Message: System security bypassed or malfunctioning.

Reference Number: KB-00249
Last Modified: December 22, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors or Home Designer Essentials


When I try to run Chief Architect, a warning message says: "System security bypassed or malfunctioning. Exit system immediately. Do not save any files".  And when I click OK, the program closes.  Why is this happening?


Chief Architect uses license security which places limits on how many times the software can be launched simultaneously. There are a couple of different security options available - which one you have will determine how this issue can be resolved.

To prevent your plan or layout files from becoming locked and inaccessible, do NOT try to work in them or save them until this issue is resolved.

Before continuing on to the steps below, first please check to ensure that you are running the most current build available for your software by selecting Help> Download Program Updates.  If an update is available, download and install it, then restart your computer, Once the system reboots, test to see whether or not the issue is resolved . If the error persists, then continue with further troubleshooting instructions.

Hardware Lock Security

If your license of Chief Architect uses Hardware Lock Security, then this error indicates a possible problem with your USB hardware lock, or possibly the port that it is plugged in to. To resolve this issue, you can try these steps:

  • Make sure your hardware lock is securely seated in the USB port.
  • Update your hardware lock drivers.
  • Try a different USB port on your computer.

If the problem continues, contact our Technical Support department for further troubleshooting.  If your hardware lock is found to be failing or broken, you will need to either order a replacement hardware lock, or switch to internet-based Software Lock Security.

Please be aware that hardware locks may not be available for older discontinued versions of Chief Architect. If you have a license of an older program version for which a hardware lock is not available, then you will be asked to upgrade your software license.

Software Lock Security

If your license of Chief Architect uses internet-based Software Lock Security, then this error indicates a problem with the license you are attempting to use. To resolve this issue, please contact our Customer Service department with your proof of purchase and valid Product Key.

This error has been associated with copies of the software downloaded from unreliable sources. If you feel that this could be the case, we recommend that you uninstall the software immediately and perform an in-depth virus scan on your system.