Mastercam – Software License


Mastercam is a protected software and requires a license to run. There are two different types of licensing supported by Mastercam, hardware (USB device) and software. 

Software licensing utilizes a program called CodeMeter to register a device and manage licenses. CodeMeter installs automatically with Mastercam and can be configured for standalone or network licensing.  


It is wise to consider switching to software licensing now rather than later, as CNC Software is making this the current standard method for licensing Mastercam. The hardware (USB) license might not be an option in the future due to the worldwide shortage of chips. 


Software License (Standalone and Network)  Exclusive to Network License 
Quicker to receive new licenses. No need to ship hardware by mail.  Users can quickly view the available licenses including:  

  • How many are free 
  • Who is using each one? 
  • When they were last using it 
Can be released remotely and reactivated on another computer without a physical presence  Admins can kick out users remotely. 

(Ex. If a user forgets to turn off their software before leaving) 

Better compatibility with Remote Connection  License borrowing utility to allow users to work remotely without being connected to a VPN 
No physical hardware / drivers required  Better compatibility with Virtual Machines 
No license file management: when activating/reactivating, the user will always get the latest license.   


Once you activate a software license on a standalone computer or on a network it is tied to a hardware ID that is automatically generated. Any modification you make to the hardware or Operating System changes, such as migration to Windows 11, might affect the software license status and would not be able to use the software. 

Best practices to prevent your license to be locked: 

  •  Before making any changes, Deactivate the software license. 
  • Also make note of the activation code that you receive when you deactivate the licenses. 


You will have the same issues if you activate a license on a Virtual Machine. You need to maintain the same virtual hardware definitions or deactivate the software license before you make any changes. 

As explained, a Mastercam license can be locked if one of the hardware or the software binding pieces of the license is changed. If the Mastercam software license broke for a single seat or a network license, to fix the problem check this link Broken license what to do next. 


1. Standalone Software License Activation Procedure

For standalone licenses, each computer will follow the same activation procedure.
The Activation process validates the computer over the internet and is ready to operate in a matter of seconds. The device being activated does not need to be directly connected for the operation to work.
An activation file can be transferred to another system and submitted from another computer which is helpful for offline or secure installations.
The same activation process is used to deactivate a license when it is no longer going to be used on that machine, making it available to activate on another system as needed. Activation can also update the license if it has been renewed and has a new entitlement date. 

To learn more on how to activate a standalone license click here: Standalone Software License Activation Process

2. Network Software License Activation Procedure

For network licenses the activation process is performed on one machine, and then the rest of the machines are configured to look for the server to obtain a license.  

Note: License Management via IP address (static IP Address is recommended). 

To learn more on how to activate a standalone license click here: Network Software License Activation Process .

3. Network software license on virtual machines

A virtual machine, commonly shortened to just VM, is no different than any other physical computer like a laptop, smart phone, or server. It has a CPU, memory, disks to store your files, and can connect to the internet if needed. While the parts that make up a computer (called hardware) are physical and tangible, VMs are often thought of as virtual computers or software-defined computers within physical servers, existing only as code. End users can run applications on VMs and use them as they normally would on their workstation. 

Virtualization is the process of creating a software-based, or “virtual” version of a computer, with dedicated amounts of CPU, memory, and storage that are “borrowed” from a physical host computer and/or a remote server such as a server in a cloud provider’s data center. A virtual machine is a computer file, typically called an image, that behaves like an actual computer. 

You can activate Mastercam network software license on a Virtual Machine following the same steps that you do while you activate a network software on one machine or a server. 



Mastercam License Borrow Utility allows you to use Mastercam outside of the workplace without access to the network or the internet. You must be connected to the network that hosts the Mastercam licenses to borrow a license. After borrowing, you can disconnect from the network.  

You can only use this license for a maximum of 10 days. After the period expires, you will need to repeat the process of borrowing the license. Starting with Mastercam 2019 the Mastercam License Borrow Utility was included in Mastercam installation. 

Note: License borrowing is only available to users with retail network licenses. Licenses for stand-alone users, resellers, and education cannot be borrowed. The Mastercam License Borrow Utility will check if you have local licenses prior to running. If so, you are ineligible to license borrow.  

Before running the Mastercam License Borrow Utility you need to: 

  • Have a network software license set up. 
  • Exchange your standard network license for a borrow server license. This is a one-time task that your network administrator can perform by reactivating your Mastercam network license. 
  • Connect to the network that hosts the Mastercam licenses. After borrowing, you can disconnect from the network. 


To setup a License Borrow, you will have to use the Mastercam License Borrow Utility which is located from the Windows Start Menu in the Mastercam Licensing Utilities as shown.  

For more information on how to set the borrow a license please check the following link to Borrowing Mastercam Network Licenses.