How to Properly Activate BarTender 2019 (and newer) on Multiple Computers Follow

Jenni Corbus

BarTender Content Team


You want to install and activate BarTender on multiple computers. You successfully activated the software on one computer by entering the Product Key Code (PKC) for your license, but when you try to activate a second computer by the same method, the Activation Wizard responds that the PKC is already in use, and you must deactivate it on the other computer first.


BarTender 2019 and newer versions, any edition



In all editions of BarTender 2019 and newer, one license can be used to activate BarTender on multiple computers, as long as the printer count for those computers does not exceed the amount specified on your license. However, the process for activating BarTender on the additional computers is different from for the first one.

Some steps in this process require administrative access to the computers where BarTender is being installed and activated. If you cannot log on as a local administrator, you may need assistance from your IT team to complete the process.

To give a quick summary, the computer where the Product Key Code is entered during activation becomes the license host (also called a license server). If license sharing is enabled, this computer will "broadcast" the license information over the network for other computers to use. Once the first computer is activated, the other computers (often referred to as clients) would access the license by searching for it on the network, not by trying to activate it themselves.

The process given below starts from the beginning with instructions for activating a brand-new BarTender license. If your license is already in use, and you just want to activate BarTender on an additional computer, skip to step 3.

1.  Choose a computer to host the license

  • Choose a computer that is highly available for other computers to connect to. In an Enterprise environment, this will likely be a separate server; for a smaller office, a stationary computer that is always on during business hours would also work. On the other hand, a laptop that travels away from the company network frequently would not be optimal.
  • Install BarTender on the host computer and activate it here first.
    • If the Licensing Wizard does not automatically start, launch the Administration Console app, click on Licensing in the list to the left, then select Activate New License.
    • Enter the Product Key Code to activate the software. Before closing the wizard, check the "Share license" box to ensure that other users can connect to it.
    • If the license was already activated on a different computer, deactivate it in Administration Console there, then activate it on the license host.
  • For more detailed instructions for these steps, please see the following articles:

2.  On the license host computer: verify license sharing settings

  • If BarTender is already activated on the license host, and you know that license sharing has been enabled, skip to Step 3. If you are not certain whether the license is shared, or you are troubleshooting a connectivity issue, continue with these instructions.
  • Open the Administration Console app and select License Setup on the list to the left.
  • Click on the computer name, then click on the license to display more information about license usage.
  • At the bottom of this list, click on User Access Control to display the access control rules.
  • To allow anyone on the network to use this license, the rule should be set to Allow - Everyone - Everywhere. If necessary, click on the pencil to the right to edit the rule. (If you prefer, you can also set rules here to restrict it to specific users, groups, or locations.)
  • Note the IP address, server name, and port number for the license server computer - you may need this information in a later step.
  • When the access setting is correct, click OK in the lower right to save the changes and close Administration Console.

3. On the client computer(s): search for the license on the network

  • If you have not already done so, install BarTender on this computer. The Activation Wizard will start when you open any BarTender app.
  • Instead of entering the PKC, select "Search license on the network", then click Refresh on the next screen. The list will usually show any BarTender licenses that are being shared. Click on the desired license and select Next, then continue through the dialog to complete the activation process.
  • If the license is not automatically detected, go Back and select Search for Existing License. Enter the computer name or IP address of the license host, make sure the correct port number is specified, and click Search. When the license is located, select it and click Next, then continue through the dialog to complete the activation process.
  • If the license is still not found, try the following:
    • Verify the license host's IP address and port number in the Licensing panel of the Administration Console app. Then try the "Search for Existing License" option again.
    • Re-check the sharing settings on the license host as described in Step 2. A common mistake is to change the User Access Control settings for license administration instead of license access. The correct UAC setting is in the License Setup panel. (If you changed the UAC settings in the Licensing panel by mistake, be sure to change them back as well!)
    • Ask your IT team or network administrator to check if network port 5160 (or the port specified on the license host) is being blocked by a firewall or other security software.

Still unable to activate?

Contact Technical Support for further assistance.


Solutions for other activation issues



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