Avoid License Conflicts While Pointing to Volume License Server

Updated Jan 9, 2023

Reported In


  • NI License Manager
  • Volume License Manager

Issue Details

My product license shows up as evaluation or as an old SN even though I am connected to my licence server. Why does my product not show up as licensed?

I need to access my local National Instruments license files in order to remove evaluation licenses, hide my local licenses or to troubleshoot an issue with National Instruments support.  Where are these files located in Windows?


For NI License Manager 4.4 or later: 

NI License Manager (NI LM) 4.4 and later, is only compatible with Volume License Manager 3.1.1 and later. Your license could be showing up as evaluation because your computer is not correctly checking out licenses from your server. See Unable to Activate Volume License Software in NI License Manager 4.4 for details on how to update to compatible versions. If it still does not work, follow the steps below for NI License Manager 4.0.


For NI License Manager 4.0: 

Local licenses are required to access software through a Network License from a VLM server, even if the local licenses are in Evaluation or Unlicensed status.

  1. Add the server using Access Volume License Server from a Client Machine, NI License Manager should read this as a higher priority than the local licenses.
  2. After adding the server to NI License Manager, check with your software administrator to see if you have the necessary user permissions to access software through the server.
  3. If software still shows in Evaluation, wait for the evaluation to expire. NI License Manager should then find the network license and activate software from the server.
  4. In the event that you are dealing with a temporary activation code provided by NI, right-click on the expiring license and select "deactivate"
  5. Navigate to C:\ProgramData\National Instruments\License Manager\Data folder, and create a new folder within the Licenses folder, then move all license files inside of it. This ensures that all licenses are still on your system, but in a location that NI License Manager does not check. 

Note: <ProgramData> is a hidden folder in Windows 7 and Windows 10. Please see Show Hidden Files to show hidden files in Windows 7 and 10.

For NI License Manager 3.7 or Earlier: 

Local licenses are not necessary to access licenses from a VLM server. National Instruments software local licenses can be moved from the following directories:

Windows XP<Program Files>\National Instruments\Shared\License Manager\Licenses\
Windows 7/8/10<ProgramData>\National Instruments\License Manager\Licenses\

Be sure to create a backup before deleting any files in this location.

Additional Information

One common use case for hiding the license file is verifying that your National Instruments software is fully activated by hiding an evaluation license for the same product, as the evaluation license will show over the full license.

20-digit activation/evaluation codes from National Instruments cannot be used while the license file for the product in question is hidden.