The Pros & Cons of CodeMeter License Borrowing

First some background

ArchiCAD requires a hardware protection key to run in unlimited “full” or “commercial” mode.

There have been different types of these hardware protection key over the years. Currently the full commercial version of ArchiCAD is licensed using WibuKey or CodeMeter hardware protection, allowing full functionality of the software. CodeMeter is currently the latest “model”. It is a USB device with a shiny metal body.

The previous “model” was called a Wibukey. The earlier version had a parallel port interface for PC or ADB port interface for Mac, with time a USB interface was introduced. Both the parallel port and USB version had a green plastic body.

Introduction to CodeMeter: 

CodeMeter key was introduced with ArchiCAD 13 in year 2009.

Changes in Software Protection System from ArchiCAD 13

For new ArchiCAD users, GRAPHISOFT provides the new CodeMeter protection key (developed by WIBU) with ArchiCAD 13+. Like the familiar WIBU-key protection system, you can use it to transfer the license from one machine to another.
If you use the CodeMeter NET key, you have the option to purchase the license borrowing feature from your ArchiCAD distributor. This feature lets users borrow a license for a limited time, without having to transfer the physical network protection key itself. Consult your distributor for details on how to purchase the various types of borrowable licenses.

CodeMeter can still run ArchiCAD 10, 11 & 12. But to do this a CodeMeter Enabler needs to be downloaded and installed. Click here!

License Borrowing

The License Borrowing feature – available only with the CodeMeter NET protection system – allows individual users to “borrow” a license key temporarily if they will be going off-site, to enable use of the software even when the license server is not accessible – e.g. when visiting the client or on a business trip. This technology significantly reduces the risk of a lost or stolen hardware key.

The user can borrow a license with a single click using the ArchiCAD interface, and return it before it expires so that other users can access it.

You can purchase borrowable licenses with your NET key up to the number of ArchiCAD licenses available in the key. E.g. if you have a NET-10 key, you can make any or all of the 10 licenses borrowable.

There are two types of license borrowing:

CodeMeter “Act” (Soft) License Borrowing: The borrowed license is represented by a license file on your computer – this license file is specific to the computer and cannot be transferred to another computer. After the borrowing period the license will automatically be released to the server. The license can also be manually released before the borrowing period is up. This license type is recommended for laptop users who wish to travel without a physical hardware protection key.
CodeMeter “Key” License Borrowing: The license is borrowed into a physical CodeMeter hardware key. This is recommended for users who wish to take a license away to be used on their home (or any other) computer. The advantage of this compared to having a single-license hardware key is that losing the key does not mean losing the license, as borrowed licenses are automatically returned to the server after the expiration date.

CodeMeter “Act” (Soft) License Borrowing (CMA) and CodeMeter “Key” License Borrowing (CMK) are two different products. Only one type of borrowable license is allowed per CodeMeter NET key. If you want to buy both “Act” and “Key” borrowable licenses, you need to have 2 separate Codemeter NET keys – although we do NOT recommend having two NET keys in the same local network.

CodeMeter protection known issues Click here!

CodeMeter Error Codes Click here!

CodeMeter and License borrowing – “DO NOT”

As long as any of the licenses are in borrowed state,

  • do not uninstall the CodeMeter driver 
  • do not change the server computer’s IP address or hostname
  • do not reinstall the operating system on the server
  • do not transfer the key into an other computer even with the same network specification

All of these can be done after all licenses are returned and after the changes are made borrowing can be used again. If the server key has been already corrupted: contact your local distributor.


2 thoughts on “The Pros & Cons of CodeMeter License Borrowing

  1. Pingback: The Pros & Cons of CodeMeter License Borrowing | GRAPHISOFT ArchiCAD in SA

  2. Pingback: How to uninstall and reinstall CodeMeter or Wibukey drivers | Gideon's desk…

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