Has Autodesk broken your old licenses?

Has Autodesk broken your old licenses?

I’m seeing multiple recent complaints from people stating that their older but perfectly legal perpetual license AutoCADs are being broken. They’re also reporting that Autodesk is being less than helpful about fixing the problem in any reasonable kind of timeframe. Whether this is a deliberate act or yet anotherthis won’t happen again” screw-up is difficult to determine, but either way it’s pretty obnoxious. People paid a lot of money for this software and they deserve to have it working.

Original Red A figure copyright Autodesk, Inc. This derivative image was created from scratch using BricsCAD V18 and falls under fair use (commentary, criticism).

If you have an old release lying around for whatever reason, maybe you’d better check to make sure it’s not broken.

Autodesk, if you can’t get your licensing act together, I hope you’ve budgeted enough to provide full refunds to everyone with an old license. Millions of them. Thousands of dollars each. That’s quite a few billion dollars. No? Don’t have that in the piggy bank? Better get cracking, then.

To those people stuck without a working AutoCAD who need to get work done while fighting Autodesk, regular readers of this blog will be able to tell you know where to go to get 30 days’ relief. File under told you so.

Has this happened to you? Please comment and provide the details.


  1. Hi Steve,

    Could you please share where you are seeing any Autodesk customers not able to access their perpetual licenses? All old valid perpetual licenses should continue to work. I am happy to help anyone right away, if you are having any trouble at all. I can be reached directly via our forums here: https://autode.sk/2LHviM5

    Matthew DiMichele
    Autodesk – Social Media and Community

  2. Marty

    You can buy older version perpetual licenses legally as part of acquiring or merging with a company. 2016 is the last version to be sold as a perpetual license. I bought some licenses in 2016 from a company in bankruptcy, and the transfer was approved by Autodesk. I may be able to help you find some network multiuser licenses that can still receive a license file from Autodesk before they shut down their activations in 2016, and they could be installed on a virtual server so they would be good forever.

  3. Lars Munkedal

    Hello, Steve.
    Thank you for adressing the topic on Autodesk’s unacceptable way of shutting out paying customers from using the software they have payed for. They clearly have misunderstood the meaning of the word Perpetual.

    I have a full AutoCad Architecture 2008 license that used to run fine on an older, standalone Windows7 workstation I have. I only use it now and then, so version 2008 is just fine.
    I then got a new Windows10 PC, and because I couldn’t register the AutoCad2008 software back then (2020), Instead I used the transfer license utility to transfer the active license from my old PC to the new — which worked fine.
    Unfortunately, the transferred licencse also turned out to have a due date, so after half a year, none of my PCs can run AutoCad2008. I have the original transfer key-file and everything, but it doesn’t work out. I have tried to reverse transfer, generate a new key, uninstall+reinstall AutoCad on the new PC…it doesn’t work. It is as if the key-file has been tagged, so the transfer utility can see, that it has been used once — but I am not able to generate a new key-file.
    Perhaps if I uninstall AutoCad on the new PC, erases everything in RegEdit that has Autodesks name on it, and then reinstall…perhaps that would work. But man, I am cursing Autodesk all the way down that road!

    It is the same with Adobe by the way, I can’t install my CS2 Design package anymore. It is all about money for those companies.

    I am really not keen on using so called 3rd party software to hack my legal software, and thereby taking a great risk in terms of security.

    Frustrating to say the least!

  4. Rob

    Amazing that there is not a class action lawsuit yet on this (yet). I believe momentum is building.

    Autodesk (and any of their corporate ilk posting here), shame on you for feigning ignorance and pretending there should be no issue. Here is the link to my entire description of the issue I encountered. Oddly enough…not one bit of help from an Autodesk representative amid the sea of offensive comments from what I’m guessing are paid Autodesk opinion-spewing cronies:


    And in brevity for those reading this forum, here is my story:

    I purchased a perpetual license of design software (3D Studio Max). They have since moved to subscription-based licenses and shut down their license activation server for previously purchased perpetual licenses (presumably to drive those customers into subscriptions). My perpetual license won’t activate and whenever I start up a backup instance I kept on a different machine, it works until I connect it to the internet – at which point it breaks immediately and tells me I have to contact Autodesk to re-activate. I have tested this numerous times and always get the same result. When I contact Autodesk (by web; no phone number provided), I am told they no longer support the older licenses – including the activation server.
    I posted this issue on the Autodesk forum and received no reply from the company; however, I am now being approached by other customers who purchased perpetual licenses and are having the same experience.
    This has cost me not only the initial $3600 investment in the software but also my potential to earn additional income as a freelance designer over the past years. Others – many, I suspect – are in the same boat.

  5. Rob

    And here is another example of other customers who have been illegally screwed by autodesk over this same issue:


    You may also find this post interesting – regarding Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost and how much autodesk appears to value customers like you who have forked out serious, honest cash for their perpetual licenses:


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