If your copy of TIA Portal Step 7 came with USB Memory Stick Floating License, you'll need to move that license to your hard drive before you'll be able to use Step 7.
If you don't, even with the USB stick installed you'll get the following error when trying to open an existing project, or add a device to a new one:
To move your license from the USB memory stick to your hard drive, just follow these steps:
Step 01) Start by plugging your USB Memory Stick License into your computer. Then open the “Automation License Manager” application that is installed with TIA Portal:
Step 02) Next, select the USB Memory Stick License drive from the list (in this case my USB License is drive “E”.) Next choose the license on the the right, and then choose “Transfer” under the “License Key” menu :
Step 03) In the pop-up hat appears, choose the hard drive you'd like to transfer the license to (in this example my hard drive is “C”.) Then click on OK:
Step 05) Now select the hard drive you just moved the license too, and you should find that your license now resides there:
With the above steps done, you should be able to open or create a Step 7 project without getting a license error:
While the above procedure worked for me, I'm still new to Siemens. So if you have any insight or comments to share, I invite you to do so by clicking on the “post a comment” link below.
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