You may share your HydroCAD license(s) on a network (subject to the terms of the License
Agreement) by using the built-in "license pooling" mechanism. This
allows multiple users to share a smaller number of licenses.
Important: Each license may be shared
only on PC's at the site to which that license is registered. Under
the terms of the license agreement, licenses may
not be shared between multiple sites unless they are part of a special
multi-site floating license.
The license pooling mechanism is part of the standard HydroCAD program and
does not require any separate software. License pooling requires a shared
network folder that is accessible to each workstation that will use the license
pool. Each user must have full read, write, and create rights to this
folder. Other than standard file sharing, no other network protocols are
synchronization services like DropBox and Google Drive can not be
used for license pooling. These services work by synchronizing
files after they have been updated, rather than providing simultaneous
shared access to a common file. Use of these services for HydroCAD license
pooling does not meet the technical requirements and will not implement the
license sharing mechanism in a manner consistent with the License Agreement.
Setting up License Pooling
Step 1: Install HydroCAD on each PC where the program will be used. (Do
not install the software on a server or shared drive.)
Follow the regular installation process, exactly as you would for use on an
independent PC. There is no separate "network installation".
Administrators' tip: If you are preparing a script for
automatic installation on multiple computers, you may use "setup /silent" to
perform a silent installation on each PC.
Step 2: Start HydroCAD on any PC. The first time you run the program the serial number screen
will appear automatically. (If the screen does not appear, open it by selecting
Number.) Now click the Network button and browse to a shared
network folder where you would like to store the license information. (If
the folder does not already exist, you must create the folder in Windows before
it can be selected in HydroCAD.) Then
enter the serial number(s) to be shared and click OK. You should
also enter a password to protect your setup from inadvertent changes. When
done, you can exit from HydroCAD.
Important: If you are
administering HydroCAD for multiple locations, you must use a separate license
folder for each location. You may not pool separate locations
unless you have a multi-site floating license.
Step 3: Start HydroCAD on each additional PC where it will be used.
When the serial number screen appears, click the Network button and browse to the
same shared folder
specified above. When the
license information is found, the program will run immediately without
displaying the serial number(s). You do
not have to re-enter the serial number(s) or know the password in order to
configure the additional systems. If there will be multiple HydroCAD
users on a given PC, repeat this step for each user login.
Note: Each PC and user must use the exact same path (or UNC
name) to access the shared folder. If the path doesn't match, some
computers will not recognize the shared serial number(s).
Administrators' tip: You can automate this step by
preloading the location of the license folder into the registry key HKCU\Software\HydroCAD\Settings\LicPath
for each user. This will allow HydroCAD to start without further prompting
for license information. You can also use this registry key to specify a
hidden license folder that may not be visible with the Network button.
Starting with HydroCAD-10.0 build 17 you may preset a default license folder for
all users in HKLM\Software\HydroCAD\LicPath (on 32-bit systems) or
HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\HydroCAD\LicPath (on 64-bit systems). Note that this
value is a default value only for new users, and will not override any existing
users, which must be individually updated.
Step 4: If you previously had any of your licenses dedicated to an
individual PC, start HydroCAD on that PC, open the
Settings|Serial Number screen, click the Network
button, and select the shared license folder used in the previous steps.
This will cause that PC to use the shared license pool instead of the local
About the license file
Important: The license file must be established by entering the
serial numbers through HydroCAD as described above. For your security, the
HydroCAD license information is stored in an encrypted file which is keyed to
the drive where it is stored. The license file will not be recognized if it is copied, moved, or deployed by any other means. If you need
to move the information to a new drive or server, click the
Network button and select the new location. If the file is
moved by any other means it will no longer be recognized, and you will need to
re-enter your serial numbers.
Moving the license file
If you replace the computer (server) where the license file is located, you
can move the license file by clicking the Network
button and selecting the new file location. If the old license file is
still accessible HydroCAD will automatically move the license information to the
Important: Since the license file is "keyed" to it's original file location,
if the file is moved by any other means it will no longer be recognized by
HydroCAD, and you will have to manually re-enter the serial numbers.
