistance:

Check with your IT team

  • Many companies designate someone to be in charge of the software management, usually someone on the IT team. Ask this person to check their records to see if the serial number you want to use should still be used or whether  you can use a different serial number or version.
  • If your company does not have a dedicated IT team, check with your office manager.  Some office managers take care of the software as well.

Products with Subscription 

If you are a Subscription customer, ask your Contract Manager or a Software Coordinator to log into the Subscription Center to verify deployment and/or if the product is on the previous version eligibility list.  They can then contact Autodesk on your behalf, if needed.
See:  Finding your Contract Manager
This problem can also occur when you try to activate an older version of a product that is covered under Subscription.
See: Error: "Serial number invalid" (Subscription product)

Products associated with Suites

When you install components of a suite, but sure to use the suite serial number and product key to activate the individual products. For example, if you have Building Design Suite/ Revit Architecture Suite and just want to activate AutoCAD, use the serial number and product key provided for the suite.

Similarly, you may get an "invalid serial number error if you entered a Product Key for a Suite instead of for an individual product.

Self-service registration and activation

All our products are automatically registered with Autodesk during the first install and activation through the internet.  If this is not the first time your product has been activated or used, the software has already been registered with Autodesk and cannot be registered again.

If the computer on which you will install and use the software has no internet connection, follow these steps on a computer that has an internet connection to register and obtain an activation code.
  1. Review the link Activating & Registering your Autodesk Software Online.
  2. Go to Activation and registration sign in site/link.
  3. Create an account if your company does not already have one. Otherwise, log in with your user ID and password to register and get the activation code.

Asking Autodesk for Help

You can find answers or gain access to more specific help by responding to a series of questions.
  1. Go to
You can also click the Need Assistance button on any support article.
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  1. Fill in the form by selecting these options:
  • What can we Help you with?  Registration and Activation
  • Select a topic: Activating a Product
  • Select a topic: Serial Numbers and Product Keys
  1. If the answer to your question is not contained in the displayed links, and you want additional assistance, click the I Still Need Help button to display additional options.
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  1. Click one of the following buttons at the bottom of the page:
  • Chat - Converse with a support agent using instant messaging.
  • Ask for Assistance - Fill in a form requesting "Registration or activation of a product." Be sure to provide information about how we can contact you. You can attach screen shot files such as jpg, tif, png or a Word document to explain your problem.
  • Community - Post your question and get information from the Installation and Licensing forum.
Note: You can also find answers to your questions by using the Autodesk Virtual Agent.


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