FLEXnet BORROW in LMTOOLS for NI Volume License Agreements

Updated Jan 16, 2018

Reported In


  • FLEXnet

Issue Details

  • I want to create a disconnected license from my Volume License Agreement but I am using FlexNet Publisher, formally known as FLEXlm, instead of NI Volume License Manager.
  • I want to use the BORROW feature of FlexNet to create an offline license for NI Software using LMTOOLS


If you are using FlexNet for license management, you can use the BORROW utility to use software without being connected to the network.To use the BORROW features with FlexNet Publisher (formerly FLEXlm), follow the instructions below:
  1. Contact NI at agreements@ni.com and inform us that you would like a license file that supports the BORROW keyword. There are caveats to these license files that are listed in the Additional Information Section
  2. Prepare an option file that allows the client computer/user to borrow license. For a list of supported keywords, refer to the following Product Documentation: Supported FlexNet Options File Keywords. Sample syntax:
    If INCLUDE_BORROW lines are not included in the option file, computers/users are not allowed to borrow. Additional commands related to Borrow can be found in the FLEXnet End Users Guide.
  3. Start the license server.
  4. Set the Borrow Expiration time on the client computer in the Borrowing tab in LMTOOLS, then select Set Borrow Expiration to confirm the borrow.  Alternatively, the Borrow Expiration time can be set in the command prompt using lmborrow.
  5. Launch all the application software on the client computer that the user wants to borrow.
    At this point, the client has borrowed the licenses from the license pool that is set to expire at the expiration date set earlier. The client computer can now re-launch the software without connecting to the server.
  6. The borrowed licenses return to the license pool automatically at the expiration time. To return a license early, click Return Borrowed Licenses Early in Borrowing tab with the Feature Name item specified on the client computer.  Note that the client machine must be connected to the server to return a license early.

Additional Information

Note:  NI supports FlexNet Publisher implementations with compliant license files but does not design or sell the tool.  For the additional support, contact Flexera.

Refer to the FLEXnet End Users Guide for more information on Borrow feature.

FlexNet's BORROW requires that the client computer connect to the network at the initiation and termination of the borrowing period. Through Volume License Manager, National Instruments implemented disconnected licenses. This is an improvement to the borrow feature, since it allows a client to use licenses without ever being connected to a network.

Caveats to using the BORROW feature of FlexNet

  • BORROW forces us to "unsuite" any products in your license files.  This will result in NI License Manager (the client side licensing utility) to show Information Unavailable in the Licenses In Use field. 
  • We do not implement BORROW for concurrent licenses.  It is more cost effective for you to trade in one concurrent license for three non-concurrent licenses when users need to keep a license for an extended period of time.  To switch licenses from concurrent to non-concurrent, contact agreements@ni.com.
  • The client software checking out using the BORROW keyword must have released with NI License Manager 3.0 or higher. This includes LabVIEW 8.0+, CVI 7.1+, TestStand 3.1+, and DIAdem 9.1+. LabVIEW 7.1 does not support this feature. If you are unsure if a particular software package supports this BORROW, please contact Technical Support (see Related Links below).
  • You must use your own FlexNet system and not use NI Volume License Manager (NI VLM). NI VLM does not support the BORROW keyword.
  • The client end user must run lmborrow.exe to set up the borrow period on their computer for any license that comes from an NI server, nilm.exe.
  • The end user must successfully checkout from the remote server after running lmborrow. By checking out from the license server, some encrypted values will be stored in the registry that have information about permissions they have for the product. The clients can disconnect from the server and still use that software. The server will assign a license for the BORROWed computer so the license cannot be checked out.
  • If you use lmborrow.exe to BORROW a license, you can also use lmborrow.exe to return a license early.  Packages cannot be returned, so you must individually return each borrowed feature.
  • After using a BORROW license, if checking out a license (locally or from a server) you may need to remove the expired BORROW license from the registry. To do this, delete the data in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\FLEXlm License Manager\Borrow registry key that corresponds with your application. 



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