Legacy Guide

Activating is Easy

For Deprecated Builds

Important: This web page covers the legacy activation system used for deprecated (older, out of date) builds of Release 9 and Release 8. It does not describe the simpler and easier activation system used with all current builds of Release 9 and Release 8. For information on activation of up to date builds, see the Activation Guide page.

Let there be bytes... Manifold System licenses are protected using a serial number and Activation key mechanism that associates each license to a single computer system. You must have a serial number to run Manifold System. Serial numbers are sent by email when a license is purchased. If you have not received the serial number email, check for Email Problems.

Manifold Viewer is a free product that does not require a serial number. No activation is required for Viewer.

If you do not have a valid Manifold 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.

If something unexpected happens during activation, DO NOT PERSIST. Instead, GET HELP using free Activation Support.


Follow this short summary when installing on standard Windows systems.

  • Login as Administrator. Use the actual Administrator account and not some other account believed to have administrator privileges. Windows 7 and Windows Vista users please read this advice.
  • Check your computer's date and time to make sure it is reasonably accurate.
  • Turn off any third party software that may prevent or limit installation of packages like Manifold.
  • Install Manifold System Release 8 following the instructions in the installation.txt file that accompanied your installation files.
  • Install Manifold Release 9 following the instructions in the Installation and Activation User Manual topic.
  • Launch Manifold as administrator.
  • In the Activation dialog that pops open, enter the serial number emailed to you for the Manifold edition you have licensed. To avoid errors, copy the serial number from the original serial number email message and paste it into the dialog.
  • For the first 30 days after your serial number was issued, you can run on the serial number alone. To continue operation after 30 days you will have to get an Activation key as well. When the Activation dialog launches, enter your serial number and then press the Get Activation Key via the Web button and then press Accept.
  • To avoid using up Activation Keys by accident the same Activation Key is returned by the key servers for a serial number for 24 hours. A Manifold license allows installing the same serial number on both a desktop computer and on a portable device, provided the two are not used at the same time. However, to avoid getting the same Activation Key on both machines (it will only work on one of them), after activating on one machine, wait at least 24 hours before activating on the second machine.
  • Manifold operates multiple, redundant activation servers worldwide to assure activation is available. If your computer is not connected to the Web or if your network security prevents the Activation dialog from fetching an Activation key via the web, the Get Activation Key via the Web button cannot work. In that case, you can fetch an Activation key manually using the Manual Activation procedure described in the Serial Numbers and Activation Reference help topic for Release 9 or the Activation Keys and Serial Numbers help topic for Release 8. Using manual activation bypasses any obstacles in your network that prevent automatic activation from working.

Important: If any Manifold installation or activation dialog tells you that you do not have Administrator rights, DO NOT IGNORE that message. Manifold is telling you the truth. If a careful re-reading of this page does not solve the problem, do not persist. Get free help with Activation from Manifold's tech support staff. See the Activation Support page to start that process.

Important: Manifold is licensed for use on one machine at a time. Five Activation keys per serial number are provided to allow re-installs if necessary, not to allow simultaneous use on five machines. Simultaneous use of the same Manifold serial number on multiple machines will cause license revocation.

Tech tip: Your Manifold System Release 8 downloaded .zip file contains an installation.txt file giving step-by-step instructions for installation. Take a moment to re-read those instructions carefully. Manifold Release 9 provides full instructions online in the Installation and Activation User Manual topic.

To keep the above summary short it covers installations on standard Windows systems as supported by Manifold. It works 99.9% of the time, but it does not cover all possible wild and crazy situations some folks attempt, like trying to install Manifold on an Android telephone, changing a serial number and expecting it to still work, or trying to install Manifold on a remote network drive where the network administrator has denied permission to use that drive. For more comprehensive discussion, see the other links on this page, such as the Activation Troubleshooting page and the links it recommends.

For complete details and to get the most out of your license, please read the Serial Numbers and Activation Reference help topic for Release 9 or the Activation Keys and Serial Numbers help topic for Release 8. Those topics describe the Manual Activation procedure for use if your computer is not connected to the web, or if a network problem requires Manual Activation or other departures from the usual routine.

Activating Release 8 Extensions

If you have licensed Business Tools, Geocoding Tools or Surface Tools extensions for Manifold Release 8: launch Manifold Release 8 and choose Help - Activate Extension. Enter the serial number for the extension. Get an Activation key if it is more than 30 days since the serial number was issued. Press Accept. Do this for each extension that you have.

If you have licensed Release 8 Universal Edition or Release 8 Ultimate Edition, all three extensions get turned on automatically when you activate your main Manifold System serial number. No need to use the Help - Activate Extension dialog with Universal Edition or Ultimate Edition.

COVID-19 Response

Three Free Activation Keys in 2021 - To support installation on work at home machines, Manifold licenses will automatically qualify for three free additional activation keys in 2021. Additional keys are automatically granted when activation is requested for a license that has run out of keys.


Please visit the Activation Troubleshooting page for a quick troubleshooting checklist that solves 99% of activation problems.

For even more detail, see the Activation Frequently Asked Questions page for a comprehensive list of questions and answers.

Getting Assistance with Activation

All serial number and activation questions are handled by email.

If the tips in the Activation Troubleshooting page do not help, the fastest way to solve any activation problem is to read and apply the instructions in the Serial Numbers and Activation Reference help topic for Release 9 or the Activation Keys and Serial Numbers help topic for Release 8. Although tech support responds very rapidly to activation questions it is faster to read even a long topic carefully since that will usually solve the problem right away.

Please see the Activation Support page for information on contacting tech support for priority assistance with any serial number or activation question. No tech support token is required for activation questions about most licenses if the given procedure is applied. Users who do not wish to use the free procedure may get customized activation support by utilizing technical support tokens.

Useful Links

Pages especially useful for installation and activation:

  • Status Page - Get status on a serial number to see what product it authorizes, the number of activations left, whether it has been revoked.
  • 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 Frequently Asked Questions - Provides the FAQ section of the Activation Keys and Serial Numbers help topic.
  • 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.
  • Manual Activation - Can be used to manually obtain an Activation key if a proxy server or other network problem prevents your system from automatically fetching an Activation key over the web.
  • Product Downloads - Download the latest installations for the current release of Manifold System.
  • Administrator Login - Users are sometimes surprised to learn they don't have true Administrator rights in Windows 7 or Windows Vista. This short page describes how to login using the real Administrator account.
  • Windows Installer Notes - Tips on solving problems with Windows Installer in case of de-installation errors.

Buy Now via the Online Store

Buy Manifold products on the Online Store. The store is open 24 hours / seven days a week / every day of the year. Orders are processed immediately with serial number email sent out in seconds. Use Manifold products today!

 Click to begin shopping


Suggestions to improve Manifold are always welcome. Please see the Suggestions page for tips on making effective suggestions.


About Manifold

Manifold is a deep technology company creating advanced, parallel algorithms, next-level technology, and computation know-how that powers faster performance and smarter operations.

License Manifold® technology to power your company's products, or take advantage of Manifold's off-the-shelf commercial products. Jump decades ahead of your competition.

Manifold® brand products deliver quality, performance and value in the world's most sophisticated, most modern, and most powerful spatial products for GIS, ETL, DBMS, and Data Science. Total integration ensures ease of use, amazing speed, and unbeatably low cost of ownership. Tell your friends!

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