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How to return an Activation ID license using Geospatial License Administrator?

by Technical Evangelist ‎09-26-2019 11:35 AM - edited ‎07-15-2020 10:22 AM (876 Views)


How to use Geospatial License Adminstrator to return / deactivate an Activation ID license from a computer so that the same Activation ID can be used on another computer (or on the same computer after an upgrade) without having to re-host the license?


Activation ID licenses are tied to a specific computer based on the configuration of that computer at the time the license was activated. This means that if an Activation ID is used on one computer it cannot be used on a different computer unless you first return the Activation ID using the Geospatial Licensing Administrator software, so that the license is deactivated on the original computer.


Additionally, if hardware changes are made to a computer this can invalidate the license since certain hardware parameters (such as the disk serial number, MAC address, etc.) are used to identify the unique configuration of the computer.  This means that prior to upgrading the hardware for a computer you should also return the Activation ID. You can then activate the license again with the same Activation ID once the upgrade has been completed.


Important Note:  There is a separate ‘Return Licenses’ command available from within the Licensing Portal. This command has different functionality and should not be confused with the ‘Deactivate / Return License(s)’ command from the Geospatial Licensing Administrator utility.  Specifically, if the Licensing Portal ‘Return Licenses’ command is used to return an Activation ID, that Activation ID is made permanently inactive so that it cannot be used again.


The steps to Return an Activation ID license from a computer where it is currently in use (so that it can be used again on a different computer or re-activated on the same computer after a hardware upgrade) are shown below. An internet connection is required for this workflow.


  1. If you have not already done so, download version of the Licensing Adminstrator software included with 'Geospatial Licensing 2020 Update 1' from this link...


Once you have downloaded and unzipped the 'Geospatial Licensing 2020 Update 1' software, install it on the computer containing the Activation ID that you wish to return. To install the software, double-click the setup.vbs file from the root folder of the installation files.


Running 'setup.vbs' will automatically check for the required .NET Framework software and install it if it does not already exist on the machine.


  1. Run the 'Geospatial License Administrator' utility from the Start menu.


  1. Select License Management > Deactivate / Return License(s) to open the ‘Return Licenses’ dialog.


The ‘Return Licenses’ dialog will display a list of the licenses currently activated on the machine.


  1. To retain a copy of the existing Activation IDs so that you can re-use them after a Return, use the checkboxes to select the Activation IDs that you want to save and then select the 'Save To File' button at the bottom of the dialog:


  1. On the Return Licenses dialog, identify any Activation ID licenses that you want to return (based on the Product Name for instance) then click the checkbox to the left of the row containing the Activation ID to select it.


  1. Click the ‘Return’ button at the bottom of the dialog to return the selected licenses.


At this point the Activation ID licenses that were selected when the Return button was clicked should disappear from the list of activated licenses.


  1. Click the ‘Close’ button to dismiss the dialog.


The Activation IDs saved to a document in step 4 can now be used to activate a license on another computer or on the same computer (after an upgrade).  If you misplace the document that you saved containing the returned Activation IDs, the Activation IDs can also be obtained from the Licensing Portal. However it may be difficult to determine which Activation IDs were returned unless you previously used the Contact, Department, and Tags attributes in the Licensing Portal identify the computer where each Activation ID was used.


The instructions for activating a  concurrent Activation ID license can be found at this link:

How to install Geospatial Licensing Administrator and activate a concurrent license service?