Activation Error When Trying to Activate NI Software

Updated Aug 30, 2019

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 valid 20-digit activation code. How do I fix this?
  • LabVIEW recently started opening in Evaluation Mode. I entered my serial number, but the result is "Activation Error." How do I fix this?
  • When trying to activate my software I receive a message saying "serial number is invalid for the product".
  • I'm getting an "Activation Error" for the LabVIEW Real-Time module. However, all other installed packages were successfully activated using my serial number.


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 products you are trying to activate. Then, determine which of the three activation methods you would like to use.

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 4.0 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.
    • Service packs are licensed separately. A serial number for LabVIEW 2015 will not activate LabVIEW 2015 SP1. Note: If you already installed LabVIEW 20xx SP1 and want to activate the LabVIEW 20xx (non-SP1), you will have to uninstall LabVIEW 20xx SP1 then reinstall LabVIEW 20xx (non-SP1) in order to be able to activate the non-SP1 version of LabVIEW.
    • 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.
    • 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. With NI License Manager 4.0, you may also find the software administrator's contact information at NI License Manager 4.0 >> Network Licenses and refer to the Administrator section on the left hand side. 
  • If you have a user-based license, you will need to contact your software admin 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

The screenshot below shows NI License Manager 4.0 in the Local Licenses tab showing the user has LabVIEW Base Development System 2017 installed. 



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