Skip to main content

MATLAB Manual Deactivation

This article applies to: Software Licensing

Some customers have reported that MATLAB for Windows will not allow updating to a new license term after the previous license has expired. A message window displaying "Deactivation Required" is displayed at start of MATLAB, but attempting to deactivate does not work. The most common reason is that your Windows permissions are set such that the MATLAB application does not have sufficient privileges to make changes to the file where the activation information is stored.

The easiest way to fix this problem is to manually delete your existing license file, and then reactivate MATLAB on the machine.


  1. Using Windows Explorer, navigate to your MATLAB directory. The path includes the version of MATLAB that you're running. (The following path assumes that you are running version 2014a. )
    C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2014a\licenses
    It's possible that your MATLAB directory was installed at a different location. In that case you can search for MATLAB using Windows Explorer to find the directory.
  2. Find the license file in that folder. It should have a long name of format: license_<hostname>_<license#>_<version>.lic
    Example: license_JoesComputer_554896_2014a.lic
  3. Delete the file.
  4. In MATLAB, select Help --> Licensing --> Activate Software
  5. Select Activate automatically using the Internet
  6. Log in to your MathWorks account.
  7. Enter your new Activation Key and click Confirm. Your copy of MATLAB should now be activated.

If you have additional trouble activating MATLAB, please contact us.

About this Article

Last updated: 

Saturday, December 3, 2016 - 7:08pm

Was this page helpful?

Your feedback helps improve the site.