License Security

Reference Number: KB-00937
Last Modified: June 21, 2024

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect InteriorsHome Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite


How does the license security system work with Chief Architect and Home Designer products?


If you're using a Chief Architect or Home Designer product, your license is using Software Lock Security. This is a security system that uses an internet connection to verify the legitimacy of your license upon activation, including periodic validation every 2 weeks. This allows the license holder to install the program on whatever computers they wish and then run the program on a single computer at a time.

If you'd like to activate and use your license on a different computer, you must first deactivate the license from the currently active computer by following the steps in this article.

Note: If you're receiving an error message when attempting to activate your Chief Architect license, and it's not active on another system, please see the "Troubleshooting Activation Issues" resource in the Related Articles section below.

To deactivate a license locally

  1. Launch Chief Architect or Home Designer on the computer where your license is active.  

  2. Select Help> Manage License from the menu.  

  3. A message will confirm that you wish to deactivate the license. Click Yes. The software will then close signaling it was deactivated successfully.

To deactivate a license online*

*Applies to Chief Architect X6, Home Designer 2015, and newer program versions.

  1. Click on the My Account link in the top right corner of the Chief Architect or Home Designer website, and proceed to sign in to your online account using your e-mail address and password.

  2. Click on Digital Locker: Downloads, Product Keys & License Management.

    If you don't see your Chief Architect license listed, please contact our Customer Service team.

  3. Click on the Make Available button located under your license, then click OK to deactivate the license so it can be used on another system.


  • Software Lock Security is the default security with Chief Architect X2, Home Designer 9.0, and newer products, and provides easy portability between multiple computers. An internet connection is required for all activation actions, including periodic validation.

  • In Chief Architect X5, Home Designer Pro 2014, and prior versions, an Emergency Transfer Password option existed, allowing you to deactivate an activated machine, such as in the case of a hard drive failure. This is a software security option that is no longer available or supported by Chief Architect. Should you find that you are prompted for an Emergency Transfer Password, please contact our Customer Service team to discuss your upgrade options.

  • USB Hardware Lock Security was discontinued starting with Chief Architect X10 and Home Designer 2019. Replacement hardware locks for legacy products are not available. Should you find that you have a lost or damaged hardware lock, please contact our Customer Service team to discuss your upgrade options.