"Unable to obtain a license" error in Service Desk.

Document ID : KB000024482
Last Modified Date : 14/02/2018
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Service Desk r12 comes with a 30 day licencing grace period to allow product installation and evaluation.

After this period, if there is no licence present or a valid licence for Service Desk but with an expired date; the following error message will be displayed immediately after an Analyst logs in:

"Sorry, unable to obtain a license"

Figure 1

Note: Server names have been obscured.

The Analyst will not be able to log in after this point until the license is rectified.

If the CA Licensing procedure has been followed, there will be a lic98.log file generated in your license folder. The default Windows location for a fresh Service Desk r12 install where there have been no CA products loaded is: C: \Program Files\CA\SharedComponents\CA_LIC

The onscreen error will be repeated in the lic98.log file:

Tue Mar 03 10:35:21 2009 - CA Licensing -2USD Unicenter ServicePLUS Service DESK - License Failure.
Please contact your account representative to obtain a new license.
Monday, 02 March 2009 LRF=2USD, 000c29c44041, PC_1586_1_2858, <<SERVER NAME HERE>>, 1

At the same time, Service Desk stdlog.n error will be generated:

03/03 10:35:21.03 >>SERVER NAME HERE>>, web:local  3216 SIGNIFICANT  session.c  
8274 Session 1679609938:0x01D0D328 login by analyst ServiceDesk
(cnt:C76D4A4DC12A0948A4FD5DB087F6BBE9); session count 4; license count 4
03/03 10:35:22.63 >>SERVER NAME HERE>>,  license_nxd     2720 SEVERE_ERROR lic_mgr.c
445  *** LICENSE EXPIRED ***
03/03 10:35:22.64 >>SERVER NAME HERE>>,  license_nxd     2720 SEVERE_ERROR lic_mgr.c
447 The licensing grace period for this product has expired.


To remedy this problem, an updated CA.OLF license file must be obtained. Please contact CA Licensing. There is a "Licensing" link at https://support.ca.com in the left hand pane.

Or please phone in to CA Support, Licencing. In particular if this is affecting a production system and a Severity 1 issue is required.

You will most likely provided with a new or updated CA.OLF license file, with a line for Service Desk which has a product code of "2USP" and a date that is after the current date, with other details similar to below:

FEATURE CA_LICENSE CAI_lic_d 1.000 <<LICENCED TO DATE>> 0 1C747061E432915BA500

After following the instructions from Licensing to install the license, which in short involves copying the CA.OLF to the above directory and recycling the Service for CA Service Desk, you should be able to access the system again.

If the details of your licencing problem are different to those described above, please search our online Knowledge Base.

If still unable to find details, please log a CA Support issue by phone or support.ca.com. Provide a screenshot of the error, the lic98.log file, the Service Desk /log directory and the time of one failure that was recorded in the screenshot.


To bring in a license file without recycling the whole Service Desk system, copy the file in and then end the following process license_nxd.exe. This will automatically respawn and re-read the license file.

This is only recommended for test scenarios, as the supported and recommended way to bring in a new license is only via the instructions from CA Licensing and with a full recycle of Service Desk to ensure a clean state. Nevertheless, it may be a time saver when setting up test systems.

Figure 2

To make a more friendly user warning regarding this error, the license_err.html file may be customised and placed in the Service Desk /site/mods structure.

An example of where this may be useful is if your production system has encountered this licence failure and faces an extended outage. You wish to add a message such as "Service Desk is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later. You will be advised when functionality is restored by <<email/this web address>>."


Take a backup copy of any existing CA.OLF file before overwriting it, in case it contains valid license details.