Issues with license server

Very regularlym as in every two days, I get the following emssage: “Can’t establish connection to the license server. Try again.”
And I can’t work.

And like just now “try again” doesn’t work either.

Why do I even need that connection? What if I want to work offline on my notebook next, when our lockdown is over?

I consider this a serious bug, because it completely blocks me from working.

Plus I think, we should be able to work offline.

Please open a support ticket, here:

Yes, you should be able to work offline. The periodic license check allows us to void returned and blacklisted licenses, but a temporary failure shouldn’t keep you from using Scrivener.


Even a PERMANENT failure to connect should NEVER, EVER block full usage of Scrivener! Suppose L&L should be out of business one day (God forbid). What then? Would all users of Scrivener suddenly be screwed, and no longer able to use the product? I have about thirty books in Scrivener, and even the thought that one day, for ANY reason, my validly licensed software would just cease working for ANY reason, is enough to make me reconsider using the product! Such a concern makes L&L and Scrivener UNRELIABLE by definition.

You folks should ensure that if L&L is ever out of business, so that the License Server is NO MORE, those who have validly licensed copies of Scrivener in place, should be able to use those FOREVER without issues if desired.

I have abandoned some great software products over such concerns, and I know I am not alone in that.


We actually dealt with a related issue a while back, after our licensing vendor went out of business. Failure to connect to the license server should not render Scrivener unusable. If it does, please open a support ticket, here:


The point is, the old Scrivener never ever did do that!
The new Scrivener should work the same way.
Other software have the license writtensomewhere inside after entering it. So there is no need for any external checks.

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That statement is not accurate. Any license embedded in a local file can be decrypted because the key is often also on disk, though may be difficult to determine.

Companies like GPSoftware, the makers of Directory Opus, use a local license file and it works well, but it is still there for anyone to try to break and copy, which they have.

And many software companies use licensing products like SoftwareKey that do require a periodic connection to a license server. That whole business model came about because of weaknesses in local storage of license information.

You are mistaken. “Old Scrivener” absolutely did check in with our license server periodically. Just ask all the people who were around when that company folded and the server stopped responding.

Without an external check, how would you suggest we void returned licenses?


Katherine, voiding returned licenses should be a secondary concern to ensuring that those who have valid licenses are NEVER adversely impacted. Also, if a check must be performed when a license is voided, that should be done immediately and as a condition of refund. Finally, it is unlikely that L&L has to contend with very many returned / voided licenses compared to the number of valid licensees who retain their licenses, IMO. If L&L must “err,” in this equation, then it should always do so in favor of its loyal and valid user base.


I contacted the support about it. But that didn’t change anything.
The important point is still that Scrivener doesn’t work, when I get this failed connection-message.
Now our lockdown is over, the music school is open and I have to take my daughter there, because it’s far from home.
I used to work, while I waited for her. But for obvious reasons then I have no internet connection .
So there will be a connection failure. What do I do then?
Oh and now the tempest season is starting here and I have to switch off PC and internet and take them from the grid. so I need to work offline too.
In my thinking, it’s a bug, when I can’t work offline, whenever I need.

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Yes, I agree this is a bug. Please message me your email address; I’ll check the support queue and make sure the person handling the ticket is aware of the situation.

Jan 8 22

This bug still lives. Been getting it about twice a week.
I have to start the Task manager to end the process.

A clue: I have scrivener auto start when the computer is powered-on. I figger other auto-starts are conflicting with scriv starting.

All these issues with the license server added to my disinterest in updating Scrivener from 3.0.1, which is working fine.

Then the other day, on my other computer, I installed 3.1.1 in a parallel installation to 3.0.1. I was expecting to have to activate it, but it just installed as activated and ran without issue. Once I imported my settings and got the dictionaries right - that was that.

Is that how it’s supposed to work? It apparently picked up the registration from the other install. I was expecting to see some kind of “license server” activity that I’d have to hold my breath for until a successful completion.

If I’d known it was that simple I’d have done it on my main laptop long ago. :wink:

Now when I run 3.0.1, it gives me a warning that S is not running from its installed location - as expected; the new install is now the default Scriv app. But it continues to load anyway.

Yes, this is how it is supposed to work. You should only need to activate Scrivener if it is a “new” install, whether on a new machine or after deleting the previous versions activation information.

Thanks, kewms.

Looking at the release notes, I see I am actually two releases behind.

After downloading, I can just install it into the same location, and settings, dictionaries, paths, should all be happy then?

(Excuse my paranoia - I’m trying to avoid falling into troubleshooting rabbit holes these days, much as I can enjoy them, and that leads me to lag on updates, and to leave well enough alone.)

Yes. Extra backups are never bad, but updating in place between 3.x versions should be fine.

Thanks again. About to backup and update now.

From the release notes:

  • Fixed a bug whereby using Save As in a project set to sync with an external folder retained the external folder file path in the new copy. An external folder should sync with only one project to avoid conflicts.

I think I encountered that yesterday. I did a save-as, and then went to set up its sync, and it still had the parent path. A potential gotcha there.

And this one:

  • Fixed a bug whereby moving paragraphs in the editor via Edit ▸ Move ▸ Move Up/Move Down caused them to lose their paragraph formatting (alignment, indentation, etc.) and paragraph style, if one was set, and could also impact the formatting of adjacent paragraphs.

Not sure I’ve seen that, but it sounds similar to issues that make lists difficult to work with.

Some good fixes in these updates. Thank you! This one I encounter frequently, and I think I first reported it.

  • Fixed a bug whereby merging documents caused the editor left/right margin to disappear for the merged document.

The update worked more or less as expected. But one of the files in the hunspell folder got updated, and some, though not all, of my custom dictionary words were no longer recognized. I didn’t look closely enough to see which one it was, tbh. But I overwrote them all from a backup of that folder I made just before updating, and now all seems well.

About every three days scrivener displays the "cannot connect " error. I click retry, and scrivener crashes… I click the red x, it closes, and then I restart without problem.

A link to the Scrivener project is in the startup folder.

I can start scrivener on a tablet that is NOT connected to the webnet, and do not receive the error.

I can start scrivener on a laptop that is NOT connected to the webnet, and do not receive the error.

Anybody have any ideas?

Could it be the same as this :

Thank you for your comments.
I have Scrivener installed on three computers. None give me unregistered errors. Only on one computer is the ‘cannot connect to the license server’ error displayed.