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Emergency License

Gabor Almasi

What is Emergency License?

Emergency License is a 7-day temporary license that users can access if, during a hardware key replacement process, the original (source) key has been deleted, but the new (target) key was not successfully programmed. Emergency License is a feature of Archicad, implemented in all versions since Archicad 17. Archicad automatically offers the Emergency License option if no other licenses are available, and Archicad was used with a qualifying Protection Key previously on that computer. Delivery of the Emergency License is through the web. The delivered license resides in a CodeMeter Software Key. Users do not have to pre-register to the service and no personal information has to be provided when the service is used.

Key features of the emergency license:

  • Archicad automatically offers this option if Archicad is launched with no Protection Key available, but Archicad was used the last time with an eligible key.
  • Emergency License is delivered through the web. It does not require the user to pre-register to the service or to fill out any forms.
  • Emergency License works for 7 days. The user can use this time to take care of the replacement of the protection key.
  • Emergency License is available 2 times per full Archicad license. (Giving a maximum of 10 days to sort out the problem with programing the new key.)


The eligibility for Emergency License solely depends on the content of the “Last Used Key” - key that was last used on the computer. A qualifying key has the following features:
  • Archicad 17, 18, 19, 20 or 21 COMMERCIAL FULL or SOLO edition; START edition 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Key is participating in a hardware key replacement or reconfiguration process
  • Such Key was used in the past 30 days on the computer
The eligibility criteria are evaluated on the “Obtain Emergency License” website based on the information provided by Archicad. The user does not have to provide any personal information or fill out any forms.

Content of Emergency Licenses

The content of the Emergency License is based on the license information of the “Last Used Key”. An Emergency License may contain:
  • A SINGLE Archicad license – the version matching the last used key
  • A SINGLE license to any Add-on that was on the key.


When Archicad operates normally using a hardware Protection Key, it stores the serial number of the key on the computer in an encrypted format. We refer to this data as the “Last Used Key”. When Archicad is started, but no license is available, Archicad checks if there is “Last Used Key” information available on the computer from the past 30 days, and if Internet connection is available. If those conditions are met, Archicad communicates with the Emergency License Web Service to decide if the Last Used Key is eligible for an Emergency License. If the server response is positive, then Archicad offers the “Use temporary license” option in the “Archicad License was not found” dialog that appears right after the startup screen.
To activate an Emergency License on the computer, the user needs an Activation Code. An Activation Code can be generated on the “Obtain Emergency License” website. A link to this website is provided for the user in Archicad.
After a valid Activation Code is entered, Archicad downloads a 7-day Emergency License on the user’s computer.
After restarting Archicad, it will start in Full Commercial mode using the Emergency License. The number of the days remaining on the Emergency License is displayed every time Archicad is started.

Forwarding Activation Codes

Users can obtain an Emergency License Activation Code on the ‘Obtain Emergency License’ website following the steps described in the Workflow section. This website is only available from Archicad, since the content of the website depends on information sent by Archicad in the background.
Activation Codes however are not computer-specific – once they are created, they can be used on any other computer. This enables the following workflows:
  • IT/BIM managers starts Archicad on their own computer and obtains an Activation Code. Instead of using this activation code on their own computer, they can choose to send it via email to another user, who can create an Emergency License on another computer using this code.
  • The Activation Code can be used on any computer, even if Archicad was never run before on that computer. In this case obviously the “Last Used Key” information does not exist, and the Emergency License option is not offered when Archicad starts. Archicad however can be started in Demo mode, and in the “License Information” dialog box there is a command called “Enter Activation Code” where the code can be used and the Emergency License downloaded. After re-starting Archicad, it will now run in commercial mode using the Emergency License.

Supported Archicad versions

  • Archicad 17 FULL Hotfix 4 (build 5005) or higher
  • Archicad 18 FULL (all builds)
  • Archicad 19 FULL (all builds)
  • Archicad 20 FULL (all builds)
  • Archicad 21 FULL (all builds)
  • Archicad 17 SOLO (build 5009 or higher)
  • Archicad 18 SOLO (all builds)
  • Archicad 19 SOLO (all builds)
  • Archicad 20 SOLO (all builds)
  • Archicad 21 SOLO (all builds)
  • STAR(T) edition 2014 build 5005 or higher
  • STAR(T) edition 2015 (all builds)
  • STAR(T) edition 2016 (all builds)
  • STAR(T) edition 2017 (all builds)

Hi. If I now have a permanent licence, how do I remove the emergency licence and switch over to the permanent one?




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