37 Replies Latest reply on Feb 13, 2019 2:50 PM by Frederick Law


    John Lhuillier

      Online licensing is a super huge FIASCO or PITA. When you get constantly kicked off saying that there is no longer a license available to save your work because we're shutting down to the latest message that Solidworks is not enabled for my ID & won't start is really starting the blood to boil. Plus I can't get logged into the Solidworks Cad Admin portal to check on anything & I'm the administrator of the seats we do have. I know for a fact that there is only one seat of Solidworks being used  with the serial number I have and there should be NO reason for it to ever tell me there are no licenses available. Yes I have it on a computer at home but it gets shut down when I'm done at nite and it's not running during the day. Solidedge is definitely looking better than it ever has been before this fiasco.

          Peter Wood

          Same issue today October 5 at 1:00 EDT.

          I have work to do!

            Brandon Klar

            I was really excited for the switch to OL since they eliminated the home use.
            The elimination of the home use was confusing to me since they were also pushing online training such as mysolidworks.
            Were folks that wanted to do that supposed to stay way late at work? Some places of employment aren't so accommodating.


            So far, I have to agree with you that it has been a fiasco. I've already had to call the VAR a few times about it.
            It's kind of embarrassing as the boss has finally decided to get back into solidworks and now this is what we encounter.

            I am holding out hope for them to unf**k this though.
            I actually believe they'll get it sorted.

            We'll see.

              Kyle Taylor

              Online licensing has been great for me as I sometimes have to get on at home or use my laptop. I talked to our VAR and SW is performing maintenance and moving everything over to 2019, but inadvertently crashed their licensing system. They are working on bringing it back up. The maintenance is scheduled to 5am EST Monday FYI, and we should have 2019 available for download then.

              • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                Andy Sanders

                Seeing it too.  Tried to fire up Visualize and no go.  Next I tried Simulation.

                But Solidworks will run no problem.  Weird.

                • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                  John Lhuillier

                  Gee I wonder what would happen if we sent our VAR a bill for lost time because of their screw up. There should be a redundant system in place for when they decide to crash the license server to prevent lost unproductive work. Perhaps they'd reconsider their PITA online license & go to a home license like Solidedge users are trusted to have. Or better yet go back to the way the licenses were before they decided to get greedy

                  • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                    Matthew Page

                    I don't know about that...  I switched to online licensing last May and this is the first time I've had an issue with receiving a license.  If this is due to an unforeseen problem while pushing SW 2019 I'm cool with it.

                    • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                      Brandon Klar

                      Back up and going now - (noonish AZ time)

                      • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                        Stefan Bokma

                        Let's be real they just should allow users to go offline when their servers or the users internet connection is bad.

                        Especially when in use it's easy to detect that the license is used as it was already granted permission on start up.

                        I think some software engineers at Solidworks should take a good example from Fusion360 which already has this type of offline license implemented in their software.


                        (Than yet again all of the good people that worked at Solidworks are now working at Autodesk.....)

                        • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                          Matthieu Fourcade

                          Hi All,


                          I just wanted to give an update to the community.

                          In the last 6 months, our infrastructure provider, which powers multiple services (Admin Portal, Activation, etc.) had a few unplanned outages.

                          While they were all resolved within a couple hours, we understand this has a huge impact on our users, and we are looking at several options to avoid this in the future as well as improve communication.



                            • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                              John Burrill

                              Three days ago, my schedule cleared a little and I thought I'd give online licensing a try.

                              I deactivated my seat, logged into the admin portal and changed my serial number over to online activation..  I updated my admin image to use online licensing instead of my serial number and re-installed.

                              I launched Solidworks and got a prompt for a login, put in my account credentials and got a rebuke that my serial number wasn't enabled for online licensing.

                              I was looking at the serial number assigned to me, that said online licensing on the screen right next to this.

                              Solidworks asked if I wanted to switch to machine activation.  I hit "no" thinking I'd give the server a minute to replicate, propagate or do whatever backoffice herding it needed to do.  When I relaunched Solidworks, it said, the serial number was invalid or not available.

                              I switched back to machine activation in the admin portal, reset the admin image to use my serial number and re-installed and rebooted and launched Solidworks and same message.  That's when I got passed an ECN to update a part decal.

                              An hour and a half later, the AE at my VAR and I figured out if I deleted a defunct serial number registry key added to the current user trunk and changed a one to a zero on another, that Solidworks would launch and prompt for machine activation.

                              I have tried to switch on Online licensing a couple more times over the next two days.  I would still get the message that it wasn't available for my serial number. 

