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: Under the
terms of the license agreement, each license may be shared
only on PC's at the physical site to which that license is registered.
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 software and
does not require any separate software. License pooling requires only a shared
network folder that is accessible to each PC that will use the
license pool. Other than standard file sharing, no other network protocols
License pooling is normally employed on a local network of Windows PC's, but
may also be used on virtual or terminal environments by following the exact same
instructions on this page.
Any deviation from
these procedures and requirements will render the license pooling system
inoperative and may put you in non-compliance with the HydroCAD license agreement.
Please follow these instructions carefully.
Setting up License Pooling
Step 1: Designate a shared network folder to contain the
HydroCAD license information. If a suitable folder doesn't already exist
you can create a new one. All HydroCAD users must have full read, write,
and create rights to this folder, including the right to modify and delete files
created by other users. The folder must be accessible to all HydroCAD
users by the same UNC (such as \\server1\hydrocad\license)
or you can assign a drive letter and use a path (such as
All users must access the license folder by the exact same path or UNC;
otherwise, the license pooling mechanism will fail.
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.
HydroCAD will automatically create and manage the files in
this folder as required. These files must never be modified or
moved by hand, since this will render the license pool inoperative. You do
not need to install a "license file", which is created automatically by
If you are deploying HydroCAD in a virtual or terminal
environment, you must still designate a real, permanent license folder as
described in this step.
Synchronized folders 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
Step 2: Install HydroCAD on at least one PC.
Run the setup program and select "Standard Installation". There is no
separate "network installation". Do
not install the software on a server or shared drive.
If you are intending to deploy HydroCAD on a virtual or
terminal environment, you must still perform at least one installation on a
standard PC for the purposes of entering the license information in the next
Step 3: Start HydroCAD on any one 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
select the license folder designated in step 1. Then
enter all the serial number(s) to be shared, each on a separate line. You should
also enter a password to protect your setup from inadvertent changes.
Finally, click Ok to save the serial numbers to the designated license folder.
After you click OK, examine the HydroCAD title bar to be sure
it indicates the correct number of users and nodes. If the information is
correct you can exit from HydroCAD on this first PC.
Step 4: Install HydroCAD on each additional PC where it
will be used. Run the setup program and select "Standard Installation".
If you use a script for automatic installation on multiple computers
you may use "setup /silent" to perform a silent installation on each PC.
If you are using a terminal or VM environment you can clone
the working installation created in steps 2 and 3, including the applicable
registry settings. But remember that the license folder must never
be copied or virtualized. All installations must access the original,
real, license folder and not a copy.
Step 5: Start HydroCAD on each additional PC.
When the serial number screen appears do not re-enter the serial
numbers. Instead, click the Network button and browse to the
shared license folder
designated in step 1. When the
license information is found, HydroCAD will run immediately without
displaying the serial number screen. You do
not have to re-enter the serial number(s) or know the password in order to
configure the additional systems - just select the license folder.
If HydroCAD doesn't recognize the serial numbers previously
entered in step 3, stop and make sure you're using the exact same path or
UNC used in step 3. Do not re-enter the serial number(s) on
subsequent PC's, since this behavior indicates a difference in the license paths
that must be resolved in order to use license pooling. For details see "Shared
serial numbers not recognized", below.
If there will be multiple HydroCAD
users on a given PC, repeat this step for each user login.
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.
If you are running HydroCAD in a VM and receive "warning 115
More recent serial number skipped", Windows may be misreporting the version
number of the hydrocad.exe file. This can happen if you attempt to deploy
HydroCAD without running the standard setup program and you don't provide the
appropriate compatibility details in your deployment. Customers have reported
good results using "installed-permanent layer 1" for the Windows VM.
Step 6: 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 network license folder designated in step 1.
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 HydroCAD 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.
Administrators' tip: If you prefer, you can designate
the new license folder by updating the registry key HKCU\Software\HydroCAD\Settings\LicPath
for each user. This eliminates the need to launch HydroCAD on each PC.
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)
as designated in step 1 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
use this file to clear
the registry setting.
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
How do I recover my password?
The Settings|Serial Number screen includes the option to set a
user-defined password. We encourage the system administrator to set a
password in order to prevent unauthorized changes to your license information.
This password is completely independent of any download password that may have
been issued with your software.
If your password is lost or forgotten, it cannot be recovered. However,
you can reset your password by deleting the hydrocad.hcl file
which is located in the shared license folder designated in Step 1, above. After
deleting the file, start HydroCAD on any one PC and re-enter your serial number(s).
No changes are required to the individual HydroCAD installations, which should
still be pointed to the original license folder and will run without further
action as soon as the serial numbers have been re-entered from a single PC. Details
For further information please read about HydroCAD
installation, shared data files, and