Installing Home Designer on Multiple Computers

Reference Number: KB-01028
Last Modified: September 4, 2018

The information in this article applies to:

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


I just installed Home Designer on a second computer and tried to start the program, but a warning message tells me that the license is already in use. What does this mean?


All current versions of Home Designer programs can be installed on multiple computers for a single person's use.

For example, an individual can install at home on a PC, at work on a Mac, and on a laptop using either supported operating system for taking to meetings to discuss your plans with a builder or architect. The process for doing so, however, varies depending on which Home Designer product you are using.

If you have multiple people who need to be able to use the software, or want to be able to run on more than one computer at the same time, then as per the End User License Agreement (EULA), you must purchase a separate license for each person or machine. Contact our Sales team directly to learn more about purchasing extra licenses.

If you purchased the current version of the Home Designer from a qualified reseller such as Amazon, and only have access to either a PC or Mac version download or disk, but want to be able to install on another operating system, then please contact our Customer Service team to have them set up a Digital Locker for you directly on our website, so that you can download and install either the Windows or Mac versions, assuming that your computer meets the System Requirements.

Home Designer 2014 and earlier versions used a different license security process than the current Home Designer products.

To install Home Designer 2015 and newer versions on Multiple Computers

Home Designer 2015 and newer products can be installed on multiple computers; however, a single license can only be active on one computer at a time.

If you have been running the program on one computer, and wish to run it on a different computer, you must deactivate your license on the first machine. This is very easy to do and only takes a moment.

To manage a license

  1. In order to manage Home Designer on a given computer, first make sure that you have an active internet connection.

  2. Launch the program on the computer where your license is active and select Help> Manage License from the menu.

  3. Click Yes to confirm that you wish to deactivate the license from this system for use on another computer.

  4. The program will now close indicating your license has been successfully deactivated from this system.
    Other aspects of the installation, such as custom library content, custom toolbars, and custom template plans, are unaffected and will be ready for use when you later reactivate the license on this computer.

With your license deactivated, you are now free to install or activate it on another machine by simply launching the program while connected to the internet. Please note that you must be connected to the internet in order to activate your license. If you will be traveling to a location without internet access, take a moment to activate your license while the internet is available.

Once a license has been activated on a computer, that computer can go without internet access for up to one month (two weeks for Home Designer Pro) before the program will require it to confirm the license registration status.

Additionally, certain Home Designer products can be managed through your online account.

Once you are logged in to your online account, click on
Digital Locker: Downloads, Product Keys, & License Management, select the In Use link for the license you wish to manage, and then click on the Make Available button on the next page to deactivate it for use on another machine.

If you need to run the program on more than one computer at the same time, then you will need to purchase additional program licenses. Please contact our Sales team to learn more.

Installing on Multiple Computers in Home Designer 2014 and earlier

A license of Home Designer Architectural, Home Designer Landscape & Deck, Home Designer Interiors, Home Designer Suite, or Home Designer Essentials 2014 and prior is a license for use by a single named user. In the event of a hard drive failure, computer theft, or other emergency situation, however, you are provided with three activations total for the license. Multiple installations must not be used by more than one person. For further information, please refer to the software License Agreement.

If you will no longer be using Home Designer on a computer, make sure that you uninstall the software while an active internet connection is available, to release the activation.

For details, please refer to the End User License Agreement, found in both the program installer and the User’s Guide, accessible from within the program by clicking 
Help> User's Guide.

If you have used all three activations and encounter another hard drive failure and want to be able to install on another computer that meets your version's System Requirements, please  contact Customer Service for additional assistance.

If you want to install Home Designer 2014 or an earlier version on to a new computer, please check the System Requirements to ensure that your version is supported under the new computer's operating system.

Emergency Transfer Passwords 
*Home Designer Pro 2014 and prior Pro versions only

In some situations, such as if your hard drive fails, you may not have the opportunity to deactivate your license. Should this occur, you can still launch Home Designer Pro on another machine by using your Emergency Transfer Password, provided that the new computer has Internet access.

Your Emergency Transfer Password is provided at the end of the program's Registration Wizard, on the 'Completing the Home Designer Pro Secure Registration Wizard' page. 

Instructions on that page recommend that you save the password in a safe location for future use.

If you cannot locate your Registration Information print out, please have the original purchaser of the license contact Customer Service with the Product Key and they can look up the associated Transfer Password on your behalf.

To complete an Emergency License Transfer

  1. Launch Home Designer Pro on a computer with an active Internet connection where your license is not currently active.

  2. A warning message will display, telling you that the license is already active elsewhere and requesting your Emergency Transfer Password.

  3. Type in your Emergency Transfer Password and click OK.

As long there is an active Internet connection, the license will be deactivated from the old machine and become active on the current computer.

Emergency License Transfers should NOT be viewed as an alternative to properly managing your license before switching to a different computer. They are intended to be used in emergency situations only, and only three are provided with your Home Designer Pro license.

If you use all three, no more will be provided until you contact Chief Architect Sales and purchase additional transfers.