                              Reading between the lines from my interactions with my VAR, the broader picture appears to be Waltham isn't aware of the scope of these problems and isn't responding to recover the situation.  There are none-to-scant tech articles in their knowledgebase for troubleshooting them, no notifications of outages, and no forthcoming communication.

                              I am non-plussed that 4 months after it was announced and a month after Solidworks 2019 shipped following a full beta this feature is DOA and I don't think it reflects well on Solidworks that 18 months after they yanked the second machine activation from their customers, they've shown no urgency in satisfying the need that second activation filled.

                              I don't understand why account based licensing works on Fusion, Office 2016, and all of my Steam games but it's a crapshoot at best for Solidworks.  Someone in Waltham needs to get serious about filling this pothole because it's a business breaker.

                                • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                  John Lhuillier

                                  I don't think that Solidworks has a clue as to what they're doing with the online licensing. If they were going to go this route give the user the option to switch to a network license or better yet LEAVE IT the way it has always been. Either that or they need to get better license servers that won't crash every other week leaving those using it stranded & unable to use the software they rely on for making a living. I'm betting they're going to loose more money by those current users that get ******** off because of the way the online licensing DOESNT work than they ever did with those that were using the software illegally. Guess what those that were using it illegally will still use it illegally & get it from the 3rd party vendors that sell it for 25.00 & have the license crack already figured out. If nothing else allow those that have the online license to be able to switch back to machine license automatically if the server craps again rather than have to do a registry hack. After all some places have IT departments that have better things to do than fix a screwed up program every time it craps the bed.

                                  • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                    Matthew Page

                                    So, here's what I don't understand with the online licensing.  It seems some have huge issues with it while others (like me) have had only one issue over the past year (the Oct. 5th outage). I'm in Minnesota - near the twin cities both at work and at home and online licensing has made my life a lot easier.  I'm left to wonder if the real issue is more of a regional one or possibly a local carrier conflict with the provider of the online licenses?  It's just odd that everyone at my company has had an excellent online experience while others in different locations around the world have been afflicted by multiple outages... 

                                      • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                        John Burrill

                                        That's great.  That's the experience I want to have.  I've been looking forward to this feature for a long time. 

                                        But having one customer with a great experience does not mean a feature is ready for release.  If you can't standardize the experience people have when transmitting a few kilobytes to your database, the problem isn't the variations in the user configurations, it's the database.

                                        -and I don't know if the problem is bad replication or that fact that my account is so old it's still has obsolete switches from it's original cybase implementation but what is clear is that Solidworks thinks a few customers with broken seats aren't as important as "Test Drive SOLIDWORKS 2019 for Free*"

                                          • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                            Matthew Page

                                            Oh, don't get me wrong John... I agree that having some members seeing lots of issues while others have close to no issues is a bigger problem than if everyone had the same negative experience.  At least then it would be simpler to find the exact issue(s).  If it's the database alone I can say that I've been a user of SolidWorks since 2004.  I don't know if you've been in the database longer or not, but at least that's a bit of data.

                                              • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                                John Burrill

                                                Oh, I'm strewn all over Solidworks disk drives.  I worked for a VAR in 1999.  I had 6 portal accounts with 6 employers in the next decade, bought my own seat in 2011 and had to set up a new portal account for that and created a MySolidworks account when this online licensing became a thing. I'd bet an index finger there's still a process running at Solidworks that thinks I work for CADD Development.

                                          • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                            Mark Johnson

                                            John and John,

                                            I am sorry to hear you experienced issues initially setting up online licensing.  Several niche scenarios have been identified where registry modifications are required.  We have drafted several knowledge base articles which are visible to our VARs only to address these registry issues.  Limiting the audience of these KB items is the case with most of our knowledge base items which require registry modification.  Additionally, we are working with our DEV team to add additional code to handle these niche case automatically. 


                                            As Matthieu mentioned earlier, our hosting company had an unplanned outage earlier in October. Yesterday there as another unplanned outage for 10 minutes.  We are continuing to work with our hosting company to ensure steps are being taken to ensure near 100% up time. 


                                            Additionally, someone on our team will be reaching out to you directly John (Burrill).




                                          • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                            John Lhuillier

                                            Well one way to fix this fiasco is go back to the way it has been for the past 20 years & give the users the two licenses like they had. No more worrying about if the online license is going to crap out again. Only thing this has done is %*)!(%* off a bunch of loyal users that were using the software legally within the licensing agreement. The online licensing will not do anything to increase the profit of Desault but in all likeliness cost more with people changing to something that's actually secure. Plus those that are running it illegally will continue to find ways to get around the license anyhow so what good have they done.