After moving the license file, start HydroCAD on each additional PC and select the new license folder.
You do not have to re-enter the serial numbers on the additional PC's -
just select the new folder and HydroCAD will run immediately.
Can you send me a license file?
No. The license file is created and read only by HydroCAD as described
above. Because each file is locked to the drive on which it is created, no
one else can read a file created on your system, or create a file that will be
recognized on your system. Furthermore, there is never any need to manage
the license files by hand, since they are automatically created by HydroCAD
based on the information entered on the Settings | Serial
Shared serial numbers are not recognized?
If you are sharing your license(s) over a network, each PC must use
the same drive letter or UNC name to access the license information.
This is displayed at the bottom of the Settings|Serial Number
screen as shown in the red box at the right. Using a different folder
specification, even if it resolves to the same folder, will cause the license
pooling to fail. If any PC is using a different folder specification,
click the Network button and enter the correct
Each PC must also read the same volume label and drive serial number for the
If these details don't match, other computers will not be able to read the
license file and will display an empty serial number
form. To verify the drive information, double-click the license path at the bottom
of the Settings|Serial Number screen. (Shown
in the red box at the right.) This
will display a "Storage ID" like this:
Storage ID = C:\ 24EA-8EBC Boot Drive
The storage ID normally consists of the drive letter (or UNC name), the drive
serial number, and the volume label. These parameters can be verified by
executing a Windows VOL command on the drive letter or UNC name. In rare
cases, certain operating systems, servers, or file shares may omit one of
these parameters, causing the HydroCAD license sharing to fail.
To share licenses between Windows 98 and later versions (XP, Vista, etc), open the
Settings|Serial Number screen and uncheck the box labeled
"Lock serial number(s) to disk drive". You
only need to make this change on the computer(s) that you will use to enter
the serial numbers. Set a password to prevent other computers from
re-locking the serial number to the drive.
Note: For earlier versions of HydroCAD without this option, apply this registry patch
to the PC(s) where you plan to enter the serial numbers. (The patch does
not need to be applied to other PCs.) Then start HydroCAD on a patched PC
and verify that all serial numbers are present. Set a password to ensure
that no one disturbs your setup. When you click OK the title bar should
show the correct user count. All HydroCAD workstations should now be
"Unable to create HydroCAD user file in [folder]"
This message indicates that HydroCAD was unable to create the required user
file at startup. This file is used to keep track of the number of people
currently running HydroCAD. The user file is created in the same folder
used to store the HydroCAD serial number(s) in steps 1 and 2 above.
Each HydroCAD user must have full read, write, creation, and deletion rights to
all files in this folder, including files created by other users.
This error can occur if:
- The specified license folder no longer exists, -or-
- You no longer have network access to the folder, -or-
- You don't have write and delete access to the folder, -or-
- The drive is full, preventing you from creating a new file.
- There are file access issues on a
Novell Netware server.
To correct the situation:
- Restore full network access to the folder.
- If the folder was deleted, re-create the folder.
- If you cannot restore access to the folder, select the button to
reset the license folder, or delete the
registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\HydroCAD\Settings\LicPath
You should now be able to start
HydroCAD. If no serial numbers are present in the license folder, the serial number
screen will open automatically. Re-enter your serial number(s), or click
the Network button to select a different license folder. If
serial numbers are already present, you can use Settings|Serial Number to
open the screen and change the license folder.
Note: The automatic license-sharing mechanism requires a license folder that
is always available to each user. If you enable license
sharing for a laptop computer, you will only be able to run HydroCAD while it is
connected to the network. If you plan to run HydroCAD without a network
connection, you must leave the license folder on a local drive and implement
your own procedures to ensure that you don't exceed the maximum number of licensed
For further information please read about HydroCAD
installation, shared data files, and