License key check failed. Rational Software Development Platform

I ran into an annoying error today, one that doesn’t show its face very often and you will probably see it once or twice in a lifetime if working in an environment that uses Rational Software Development and also if you provide support for a team or company that is using it.

The error “The License key check failed” will appear after a while or in some cases even suddenly after the activation and mostly (but not always) after performing an activation process that will result in installing a permanent activation key. Depending on what version you are using and the rest of the environment, this might be followed by continuous error messages like “The License key check failed” or “Rational Software Development Platform desktop product plug-in is enabled for license but no license key is available”. In my case, the platform was a java plug-in also stated in the error message but I haven’t had the chance to capture it in a print screen as I was testing solutions.

I searched the web for a while and found all kind of UN-related solutions that couldn’t be applied or just answers from people who would talk around the subject. The solution came unexpectedly, from IBM (if you are asking why unexpectedly, it’s because in my experience, official customer support for products fails most of the times).

I should also mention that this solution is valid if you are working on an environment or company that has more than one client installed with working licenses because you will have to copy some license files from a working one to the broken one.


1. Go to: “C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\IBM\Installation Manager\license” on the broken computer.

2. Rename the files and folders (anything present here – inside “license” folder) to _old or something else that you see fit. I usually do like this: I keep the old name and I add an underscore to it followed by date or “old” but you are free to make any kind of backup you want for these files. I recommend you doing this in case things don’t work as expected.

3. Copy and paste the files and folders present in “license” folder from another computer. If you have some administrator account on the computer where the Rational Software Development license is working you can use the UNC path (for example from start – run or any windows explorer, type in \\server\volume\directory\file with the simple note that in our case it would be \\computer_name\c$\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\IBM\Installation Manager\license) to connect remotely to another computer (the remote computer) and get the needed files.

4. Close the program and open it again. It should work now. If you also navigate to IBM Installation Manager under Rational, you should see at “license” section the license as permanent, as it was before the error “The License key check failed” appeared.

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