                                          • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                            John Burrill

                                            Hi Everyone, I thought I'd take the opportunity to follow up on this issue as I got some help from Solidworks on Friday and may have useful information.

                                            Short recap, I was getting activation errors when I tried to Start Solidworks using online licensing.

                                            After I posted in this thread, I got a call from Salih in Waltham who is in charge of their licensing and activation and he did a remote session on my machine to figure out why I couldn't activate the license on my work computer.  I appreciate the personal attention.

                                            It turns out that all of my company's serial numbers were assigned to my user account.  I'm the system administrator here at Step 2, so I thought it made sense that the pool would be in my name until I distributed the seats.  However, users are not allowed to have more than one of each product type assigned to them.  It could be that my reseller assigned the seats to my account when I bought them.  It could be that this happened as part of the migration.  To fix the problem, I had to first remove from my user all of the duplicate seat types so that I had left one seat of Solidworks Professional, One Seat of PDM (which is SNL so not really relevant) and one seat of Visualize.

                                            Then, in order to use Solidworks with online licensing, I had to deactivate it, go into My MySolidworks.com admin portal, change it to online licensing, delete the credential file (which is in Appdata\local\solidworks\credentials\), and re-run the installation with the online licensing switch flipped.

                                            After we had sorted through that, I was able to launch Solidworks on my office machine. 

                                            Salih explained that the online licensing is designed to be very hands off.  You can attached a license to one machine by selecting "Take Offline" in the user dialog.  You can release a license by logging off, or by closing Solidworks.  Even if you leave Solidworks running at work, you can log in from home.  It will prompt you to disable the work license and put a 'close and save dialog box up on your work laptop.'  It will still be there when you come in in the morning. 

                                            Now there was an issue with one of the visualize serial numbers that factors in.  As stated before, you can only have one of each product type assigned to a user, but one of my visualize licenses was assigned to my home machine.  I couldn't remote into it at the time, so he instructed me to deactivate that seat when I got home and all would be well, I could use Solidworks and Visualize on my home machine and it would pull the license I'd set to online.

                                            So I get home, launch Solidworks, am prompted to log in and get this:



                                            Well, I had my work laptop right next to me (I like to use my home machine because it's already connected to multiple monitors and has a good keyboard), so I diddled the trackpad and brought it up to see if I'd left Solidworks running.  I hadn't and this wasn't what was supposed to happen if I'd had.

                                            So I went through all of my mantras.

                                            I patched the software with 2018 SP5.0, making sure the online license switch was set;

                                            I deleted the credential file and logged in again

                                            deactivated all of my licenses, 2018, 2017, 2016 (I'd done this a week prior)

                                            uninstalled 2016, 2017, 2018

                                            rebooted after every install, uninstall.

                                            I launched Visualize 2018 which had no serial number but came up just peachy fine.  I logged off of that and restarted Solidworks

                                            I deleted the serial number key from the current user trunk

                                            The software's reactions to these efforts was the above message, "no Solidworks Standard serial number"  "Your subscription expired on 1/31/2018 (and all of our subscriptions time out on the same day next month).

                                            OK, so thinking this through, all of my serial numbers in the portal are listed as 2019 products.  I'm trying to install 2018. It's an implementation miss, but maybe you have to do all of this with the current release and then the other releases will work.  Salih and I troubleshooted my office installation with 2019 and verified that 2018 worked without issues.  Things leaned towards that direction, so I downloaded 2019, made an admin image, set it to online licensing, installed it and rebooted my machine.

                                            2019 worked.  I was prompted to log in, 2019 came up.  I could work in 2019.

                                            2018 SP5.0 got weird.

                                            When I'd launch it by itself, it gave me the license limit exceeded message above....or no Solidworks standard serial number exists-which requires deleting that registry key I told you about

                                            When I'd launch 2019 and then launch 2018, it came up.  I know, super weird.  But after a couple of minutes, it would kick an error, License server failure.  Failed to obtain licence, shutting down Solidworks and Visualize.

                                            Which kind of left me grumbling over the same thing that I grumbled about in my earlier post: there is very little information on how this system is supposed to work, what the Siebel database needs from me to think, he's OK, give him a license.  I know the intent is to make it so basic, that you don't need to know what game it's playing for it to work...except after 4 hours of my weekend, I do and it doesn't.  I still had to use my work laptop to use Solidworks and it's on a TV tray that's the wrong height for my chair and there's like 4" of space for my mouse.

                                            I looked like this guy:



                                            WITHOUT THE WINE!

