Install / Activate FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and Answers

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This page applies to all current Release 9 and Release 8 builds. For the activation process used in deprecated builds, see the Legacy Activation FAQ web page.

Manifold® product licenses are licensed for standard Windows installations on physical machines. Manifold product licenses are not licensed for virtual machines. Likewise, Manifold products are not licensed for time sharing nor can a single Manifold product license be used on more than one machine at the same time.

When installing or activating a Manifold product license, you must have a standard Windows operating system installed. Some registry "protectors," third party uninstall programs, network supervisors and other "value added" supervisory programs running on top of Windows may interfere with the installation and/or activation process.

Useful Links

Pages especially useful for installation and activation:

  • Status Page - Get status on a serial number to see what product it authorizes, the status of activations, whether it has been revoked.
  • Activation Guide - A quick, step by step, guide to activating an installation.
  • About Activation - A quick discussion about how activations grow back after use, so they can be used again and again.
  • Installation and Activation - Step by step, Release 9 User Manual topic with great illustrations. Release 8 works the same way.
  • Activation Troubleshooting - Provides a quick troubleshooting checklist that solves 99% of activation problems.
  • Activation Support - How to contact tech support for priority assistance with any serial number or activation question. No tech support token is required for activation questions using the given procedure. Activation questions for Runtime licenses require a developer level support token.
  • Product Downloads - Download the latest installations for the current release of Manifold System.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

I don't understand any of this. I'm not technical, I just inherited this. Can I get tech support to do all of this for me? No. Tech support charges support tokens (which you must buy) to provide specific answers to specific questions, but that is not a realistic route to take for people who are not at all technical. A better idea is to enlist a more technical colleague or hire a consultant with appropriate skills to assist you. None of this is rocket science but it does take some basic familiarity with computers

I lost my serial number. What can I do? Can you help? Losing your serial number means you have lost your license. If you do not have a valid Manifold product serial number you can procure a license on the Online Store to obtain a serial number. If you lost your serial number, you may or may not be able to recover it by purchasing a Key Recovery service product.

I don't remember, or, I don't have any information about when our Manifold product license was obtained, who ordered it, what email address was used or any of that stuff. How can I get a serial number? By buying a fresh license at the regular price. If you do not have the information required to use a Key Recovery service product, you'll have to buy a new license.

My partner and I have split and I no longer have the serial number or required information. Can you send me the serial number? No.

Our former employee left the company and neglected to tell anyone the serial numbers and other information. What can we do? If you have the information required to use a Key Recovery service product you can use the appopriate service. If you do not have that necessary information you must acquire new licenses.

If I upgrade to a new Windows version will I need to use another activation? That depends on how different the new Windows version is. Transitioning from Windows 8 to Windows 10 did not require re-activation, but future Windows versions may require re-activation. That is why a Manifold product license provides multiple activations that grow back over time.

Someone else got my Manifold product license for me and Manifold tech support will not assist me with activation. How do I get assistance with activation? Contact whoever got your license for you for assistance. If that is not an option, then carefully read the links above and this page and with 99.999% certainty you will find the answer you seek, almost certainly in the first three links above. If you are in an organization the designated licensee is the sole and exclusive contact with Manifold. Manifold will only support the original licensee using the original email to which serial numbers were sent.

One of our employees wasted a few activations. Can those be restored? No. It is unfortunate an employee used a serial number contrary to the wishes of your organization, but that is not a matter in which Manifold intervenes. Activations grow back, as discussed in the About Activation page, so it is not like crashing the company jet. It is only a matter of time before the activations are available again.

How do I transfer my Manifold product license from one computer to a different computer? Easy: Install the product on the new computer and then use your serial number to activate it. When the product is activated, Manifold's servers will update the license record to de-activate use on the former computer.

How can I tell if Manifold has been activated on my machine? Easy: launch Manifold and if it launches without showing an Activation dialog the Manifold product license on your machine has been activated. You can see what serial number was used for the license by launching the Help - About dialog.

I acquired my Manifold product license and received a serial number a long time ago. Can I still install Manifold System? Yes, if it hasn't been so many years that the Manifold product version you licensed is still supported by Manifold, with installation downloads available. Install and launch the product and use your serial number to activate it.

