Activation Error When Trying to Activate NI Software

Updated Mar 11, 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".
  • When trying to activate my software I receive a message saying "serial number is invalid for the product".


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.
    • Additionally, service packs are licenses separately. A serial number for LabVIEW 2015 will not activate LabVIEW 2015 SP1.
    • 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.

Activation Code

  • Make sure that the activation code is made for the computer ID of the computer you are activating on. Your computer ID can be found in NI License Manager 4.0 by clicking Computer Information.
  • Make sure that you or NI have created an activation code using a serial number correctly matching the version and software name you have installed. Similarly to activating with serial numbers, SP1 releases are considered separate versions, so an activation code generated for LabVIEW 2017 SP1 will not activate LabVIEW 2017 and vice versa.
    • You can create an activation code yourself at NI Product Activation or by contacting National instruments. 

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. 

If you have followed the steps above and are still receiving an "Activation Error":
  • Uninstalling and then reinstalling your software may fix the issue in some occasions.
  • Ensure that the software you are activating with the activation code is successfully installed on your machine.
  • Ensure that you are using the latest version of NI License Manager.


Additional Information

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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