Autodesk Licensing Compliance

Mar 04

Autodesk like to remind you that it is your responsibility to ensure you are using the correct licenses for your software. From time to time they may invoke their right to audit you to ensure that you are compliant. There can be penalties for having non-compliant software active on your system.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have installed only the software you are entitled to and that you are using the correct serial numbers.

Term-based licensing is making compliance easier

The move to term-based licensing introduced under Autodesk’s new subscription model is making compliance easier. Term based licenses have a built in expiry date which means the software will become unusable after the expiry date unless you extend the term by renewing your subscription contract on time. However, if you have or had the older perpetual licenses, you can become non-compliant very easily

Perpetual licenses pose a greater risk on non-compliance

If you purchased your software a few years ago you may have Perpetual licenses. They may also be under a current Maintenance contract. Perpetual licenses are activated on a PC, typically after installation, and are only verified by Autodesk at that time.

Autodesk have no way of controlling perpetual licenses already activated on your PC, therefore, removing the old licenses and ensuring you are compliant is completely up to you. With changes to your IT, staff, and limitations in the licensing technology, it is quite easy for you to end up with non-compliant software. Some common causes are:

PC Upgrades

Software is installed and activated on a new PC but not uninstalled/deactivated on the old PC. The old PC may be handed on to someone else in your organisation; they may not use that software but you would now have 2 active installations of the software with the same serial number and this is non-compliant.

Older or upgraded versions may not be compliant

It used to be possible to upgrade your perpetual license and have several versions installed. There is no mechanism to de-activate the older upgraded license except to manually uninstall them. You may be entitled to use previous versions but this entitlement has limitations. See more on previous versions below.

Non-renewed Maintenance Contracts

Some customers have chosen not to renew their maintenance contract and continue using their perpetual license. In this case, their software license is locked in at the latest version available when their maintenance contract expired and they forgo the rights to use older versions.
It is important that these customers are using the correct version and have uninstalled any older versions.

Maintenance to Subscription Switch (M2S) probably means you need to re-install your software

If you have switched your older maintenance contact to a new subscription contract you will have new serial numbers, new license behavior and possibly different product codes. The only way to change all these is to uninstall and reinstall.

Under the terms of the switch, the old maintenance contract was terminated and a new subscription contract along with a new license type was started. You give up your perpetual licenses and they are replaced with new subscription term-based (extendable) licenses.
If you have switched from a Suite to an Industry Collection (e.g. Building Design Suite to the AEC Collection), you will have different product codes as well.

Autodesk granted a 180 day grace period for you to ensure the old perpetual licenses are removed from your system and replaced with the new. The old perpetual licenses are terminated at the Autodesk end but they can still remain active on your PC’s.

The only way to change all these is to uninstall the old products and install the new products.

It is very easy for old perpetual licenses to remain on your system and be non-compliant. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are using only the software you are entitled to and that you are using the correct serial numbers.

Check your entitlements on Autodesk Account

The best source of information about your current Autodesk software entitlements, including serial numbers, is your Autodesk Account (

Your nominated account manager and/or software coordinator can log into your account to view the details of your software (products, serial numbers, downloads links, updates, manage users).

You must ensure your software on your system is activated with the serial numbers listed in your Autodesk Account.

If you do not know how to login to your Autodesk Account, don’t know who your contract manager or software coordinator is, or you can’t see all your products, contact us immediately.

What previous versions are you allowed to use?

A benefit of current maintenance contracts and subscription contracts is that you are allowed to use previous versions, but this has limitations. Previous version rights are generally the current version + 3 previous versions. As of Feb 2018 this would be 2018, 2017, 2016 & 2015, but this changes every year. You can check the Eligible Previous Version List here or check your Autodesk Account.

Older versions not on the Eligible Previous Version List need to be uninstalled otherwise they may remain active on your system (especially perpetual licenses) and are non-compliant.

Check what is actually installed on all your PC’s

Check installed versions

Check what software is installed from Windows Control Panel > Programs and Features. You can also use system scanning software such as Spiceworks Inventory

Check the serial number and product

Serial numbers can change during the course of upgrading licenses. It is quite common to have what you think is a compliant product but it is installed with the wrong serial number.

It is not possible for you to scan your system for serial numbers as Autodesk encrypt this information. The only way to check serial numbers is by manually checking each software installation on each PC.

Check your license information by running the software; go to the Help drop-down in the top-right corner > About > Manage License

For some products it may be possible to change the serial number by hitting the Change Serial Number link from the Manage License dialog box. It is not possible to do this if you have switched to a different product (e.g. from a Suite to a Collection) as there is also a different product key. An uninstall and reinstall with correct information is required.

How to remove software

You can remove software via the Windows Control Panel > Programs and Features or via the Uninstall tool (see below)

If you are going to reinstall, you may only need to uninstall the core program (e.g. revit.exe or acad.exe). The additional tools, content libraries and material libraries associated with the program can be left untouched which will speed up the whole uninstall-reinstall process. It always pays to check this.

Use the Uninstall Tool to quickly remove software.

If you have many Autodesk products installed, you most likely have the Uninstall Tool installed as well. Most people don’t know it’s there but it can really speed up the process of uninstalling one or several Autodesk products and their associated components.

  • Windows 8.1 or 10 – Search for “Uninstall”
  • Windows 7 - Go to the start menu > all programs > Autodesk. Click on the Uninstall Tool.

This will show a list of software that you can remove related to Autodesk.

***When you are finished removing all or some of the Autodesk products make sure they are not listed in the Control Panel > Programs and Features.

How to ensure a Complete Uninstall

To get a complete uninstall you need to uninstall your software, clean out all your directories and clean up the registry. If you do not clean up your computer you may run the risk of a particular corrupt file or folder not installing because the installer sees that it is already there.

Refer to the Autodesk Uninstall Instructions for more information on the proper procedure to follow.

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