Floating License Troubleshooting

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated

Migrating a Floating License Server

Please see our article How to Migrate Floating License Servers for complete information on migrating a floating license server.

  • Disclaimer: Floating Licenses Only!
    Before proceeding, confirm that you are licensing FME with a floating license and not a fixed license. If you are having trouble with a fixed license please see the article on Fixed License Troubleshooting
  • How to Setup Your Floating License Server (FlexLM)
    Complete instructions for setting up your floating license server are found in the FME Installation and Licensing Guide. Please ensure you have followed these steps before trying further troubleshooting. The floating license server installer can be found on our downloads page
  • Please be aware that the floating license server does not have to be on the same computer as FME and does not have to be on the same operating system as FME. Floating license servers can be run on a virtual machine as long as the VM's MAC address does not change.


Initial Investigation

1. Run the Troubleshooting Report

Before diving deeply into the cause of your floating license server issues, it is highly recommended that you run the FlexNetTroubleshoot.bat file (attached to this article) on your floating license server. This file will neatly collect much of the relevant information required to investigate the issue. Please refer to this guide to learn more about the results of the batch file.

2. Is the license file in the correct location?

If you have recently acquired a floating license, please ensure that it is placed in the Flexserver folder on the license server. The Flexserver folder is C:\Program Files\FlexServer.

3. Are you running the most recent version of the license manager?

It's always beneficial to keep the license manager up to date, and it's a very good first step if you are experiencing any floating licensing problems. The most recent version can be obtained from our downloads page - please compare the release version on this page to the version that you have installed to check if you are running an up to date version of FlexLM.

4. Is your hostname and hostid still valid?

If you check the batch file under the ‘safe.lic Comparison’ heading, confirm that the hostname and hostid of the machine aligns with the information in the license file. If there is a mismatch, please request a new floating license file here.

5. Have you renamed the safe.lic file?

Everything looks good in the license file, and it is located in the correct location, but the license server doesn’t recognize the file. This could be an issue if the new safe.lic file has been renamed (e.g. safe_new.lic or newlicense.lic). FlexLM is looking for a file named safe.lic, and only safe.lic. It won’t recognize safe_new.lic etc. The solution is to make sure the new license file is named safe.lic, and if you would like to keep the old license file please move the old license to a different folder location.

6. Have you tried restarting the floating license server?

If you have recently obtained a new license file, or have made some changes to the license server, it is always worth trying to restart the license server (a machine reboot), or at least restarting the license server service through LMTOOLS by clicking ‘Stop Server’ and then ‘Start Server’:


Note the ‘Force Server Shutdown’ checkbox. Please try checking this box if the initial ‘Stop Server’ attempt fails - it may be that there is a rogue lmgrd.exe process that is preventing the server from shutting down. Checking this box will ensure a total service stop.

Floating License Server Connection Issues

If you receive a diagnostic error in the Licensing Assistant that suggests that the client machine is unable to connect to the floating license server, then some additional investigations are required.


1. Have you installed license services for other programs on the same machine?

If the same machine acts as the license server with FME and another program (usually ArcGIS or AutoDesk) also installed, then it is possible that FME is not able to be licensed on the same machine until specific ports are specified in the license file. To resolve this issue, please see: ArcGIS and FME on same FlexLM license server and Specify Port Numbers Used by FlexLM.

If specifying a port in the license file fails to resolve the issue, then it may be a firewall issue.


2. Is a firewall blocking connections to/from the License Server?

If you have a firewall set up in their office, it may be the case that certain application traffic is not allowed through. You will see an error in the licensing assistant diagnostics along the lines of “Could not open standard port 27000” and so on until it tries up to 27009. In this scenario, a good test for connectivity is to use Telnet client on the client side machine (the machine unable to connect).

To resolve this issue, please follow this article to specify port numbers in your license file on the floating license server. After updating the license file, ensure that the 2 port numbers are added to your firewall exceptions list.

3. Are there previous .dat files present on your client machine?

If you have updated your floating license, there may be lingering .dat files from when the client machine last connected to the previous floating license. A .dat file is a local license file created for the client machine when it first connects to the floating license server to prevent the Licensing Assistant from popping up every time you start FME. The old .dat files may be causing a problem due to a name change with the editions for the product (e.g. the current Database Edition was previously referred to as the Oracle Edition).


The resolution for this issue is to delete the .dat files from your machine and then re-run the licensing assistant. The .dat files may be in the following locations (in order of likelihood):

  • C:\ProgramData\Safe Software\FME\Licenses
  • C:\Program Files\FME\licenses
  • C:\Users\\Documents\FME\Licenses
  • C:\apps\FME\licenses

FME on macOS stores the licenses in /Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/FME/Licenses/

FME on Linux stores the licenses in ~/.fme/Licenses/

Note: The .dat files may be hidden on your machine so be sure to show hidden files.

Using Telnet to test your connection

Even if the server responded to a ping, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is communicating correctly. I would recommend trying using Telnet to test the communication between the client machines and the license server.

  • To activate Telnet on Windows, enter the Control Panel --> Programs and Features --> Turn Windows features on or off --> check the box next to Telnet Client.

  • Open the command prompt (as Administrator), and type telnet [domainname or ip] [port], where [domainname or ip] is the domain name or IP address of the server to which you are trying to connect and [port] is the port number where the license server is listening.
  • A full list of telnet commands is available from Microsoft Documentation: Telnet Commands
  • If the command prompt goes black, then the communication went through without error. If it hangs, or you see text remaining on the screen, the Telnet request failed and there is a communications issue between the client and the license server.”
  • For Windows Server OS, please see this webpage from Microsoft.


If Telnet Fails

If the Telnet step fails, we know that the next step is to figure out why communication is failing.

If there is a firewall in place, the next step is specifying a port for the FME license service to run on, and adding a firewall exception for that port. Another option is to allow an inbound application based rule for both lmgrd.exe and safe.exe. 

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