Citrix Licensing Server: A Troubleshooting Process

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Citrix licensing still isn’t perfect, but it’s gotten better with each revision.  Occasionally I still talk with Citrix Techs who run into licensing server issues with Citrix.  A Citrix license server may run fine for 5 years, and suddenly break down.  For this reason, I’ll provide a simple troubleshooting process I have established for dealing with these issues.

First, let’s take a look at the wide variety of Citrix licensing error codes you may encounter:

Error Code Description
-1 Cannot find license file.
-2 Invalid license file syntax.
-3 No server for this feature.
-4 Licensed number of users already reached.
-5 No such feature exists.
-6 No TCP/IP port number in license file and FLEXlm service does not exist. (pre-v6 only)
-7 No socket connection to license manager service.
-8 Invalid (inconsistent) license key or signature. The license key/signature and data for the feature do not match. This usually happens when a license file has been altered.
-9 Invalid host. The hostid of this system does not match the hostid specified in the license file.
-10 Feature has expired.
-11 Invalid date format in license file.
-12 Invalid returned data from license server.
-13 No SERVER lines in license file.
-14 Cannot find SERVER host name in network database. The lookup for the host name on the SERVER line in the license file failed. This often happens when NIS or DNS or the hosts file is incorrect. Workaround: Use IP address (e.g., 123.456.789.123) instead of host name.
-15 Cannot connect to license server. The server (lmgrd) has not been started yet, or the wrong port@host or license file is being used, or the TCP/IP port or host name in the license file has been changed.
-16 Cannot read data from license server.
-17 Cannot write data to license server.
-18 License server does not support this feature.
-19 Error in select system call.
-21 License file does not support this version.
-22 Feature checkin failure detected at license server.
-23 License server temporarily busy (new server connecting).
-24 Users are queued for this feature.
-25 License server does not support this version of this feature.
-26 Request for more licenses than this feature supports.
-29 Cannot find ethernet device.
-30 Cannot read license file.
-31 Feature start date is in the future.
-32 No such attribute.
-33 Bad encryption handshake with daemon.
-34 Clock difference too large between client and server.
-35 In the queue for this feature.
-36 Feature database corrupted in daemon.
-37 Duplicate selection mismatch for this feature. Obsolete with v8.0+ vendor daemon.
-38 User/host on EXCLUDE list for feature.
-39 User/host not on INCLUDE list for feature.
-40 Cannot locate dynamic memory.
-41 Feature was never checked out.
-42 Invalid parameter.
-47 Clock setting check not available in daemon.
-52 FLEXlm vendor daemon did not respond within timeout interval.
-53 Checkout request rejected by vendor-defined checkout filter.
-54 No FEATURESET line in license file.
-55 Incorrect FEATURESET line in license file.
-56 Cannot compute FEATURESET data from license file.
-57* socket() call failed.
-59 Message checksum failure.
-60 Server message checksum failure.
-61 Cannot read license file data from server.
-62 Network software (TCP/IP) not available.
-63 You are not a license administrator.
-64 lmremove request before the minimum lmremove interval.
-67 No licenses to borrow.
-68 License BORROW support not enabled.
-69 FLOAT_OK can’t run standalone on SERVER.
-71 Invalid TZ environment variable.
-73 Local checkout filter rejected request.
-74 Attempt to read beyond end of license file path.
-75* SYS$SETIMR call failed (VMS).
-76 Internal FLEXlm error—please report to Macrovision.
-77 Bad version number must be floating-point number with no letters.
-82 Invalid PACKAGE line in license file.
-83 FLEXlm version of client newer than server.
-84 USER_BASED license has no specified users – see server log.
-85 License server doesn’t support this request.
-87 Checkout exceeds MAX specified in options file.
-88 System clock has been set back.
-89 This platform not authorized by license.
-90 Future license file format or misspelling in license file. The file was issued for a later version of FLEXlm than this program understands.
-91 ENCRYPTION_SEEDS are non-unique.
-92 Feature removed during lmreread, or wrong SERVER line hostid.
-93 This feature is available in a different license pool. This is a warning condition. The server has pooled one or more INCREMENT lines into a single pool, and the request was made on an INCREMENT line that has been pooled.
-94 Attempt to generate license with incompatible attributes.
-95 Network connect to this_host failed. Change this_host on the SERVER line in the license file to the actual host name.
-96 Server machine is down or not responding. See the system administrator about starting the server, or make sure that you’re referring to the right host (see LM_LICENSE_FILE environment variable).
-97 The desired vendor daemon is down. 1) Check the lmgrd log file, or 2) Try lmreread.
-98 This FEATURE line can’t be converted to decimal format.
-99 The decimal format license is typed incorrectly.
-100 Cannot remove a linger license.
-101 All licenses are reserved for others. The system administrator has reserved all the licenses for others. Reservations are made in the options file. The server must be restarted for options file changes to take effect.
-102 A FLEXid borrow error occurred.
-103 Terminal Server remote client not allowed.
-104 Cannot borrow that long.
-106 License server out of network connections. The vendor daemon can’t handle any more users. See the debug log for further information.
-110 Dongle not attached, or can’t read dongle. Either the hardware dongle is unattached, or the necessary software driver for this dongle type is not installed.
-112 Missing dongle driver. In order to read the dongle hostid, the correct driver must be installed. These drivers are available at or from your software vendor.
-113 Two FLEXlock checkouts attempted. Only one checkout is allowed with FLEXlock-enabled applications.
-114 SIGN= keyword required, but missing from license. This is probably because the license is older than the application. You need to obtain a SIGN= version of this license from your vendor.
-115 Error in Public Key package.
-116 CRO not supported for this platform.
-117 BORROW failed.
-118 BORROW period has expired.
-119 lmdown and lmreread must be run on license server machine.
-120 Cannot lmdown the server when licenses are borrowed.
-121 FLOAT_OK license must have exactly one dongle hostid.
-122 Unable to delete local borrow info.
-123 Support for returning a borrowed license early is not enabled. The vendor must have enabled support for this feature in the vendor daemon. Contact the vendor for further details.
-124 An error occurred while returning a borrowed license to the server.
-125 Attempt to checkout just a PACKAGE. Need to also checkout a feature.
-126 Error initializing a composite hostid.
-127 A hostid needed for the composite hostid is missing or invalid.
-128 Error, borrowed license doesn’t match any known server license.


