Activation Error When Trying to Activate NI Software

Updated May 28, 2020

Reported In


  • NI License Manager
  • Volume License Manager

Issue Details

  • After installing National Instruments (NI) software and trying to activate it in NI License Manager, I receive an "Activation Error".
  • I received a LabVIEW corruption error when activating LabVIEW Student Edition with a valid 20-digit activation code. How do I fix this?
  • LabVIEW recently started opening in Evaluation Mode. I entered my serial number, but I receive an "Activation Error." 
  • When trying to activate my software I receive a message saying "Serial number is invalid for the product. Connection error. Check your internet connection and try again. If this problem persists, contact NI support"
  • I'm getting an "Activation Error" for the LabVIEW Real-Time Module. However, all other installed packages were successfully activated using my serial number.
  • I am getting an "Invalid Activation Code Error" when trying to activate LabVIEW using my University student serial number.
  • I am trying to activate LabVIEW and I get the following error:


Before you can activate NI's software, make sure that it is installed on your machine and that the license you purchased includes the software product you are trying to activate. 

There are three ways to Activate National Instruments Software Products: with a serial number, an activation code, or a volume license agreement. Depending on which method you are using, follow these steps:

Serial Number

  • Make sure you are connected to the internet.
  • Make sure your serial number is correct for the software version you are trying to activate. A software name and version can be seen in full in NI License Manager by selecting Local Licenses.
    • For example: A serial number for LabVIEW Professional Development System 2017 will produce an Activation Error if you are trying to activate LabVIEW Base Development System 2017.
    • A serial number for LabVIEW 20xx will not activate LabVIEW 20xx SP1. Note: If you already installed LabVIEW 20xx SP1 and want to activate LabVIEW 20xx, you will have to uninstall LabVIEW 20xx SP1 then reinstall LabVIEW 20xx.
  • In rare occasions serial numbers on shipped packaging can be incorrect. Check other sources, like quotes and order confirmations, to see if different serial numbers corresponding to the same product can be found.
  • Student Install Option (SIO) serial numbers change every year, so if the number you are using is from a previous year it will have expired. To obtain the current serial number please contact the software administrator for your academic site.
  • If this method does not work, or if you do not have internet access, try the "Activation Code" method below.

Activation Code

Volume License Agreement

  • If your company has a Volume License Agreement, the above two methods will not activate your products. Please follow these steps to access a volume license server from a client machine.
  • This will require the server name, the server network name, or the server IP address. If you do not know any of these items, please contact your company's software administrator for more information. The software administrator's contact information can be found on NI License Manager in the Network Licenses tab under the Administrator section on the left hand side. 
  • If you have a user-based license, you will need to contact your software administrator to be added as a user for the network license. 

Additional Troubleshooting Steps:

If you have gone through the troubleshooting steps above and are still receiving an "Activation Error", try the following:

Additional Information

In unique cases your serial number may not reference all of the activatable products. This is due to a migration of serial numbers. To resolve this issue, please contact NI Support

If you recently purchased software online, the serial number may not be associated with the activatable products immediately. Please wait 24 hours and try activating your software again.

The screenshot below shows NI License Manager in the Local Licenses tab showing the user has LabVIEW Base Development System 2017 installed.