I received my serial number a long time ago and never got around to installing Manifold. Can I still activate my license? Yes, if it hasn't been so many years that the Manifold product version you licensed is still supported by Manifold, with installation downloads available. Install and launch the product and use your serial number to activate it.

Note that re-activation of old or obsolete product versions may not continue to be supported once future versions of the product are released. Although Manifold may voluntarily support use of activation keys for outdated Manifold product versions for some reasonable period of time (such as three years) licensees should not expect such support to continue forever.

The serial number Status Page says my serial number has been revoked. Why would that be? There are several reasons why a serial number might be revoked. The most common are:

  • Has your serial number been traded in for an upgrade or upgrade credit? When new product generations are announced, Manifold often has special promotions where trading the serial number for the old version gets a discount on the new version. In such cases the old serial number is revoked. Use the new serial number obtained by trade in.
  • Did the credit card holder who paid for your license issue a chargeback, attempt to reverse a payment or raise any dispute regarding payment? If so, the serial number has been revoked. As they say, "no pay, no play!"
  • Have you violated the EULA? For example, if your serial number appears in a public forum such as an Internet posting or in hacker lists of serial numbers used to steal software it will be revoked.
  • If you obtained your serial number from a third party, you have trusted that third party not to cheat or otherwise do something that will get your serial number revoked. For example, if that third party used their credit card to obtain the license they passed on to you and then they attempt to reverse charges your serial number will be revoked.
  • Important: It is up to licensees to keep track of which serial numbers they have upgraded. If you are the original licensee and you have not kept track of upgrades, Manifold tech support is happy to investigate and report to you why the serial number has been revoked; however, that will automatically cost one standard tech support token.

I entered my serial number into the Activation dialog but activation did not work. Check the obvious first, including the Troubleshooting page link at the top of this topic:

  • Does the computer have a live Internet connection? You must have a live Internet connection to activate.
  • Is any software installed that would prevent the Manifold product license from contacting Manifold's activation servers?
  • Did you correctly enter the serial number? Use Copy and Paste from the original serial number email sent to you by Manifold to avoid typographic errors. Do not make any changes in the serial number. For example, do not remove hyphens, and do not change upper case to lower case. Do not use a version of the serial number that may have been edited by word processing software that automatically does "smart" editing to change the characters used for hyphens or which makes any other changes. Use Copy and Paste from the original serial number email sent to you by Manifold.
  • Did you obtain the serial number from Manifold? If you obtained your license and serial number from a third party it might not be a valid serial number.
  • Is your system date set accurately? If your system date is set to a date and time in 2004 the activation process knows something is bogus.
  • Have you activated on a different system in the last 24 hours? After activating on one system, you must wait at least 24 hours before using that serial number to activate a different computer system.
  • Are you trying to use a serial number issued for a different Manifold product? To activate Manifold Release 9 you must use a Manifold Release 9 serial number.

I activated my license and it ran OK but now it has suddenly stopped working and has raised the Activation dialog. I have installed no new programs or made any changes to my computer. What is the problem? Something has de-activated the license on your computer. The most common reasons:

  • Is your computer system still connected to Internet with a connection that allows it to contact Manfold's servers from time to time? If the installed license cannot confirm authorization status every week or two it will sooner or later no longer launch.
  • Are you using a different login? If so, just activate again and no additional activation will be used since it is still the same system.
  • Has the same serial number been used to activate the license on a different computer system? If so, installations on all other computers for that serial number are no longer authorized.
  • Has the system date been changed to some improbable time in the past? Older computers can have unstable clocks, so you might find your system date is not today's date. Reset the clock to today's date to solve the problem.
  • You are utilizing virtualization software and have forgotten that each such virtual machine is a different machine: bring those machines into existence and out of existence, or change to a different virtual machine and you are indeed changing to a different computer.
  • Installing on a machine that is hosted by an ISP or in the cloud almost always means you've installed on a virtual machine in the hosting service, or on a physical machine that the operator might change without telling you. Such machines can be stable for a long time but one day when the operator decides to shuffle infrastructure, your installations might be transferred to a different machine, either a different virtual machine (the usual case) or a different physical machine. You'll need to activate the license on that new machine.
  • There has indeed been a change in your Windows system that can affect activation status. For the same reason people don't realize when they get hit with a virus, it is easily possible that without realizing it you have installed some program or virus that has changed things. Some viruses make significant alterations in the registry and elsewhere as part of attempting to prevent anti-virus software from eradicating them, and such viruses can affect activation due to the havoc they wreak upon Windows.
  • There has been a serious change in your hardware or intermittent failure of key components. If you have changed your hardware significantly, like changing the motherboard or similar, use one of your activations to re-activate.
  • Setting aside the obvious case of someone who changes hard disks, changes the motherboard, upgrades the CPU, and still insists "I've made no changes," there can occur very serious changes in hardware that users might not realize have happened. Especially with aging laptops it might be the case that your hard disk or disk controller or motherboard is failing in a way that has blotted out key sectors on your disk. This is rare, but possible. Use the usual Windows software to check the disk, and go back to a restore point before damage.