                                            Now, when Salih and I wrapped up on Friday, I asked, where should people be taking these issues?  And he said, the VAR.  Call your VAR.  I hope Waltham is trucking in tech-docs and web-tools to the VAR's as we speak because I have a good VAR and their AE went to extraordinary lengths to understand this problem, localize it and give me some way of getting my machine back up and running but he was at a loss to say why it was happening.

                                            -and I really like what online licensing is about.  A year from now, we're all going to be running Solidworks seamlessly at home, work, the customer sight, everywhere.  But does it have to take a year?  Come, let's get some KB articles, Support Blog entries and troubleshooting matrices in play. 

                                              • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                                Giampiero Sintoni

                                                I honestly did not understand if you've solved.

                                                I use the online licenses on different computers and sometimes do not work without understanding why today on the same computer with a hard disk works, with another hard disk works only if I switch to the traditional mode, in the laptop works, in the computer at work tomorrow I will see .

                                                However it is a shame that nobody explains how it works, I will seriously consider how to switch to another software.



                                                Greetings Giampiero Sintoni

                                                  • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                                    John Burrill

                                                    I'd call the situation improved, not solved.

                                                    What my post amounts to is that I got online licensing to work on my office laptop, but I couldn't run solidworks at home despite my efforst to follow Salih's instructions.

                                                    After some more tinkering over the weekend, I figured out that if I removed Visualize from my assigned licenses, that I could run solidworks 2018 and 2019 with online licensing at home.

                                                    If I assign a visualize seat to myself and set it for online licensing, then I can run Visualize from either computer, but not Solidworks.

                                                    I have not had the chance to open a support ticket on this last part.

                                                    Right now, if I need visualize on my home machine, I'll grab and unused seat from our pool and set it to machine activation.

                                                  • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                                    John Stoltzfus

                                                    Thanks for the update John Burrill

                                                    • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                                      John Burrill

                                                      Update Number Next:

                                                      I finally got this problem solved.  To recap my original issue, Solidworks online licensing wasn't working because I had more than one serial number assigned to my MySolidworks account in Admin portal. 
                                                      Recapping my follow-up post, Correcting that fixed everything except my home machine where, if I had a Visualize serial number assigned to my MySolidworks login, Solidworks 2018 would not launch (although 2019 would).

                                                      What Matt suggested was that because my machine had at one point had machine activations, the flexnet files created for those were screwing up the online activations.

                                                      Deleting the files in c:\programdata\Flexnet\ fixed the problem, same as it did for Giampiero Sintoni.

                                                      I was able to launch Solidworks 2018, Visualize 2019, Solidworks 2019 using online licensing.  So all is well, and I'm finally at that point, where I don't have to worry about transferring my license, or checking it out or deactivating and reactivating it and I'll go as far as to say, this is potentially better than two seat activation.  I'll probably talk with my other techs and see if any of them want to give online licensing a try.

                                                      So what is the take away for SW Corp?

                                                      In my limited analysis, it looks like three things happened in implementation that caused this problem.

                                                      First, the big thing: SW didn't prepare the resellers to troubleshoot this issue.  There should have been a KB article every time someone reported a problem and solved it.  There should have been a Monthly Support Newsletter item, specifically for activation issues. There should have been a hotline to escalate online licensing activation.  I know I trot this out a lot, but the lesson of the Challenger disaster and 3 Mile Island is that complex systems fail in transition.  When Solidworks came out with a new licensing mechanism, the first fact on the table should have been X million existing seats are installed with the legacy system and are going to have to interact with the new system.  There needs to remedial systems ready to kick in if there's a problem.
                                                      Second, messaging for reporting errors is ambiguous: At 3 Mile Island, an indicator light for a relief valve was read as meaning the valve was activated when in fact the light simply meant the signal had been sent to activate the valve.  The valve failed but the control room thought the light meant it was working and interpreted it as meaning the reactor vessel was flooded when it was in fact bone dry and melting down.  Once they figured that out, they turned on the cooling system and the core temperature stabilized.  Similarly, Solidworks activation will tell you your product is unavailable, your license limit is exceeded, your serial number is invalid, but these messages don't lead back to specific information about which serial number the software is trying to use, what's telling it the license limit is exceeded or why the current configuration is unacceptable.  This doesn't have to be in the error box, but I searched the KB for my errors, read all of the online help for the admin portal and didn't once see the underlying causes of my problem mentioned. The only insight I got for unable to obtain a  license was, you have to have a license to run Solidworks.

