Over the past few years, Autodesk has been transitioning from legacy licensing methods into Named-User licensing. Given time, this new Named-User license method will eventually replace both Standalone licensing (the license that activates to a desktop) and Multi-User license (the license that operates from a license server running LMTools and an Autodesk Network License File) - but it's worth noting that Multi-User licensing is still available for renewall
So what does Named-User licensing look like?
When accessing Autodesk software for the first time, upon clicking the "Single User" option, CAD users will be greeted by an Autodesk Sign In screen to access their CAD software and services.
What does this mean for end-users?
Importantly, transitioning users into Named-User Licensing means no more serial numbers. No more activation codes. No more [-15.570] errors (I don't even...), and no more network license files(!).
Importantly, many end-users may already be using an Autodesk ID to access their Autodesk applications and other Autodesk services having already transitioned previously. Named-User subscription licensing replaced Serialized Maintenance licenses years ago. However, Named-User licensing may be a new experience for both administrators and users who traditionally have been licensed via a Multi-User Network License.
As an end-user, an A2K Technologies Customer Success manager and Licensing Consultant, along with this document, will be assisting your CAD managers and IT Administrators with the transition.
What does this mean for CAD Managers?
- Become familiar with the Autodesk Manage Portal.
- Understanding and assigning different management roles, such as Primary Administrator, Secondary Administrator, User and for customers on an Autodesk Premium Plan, an SSO Administrator.
- Creating and managing Autodesk ID for all of your users (either single-handedly or via a CSV file)
- Assigning Autodesk subscriptions to each user (such as AutoCAD LT, Product Design Suite, Collections, etc - either single-handedly or via a CSV file).
- Working with an IT Administrator to configure each CAD workstation for use with Named-User access (and please do reach out to A2K Technologies for advice on this procedure).
- Using the Autodesk Desktop Application (with your users signed in) to check that all CAD Application service packs and hotfixes have been applied.
And I can not stress point 6 enough. Here's a screenshot for what you're looking for and an example of a critical patch for the Autodesk licensing module (note that the Autodesk licensing service is patched a couple of times a year, the below screenshot is not the current version);
From time to time we do see show-stopping bugs preventing Autodesk apps from starting that are simply resolved by checking the Autodesk Desktop App for any pending updates and installing them. Updates may also be accessed as a manual download via the Autodesk Manage Portal, under the Product Updates menu - use the search to find the patch that you're looking for;
What does Named-User licensing mean for IT Administrators?
Many Admins will already be familiar with the requirements, especially those who have managed any Autodesk LT products, or previous licenses that have already been switched to term based subscription. However, those IT Administrators who have lived 100% in the Multi-network license space may be new to this, so some advice below.
Firstly, plan for a 30-day transition hand-in-hand with your CAD managers,
Check the expiration date of your Network License File, upload it to; http://licenseparser.com
The expiration date found within the Autodesk Network License file is a hard coded date and needs to be treated as a deadline.
Organise Secondary Administrators who can then assist with to creating Named User accounts for all of Autodesk software users via the Autodesk Manage Portal. Secondary Administrators are typically CAD managers or Senior CAD operators.
If your Autodesk renewal has been processed and the Named-User apps are now available, begin to assign each app to each user.
Assuming that all application licensing has been assigned to all users - each CAD workstation needs to be reconfigured to work with the Named-User licensing (And yes there's a batch too available for this found here). This is where you may need to reach out to A2K Technologies Support for any errors that get stuck in a cyclic loop, which unfortunately are a little common with the older CAD apps - screenshots of errors are more than welcome when creating a support ticket.
Getting feedback from each user, making sure they're up and running with the Autodesk Apps that they need.
Disarm LMTools, turn off and remove the Autodesk License Service, and delete the now expired Autodesk multi-user license file.
It's worth mentioning that LMTools may still be required for other vendor software (such as Ideate), so you won't necessarily uninstall LMTools, just be sure the Autodesk License Service running within LMTools has been stopped and removed.
Another important item worth understanding - put simply, there are a few ways to update a CAD Workstation from Multi-User to Named-User that depends on what version of CAD is installed (and also a third point that touches on legacy software);
- For Software Versions 2017, 2018 and 2019, Autodesk software is configured via an LGS.dat (but consider this info legacy, only relevant for another 2 years).
