Obtaining an AutoCAD license through a VPN connection

Like many firms, we use network licenses to support our AutoCAD user base.  While we (IT) always recommend using the BORROWLICENSE command to “check out” a license prior to leaving the office, life happens, and that doesn’t always happen.  Consequently we end up getting a call from the stranded mobile user, who “is at a client’s office for a lunchtime meeting, and cannot get a license”.  Seeing that lunchtime is AKA “web-surfing happy hour, it goes without saying bandwidth can run a little low, and people connected through VPN can’t always get a license.  So what to do?

Trying to find a solution to this riddle myself, I came across an Autodesk knowledge base article titled “License management and support for VPN connections”. I thought perfect, just the info I needed to know.  My excitement was soon extinguished as I read on to the solution part of the KB post:

Autodesk has not tested VPN connections for license management, and does not support this type of connection.

So there I was, returning to the drawing board (no pun intended), trying to find a way.  Finally I discovered adding a system variable to increase the time AutoCAD waits to get a license.  While the procedure does seem a little advance, it’s not as difficult as it may seem.

As stated above, Autodesk does not support VPN connections, and so the following procedure is provided for informational purposes only.

  1. Right-click on My Computer and select Properties
  2. Click on the Advanced tab
  3. From the Advanced tab, click the Environment Variables button
  4. From the Environment Variables dialog, click the New button under the System Variables group
  5. From the New System Variable dialog enter FLEXLM_TIMEOUT for Variable name, and 1000000 for Variable value
  6. [Ok] out of the respective dialogs and try launching AutoCAD once again.
Donnie Gladfelter
Donnie Gladfelter

Donnie is author of the book and Autodesk Official Press, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required, a columnist for AUGIWorld Magazine, Autodesk University speaker, and former member of the AUGI Board of Directors.


  1. Thank you so much. My CAD hotline asked me to try Google to find an answer. I was led to you and the solution worked for my colleague on his VPN connection.

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