                                                      Third, there's no remedial path when Solidworks fails to obtain a license.  In my case, to get Solidworks to launch, I've had  to delete files from two different directories and remove errant registry keys that were placed by the software failing to obtain a license.  When a user is given a choice of technologies, the software needs to not only react to the choice, but also to the change.  If I previously had machine activation and  I'm trying online licensing, Solidworks should be clearing out those flexnet files and creating new ones.  If I'm trying to activate a license again after a failing once, Solidworks should know the previous attempt was aborted and clear the stubbed serial number key that screws it up. 

                                                      That said, I get that this is an inherently complex transition and commend Solidworks for the glitches being easy to correct once they're identified.  Anyone who remembers Solidworks 2010 SP2.0 corrupting the operating system when you loaded Photoworks knows the difference between a catastrophe and an annoying problem.  Online licensing could have more serious problems.  The problems Valve had with Half LIfe 2 licensing come to mind.

                                                      -and thanks to Salih at Solidworks and Matt at SolidExperts who dug deep to help me figure this one out.

                                                        • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                                          John Stoltzfus

                                                          John Burrill  Thanks for the Update

                                                          • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                                            Nadia Shea

                                                            Salih is awesome... one of my favorite SOLIDWORK peeps!

                                                            • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                                              John Burrill

                                                              Update Number 3: The Visualize Paradox

                                                              Hi everyone, just thought I'd add a little to my epic quest for online licensing.

                                                              When I last left off, everything was launching and running JuuuuuuuuhST PEACHY!
                                                              then towards Xmas time, I was working from home and started Visualize and to my dismay got the error that's been my bane of late.

                                                              Well, I did what has become the usual set of things.  I deleted the files in the flexnet folder, checked the admin portal to make sure the right serial number was right and checked that I didn't have the license running anywhere else.
                                                              Relaunched and same error.

                                                              I shrugged and skipped using Visualize for a couple of weeks.  This problem didn't affect Solidworks, either 2018 or 2019.

                                                              When I got tot a point where I needed to do a rendering for a work project, I pulled up Visualize and got the same error.

                                                              I did not have a lovely day.  I had to render my work in PhotoView  I'm trying hard to get my other techs to use Visualize but so far, Photoview is looking like a lot less trouble.

                                                              When I got a break in the schedule I went through every potion and powder I'd used before to fix this problem.  I deleted the contents of FlexNet, went into the Solidworks Credentials folder in Appdata and deleted the files there.  I even went into the registry and deleted the solidworks branch from the current user (this fixed the "No Solidworks Serial Number, goodbye sucker" problem).  Aftering doing what I thought my due diligence, I put in a call to my Var, like Salih said and he took a minute to run through what I did before calling up Salih again.
                                                              We all conferenced in together and they were able to fix the problem on their end.  What it looked like was a zombie session of Solidworks was still registered.  This might have been the result of a crash or just hitting the licensing server during an update cycle.  There's even speculation that because this happened around the time of my subscription renewal date and Visualize is a subscription only product, something may not have updated when I renewed.  They terminated the license and I was able to relaunch.  There was some internal miscommunication about how the VAR can investigate this issue.  Once they got that straightened out, Visualize came up with no issues and is currently working.

                                                              There's an open enhancement request to allow administrators to be able to terminate online licenses.  the number is 1-20434440875 if you want to vote on it.

                                                              In the mean time, Salih said, if you get the error I did, call your VAR and they'll be able to terminate the zombie license.

                                                          • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                                            Dennis Dohogne

                                                            Anyone reading this thread has an interest in the licensing activation to be better.  Please go to this idea Provide a Fail-Safe for License Activation and add your comments to help improve the idea.  Then bookmark it to make it easy to find when voting opens in a couple of weeks.

                                                            • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                                              Giampiero Sintoni

                                                              Well thanks also to the help of my Var (nuovamacut in Italy)

                                                              I managed to make the licenses work online by deleting all the files in:

                                                              C: \ ProgramData \ FLEXnet



                                                              Let me know if you have solved it

                                                              • Re: ONLINE LICENSE FIASCO
                                                                John Lhuillier

                                                                Another thing I've noticed with this is seems like you can only have 1 session of SW running on the computer at a time. You can run a 2nd one on the same computer but it seems like after it phones the home server & sees the 2nd session running on the same computer it dumps the 1st session that was running. There are times previous where we may have 3 sessions running at one time so that we can have multiple jobs opened up if someone is asking questions rather than saving, closing the current files & then open the new job up. Then close that job out & reopen the one you were working on. Why can't SW just say they screwed this up big time & revert back to how things were where they were actually working & didn't have to jump thru rings of fire and darts to get our work done.