Why am I continuously prompted to activate when I try to launch MATLAB?

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I am trying to activate and use MATLAB. Every time I start MATLAB, it prompts me to activate, even though I complete the process and it states activation is complete each time.
Why am I continuously prompted to activate when I try to launch MATLAB?

Accepted Answer

MathWorks Support Team
MathWorks Support Team on 20 Nov 2023
Edited: MathWorks Support Team on 20 Nov 2023
When launching MATLAB, you will be prompted to activate if no valid license files can be found on the license file search path. The most common reasons that MATLAB will continuously prompt you for activation are:
  • Activating to the wrong computer login name (username)
  • Insufficient user privileges
  • Wrong file type
  • Activating to an expired or invalid license file

Activating to the wrong computer login name (username)

For Individual licenses, the MathWorks Installer and Activation Client will attempt to place the license file into the directory of the user specified. If the user specified is not the user attempting to launch MATLAB, then MATLAB will not be able to locate the license file. This is most commonly seen when administrator credentials are used to install or activate due to to limited user permissions, and as a result, the license file is stored under the administrator account.To resolve this, verify the username  of the MATLAB user, then reactivate MATLAB  with the correct username.

Insufficient User Privileges

When activating MATLAB, you must have sufficient user privileges to create the required licenses folder and create the license file. To verify that the license file is being created, browse to the location where the license files are stored for your license option and operating system type:
If you do not see a license file, or the licenses folder, you may not have sufficient privileges.  You may resolve this by activating the license manually then placing the license file into the appropriate directory found in the link above:
Note: You may be required to create the licenses folder for R2020a and newer.  If so, verify that the name matches the path found in the article  above.  For example, Individual licenses will be located in the folder R20XXx_licenses, with the XXx changed to match the release.

Wrong file type

License files must be a LIC file.  LIC files have a .lic extenstion, e.g. license.lic or network.lic. If the license file has any other extension, such as .txt, MATLAB may not be able to read the license, and you will be prompted to activate.
To resolve this, change the file extension to '.lic'.
Note: The exception to this is DAT files used by network License Managers.

Activating to an expired or invalid license file

If the license file is expired or invalid, MATLAB will prompt you to activate.  To resolve this, download a new license file.

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