How to by-pass LGS (Lets Get Started) screen or automate pre-setup license type when running Autodesk products
- For Software Versions 2020 and upwards, you'll need to become familiar with the Autodesk Licensing Installer Tool Helper, more info here;
Autodesk Licensing Installer Helper tool guide
- Speak with your users and CAD managers if they're running anything older than 2018, and check that they have an Autodesk Support Case with approval for running anything beyond 4 years from the current release. Understand the fine print here;
Accessing and downloading legacy Autodesk products - Commercial License Only
Further to points 1 and 2 above, Autodesk have a batch utility available for download to assist with the automation of CAD Workstation configuration, found here.
The Autodesk Desktop App is an important app that you'll need to consider, most users will want it, but some system administrators may prefer to have it removed to prevent users from updating their Autodesk products out-of-step with all other users. The app can also be downloaded and installed by itself too, follow the link below for the install media;
Without the Desktop App, Product Updates may still be downloaded from the Autodesk Manage Portal manually; https://manage.autodesk.com
And finally, it's worth mentioning that Single Sign-On (SSO) is available through Autodesk's Premium Plan offering that's available to 50+ seat subscribers. For more information on Autodesk Premium Subscription, please get in touch with your account manager. More info on Autodesk Premium Subscription here;
Any other general technical tips that I should be aware of?
Yes, a few worth highlighting;
- Multi-User licensing may still be an option. It's worth discussing mixed Named-User and Multi-User licensing with your account manager, however you might miss out on any deals that aren't available for Multi-User renewals but are available for Named-User.
- Named-Users may install their subscribed software on three computers. Typically a workstation, a laptop and a home computer.
- Do not share your Autodesk ID password with anyone. Not your IT Administrator, or CAD Manager, Reseller support or Autodesk. A password reset can be arranged via the Autodesk Named-User login if needed. Two-Step Verified security can also be turned on or off via the website; https://accounts.autodesk.com
- The Autodesk Desktop App is installed by default with the majority of Autodesk Software. Use the App to test signing in users with their Autodesk ID and to keep software patched and up-to-date. Under some circumstances, the App may be removed by your IT Administrator to improve patch continuity across all users with their own distribution method. The app is useful, but is not required for Named-User licensing to work.
- Users should only be prompted to log in with an Autodesk ID during the first time they access the software after a new install unless already logged in via the Autodesk Desktop App. Signing into one app will sign users into all of them on that Desktop.
- If needing to go mobile, check that the Autodesk ID is signed in, then disconnect the CAD workstation from the internet and continue to use Autodesk Apps for 30 days. After 30 days, the user will be prompted to connect to the internet and re-enter Autodesk ID credentials. Always test this offline work mode feature whilst in the office before leaving. (But please do test offline functionality before leaving the office!)
- Autodesk Software Compliance is still a thing, so take this transition time to use the Autodesk Uninstall Tool (found in the CAD workstation start menu) to uninstall of legacy Autodesk software, and also take the time to remove any legacy software installation media too. The Autodesk Uninstall Tool will work with Autodesk software up until version 2014, but for anything older will need to be manually uninstalled. If users need continued access of Autodesk Legacy Software (anything beyond 4 years of current release) then make sure you've officially requested this and have an Autodesk Case referral number.
- Windows 7 is no longer supported by Autodesk. Please be sure that your CAD workstations have been transitioned to Windows 10 (you can check the build version via the "WinVer" app found in the Windows Start Menu). Legacy software that requires Windows 7 is typically virtualised if it's still needed.
- Named-User licenses are supported within a VDI environment, but be aware that Autodesk caches the user login data under the Windows %appdata% folder and that it's tied to both MAC address and SID, meaning if the session is flushed after the user logs out, and the hardware reset upon the user logging back in, the user will need to also log in again with their Autodesk ID for each new session.
Autodesk Named-User accounts are here to stay, and Multi-User licensing is on the way out, soon to be discontinued. These changes can be a lot to take on board and process, so if you have any questions or concerns then please do get in contact with the A2K Technologies Customer Success team, who if needed can arrange a support representative to assist with your technical enquiry.