I'm unable to change my license type (ArcView, ArcEditor or ArcInfo) in ArcGIS 10.0 using the Desktop Administrator due to permissions restrictions.

I'm trying to use the back-door method of changing the registry key in Regedit. In older versions of ArcGIS this was found under > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > ESRI > License but I'm not seeing this in ArcGIS 10.0

The post Opening ArcGIS on a specific license level mentions a similar problem on Citrix, however I'm unable to set a system variable due to the same permissions issues.

Which registry key holds the license type in ArcGIS 10.0, and is it still possible to change the license type using this method?

  • I highly doubt that this will work. There is probably a whole set of registry keys used to authenticate the ArcGIS license level. If changing license level were as easy as editing a value in the registry, no one would pay the extra money to buy ArcInfo. Also, what crazy Group Policy settings do you have where you can edit the registry but not run the License Manager?
    – dmahr
    Aug 16, 2012 at 2:45
  • 2
    It's not that I'm trying to fool ArcGIS into giving me a license type which I don't have access to - the floating LM does have an ArcEditor, but I can't make the change in the ArcGIS Administrator. And yep, I can open RegEdit but I can't use the ArcGIS Administrator - go figure! PS this definitely used to work in the older versions. Updating that registry key definitely did change the ArcGIS license type from ArcEditor to ArcView, etc. Aug 16, 2012 at 3:36
  • @dmahr just an update - you were right about the permissions thing. I can see the registry values, but I can't change them. Dan C's suggestion below, of changing the local variable then firing up an ArcCatalog session, is a useful workaround though. Aug 20, 2012 at 0:57
  • Haha...the registry editor is such a tease...
    – dmahr
    Aug 20, 2012 at 2:12
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    I removed v10.0 tag, as the same setting and procedure works for 10.0 thru (at least) 10.2.2 Jun 20, 2014 at 16:31

2 Answers 2


If its a 64bit machine it stores it under...


Here's ESRI's page on changing your license level without using ArcGIS administrator:


The license level can be set using an environment variable. Of course, without admin rights you can't change environmental variables in the Control Panel, but you can do it from the command line without admin rights. Here's a little .BAT file I made for this purpose:

REM At the end of the next line, use "Viewer" for ArcView, "Editor" for ArcEditor and "Professional" for ArcInfo.
"C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Bin\arcmap.exe"

You would change the text at the end of the second line depending on which license level you want, and change the path in the third line depending on the version of ArcGIS you're running and the exact path to your ARCMAP.EXE file (or ARCCATALOG.EXE or whichever program you want to run). Changing the license level via this method is temporary, it will only use the license level you specify for the ArcMap session you're launching in the third line of the batch file. If you launch ArcMap in another way (via its Start Menu entry, or by double-clicking an MXD, etc.) it will launch with the license level specified in ArcGIS Administrator.


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