In my experience, if you receive an error that specifically mentions licensing you will be very lucky.  Most of the time, when Citrix licensing fails you may have to hunt through the event logs to find some evidence but the error codes given may be cryptic and generic.

Citrix Licensing Troubleshooting Process:

1). Execute the “QFARM /LOAD” command look for values of “20000”

This should always be the first step that any Citrix takes in diagnosing a licensing issue.  Most of the time if you are experiencing an honest-to-god Citrix licensing breakdown, you’ll see your server load show up as “20000”.  This is not always the case, but it’s a good place to start your troubleshooting.

2). Did you forget your Citrix license server console password?  Doh!

Chances are, it’s been years since you’ve needed to log into your Citrix licensing console.  Maybe the guy who set this up isn’t even with the company anymore.  You don’t have the password, and need to know how to “hack” in.  Thankfully, Citrix didn’t make this took difficult for you.  The resolution is simply to uninstall and reinstall the licensing console software, and you’ll be prompted to created a new password.


3). Always upgrade the Citrix License Server software to the most recent version.

Many times when I run into clients who are experiencing a breakdown after several years of health, it’s partially due to the fact that their license server software is far out of date.  I’ve found that this is one of the few Citrix products that you can usually upgrade by installing the new bits directly over the top of the old bits, but if you’d like to play it safe – be sure to uninstall the license server software completely, reboot, and then download the new Citrix license server fro MyCitrix, and reinstall.

**** If you get an error “An Unknown Problem Occured While Installing Citrix Licensing.  Please re-install Citrix Licensing” — you may have to uninstall cleanly, then manually delete the registry keys that are left over before trying to re-install. ****

4). A Trick to fix corrupt Citrix License datastore links, etc

If upgrading the license server software doesn’t work, the next thing I like to do usually works best on versions of Citrix from Xenapp 5 and before.  You will need to go into your farm properties and change the license server name to a bogus one and apply it.  Then go back into farm properties and change the license server name back to the real FQDN.  This will force the Citrix data store to recreate all the entries for licensing, and reestablish any links to Citrix licensing that could be been broken or corrupted.  If you try this with Xenapp 6 or above, be sure to make the above change in the unfiltered policy, and run a GPUpdate after.

5). Do you have a lot of license files?

Having a lot of license files seems to put a Citrix tech at high risk for experiencing some kind of license file corruption.  I’ve seen it time and time again when a client has more than 3 Citrix license files, their license server may choke after many years of successful operation.  The resolution can be to either download the license files again from MyCitrix, and reinstall them.  The best practice for preventing this from happening again in the future should be to call Citrix customer service (1-800-4-Citrix, option 2), and ask them to combine your multiple license files into a single file.  Remember to always restart Citrix licensing services after adding new files to the MyFiles directory, or use the button in the console to discover new license files.

  • Note: Whenever you re-download your license files, ALWAYS be sure to grab a new Citrix startup license.  Over the years this file has been updated, and the most recent one is usually several K in size different from older versions.  I’ve seen many cases where a new startup license fixed obscure license issues, so this is always a best practice I follow.

6). Verify that you have the Citrix license files associated with the hostname of the License Server

You can do this by typing “hostname” from the command prompt of the license server and verifying the case and name of the server.  You can compare the output to what you see in the license files if you open them in notepad.  Remember that Citrix licensing files must match (and are case sensitive) to the license server name you are using, and you can’t simply copy them from one server to another when changing license servers.  If you need to change license servers, you need to go to MyCitrix and download the license files again – associating them with the new server name.

7). Consider using the new Citrix license server appliance VPX

Citrix now has a new linux appliance VPX that you can download from MyCitrix which can replace your license server completely.  This is going to be the best practice going forward because linux appliances can be deployed to a VM easily, and can run for years without the issues and headaches of Windows servers.  If you haven’t looked at this new product yet, I’d highly recommend checking it out.

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