Unfortunately, given the inherent complexities of such scenarios it is up to you to debug what is going on with your system. If you are sure the hardware is not failing, the best course to recover from chaos caused by unknown programs or viruses is to re-format the hard disk, to reload Windows from original Microsoft media (to avoid infected backups), to install enterprise-grade antivirus software with current virus definitions and then finally to restore data and programs from backup media after careful screening for viruses. You can then re-install SQL for ArcGIS Pro and re-activate.

Can I upgrade my computer system without re-installing and activating? As long as you don't make major changes in hardware or software, probably yes. Simple upgrades such as adding a new graphics card will normally not require a re-installation or activation. Some changes in hardware, like replacing a hard disk, probably will require re-installation and activation. The only way to know for sure is to try.

Can I upgrade Windows without re-installing Manifold? Routine updates of Windows 10 to date have not affected activation. Installing a completely new version of Windows may require a re-installation and activation.

Can I remove and re-install a Manifold product without a new activation? Yes. Even if you remove a Manifold product, on the next installation of that same product, the system will know that you have already activated that product, so it will not require a new activation. This assumes, of course, that you have not made any changes to your system in between the uninstall and the re-install that would wipe out activation, like changing the motherboard, CPU, and disks.

Can I move a Manifold product license from one computer to a different computer without using up an activation? No. Moving a Manifold product license to a new computer will use an activation.

Can I install a new build for a Manifold product license without activating again? Yes. The system will "remember" the previous activation.

What if I do not uninstall from an old machine when moving to a new machine? No problem. Moving a license to a new machine simply requires installation and activation on that new machine. Within a short period of time the license on the old machine will no longer launch.

I acquired my Manifold product license from a reseller and have not received a serial number. Can Manifold help me? No. If you acquired your Manifold product license from a third party and have not received your serial number you must contact the third party to resolve the difficulty. Manifold will not intervene in any dispute between you and a third party. Manifold does not enter into any special agreements with any dealers or distributors to represent the company so any third party who offers to transfer a Manifold product license to you is acting on their own.

What happens if my serial number is revoked? If your serial number is cancelled or revoked any installation using that serial number will cease operating, and the serial number can no longer be used to activate a license.

I want to acquire a Manifold product license and run it forever, or at least for decades. Can that be done? Certainly not forever, and probably not for decades. Once installed a Manifold product license will run as long as that computer can reach Manifold's servers through Internet from time to time, and as long as Manifold's servers continue to support authentications of that license. Once future versions of Manifold products are issued, sooner or later very old products will no longer be supported. Although Manifold may voluntarily provide authentication support for obsolete product versions for some reasonable period of time (such as three years after end of life) licensees should not expect such support forever.

Serial Numbers not Received by Email

When an order is processed for a Manifold product license the serial number for that license will be sent out by email to the email address given in the order. If you have not received your serial number by email from Manifold please visit and carefully read the Email Problems page for a list of possible errors.


Legacy FAQ

This page provides a FAQ for current builds of Manifold System Release 9 and Release 8. Deprecated (older, out of date) builds of Release 9 and Release 8 may use a different activation mechanism. For activation troubleshooting tips for deprecated versions, see the Legacy FAQ page.


How to Buy Technical Support Services

Purchase Manifold® technical support products on the Online Store. Purchase the technical support product desired and you receive support tokens by email. You can then use them when contacting tech support.The store is open 24 hours / seven days a week / every day of the year. Orders are processed immediately with emails sent out in seconds.

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