Troubleshooting Prism activation

This article covers common Serial Number activation problems. Please review this page and learn more about how to activate Prism. If you encounter problems not answered here, submit a request on

Problem: The registration web page doesn't appear

Prism will open the registration web page by launching the default browser of the computer system. If the browser does not open automatically to this page, simply point your browser to

Problem: You have an activation code, but don't see where to paste it

After you enter your serial number, Prism presents this page to give instructions:

Once you receive your activation code via email, click "Enter activation code" (For Prism 5, the button will read “Next Step”) on the bottom right of that page, the next screen is where you enter the activation code.

Problem: Prism tells you the activation code is invalid

The activation code links a particular Prism serial number to one particular computer, identified by what we call the MachineID. The activation code you receive for one computer will not work on another. You must initiate the activation on the computer you want to run Prism in order to obtain an activation code that matches the MachineID of that particular computer.

Problem: Our server tells you that the serial number is invalid, but it is fine

Prism will launch your browser to the registration page, and fill in the serial number and the machine ID that identifies your computer. If you have entered the Prism serial number manually, you may have mistyped. To correct this, click the Back button and edit the serial number before submitting the form. For Prism 5 it is possible that the form prefilled the serial number incorrectly. For example, the serial number may really be& GPW5-######-RAH-####, but Prism prefilled in GPW5-######-RHA-####. If this is the case, simply edit the serial number before submitting the form.

When you upgrade to Prism 6, the Prism 5 license on our server is marked as invalid so it can't be used to activate a new computer. If you need to run both Prism versions on the same computer, please contact us and we can configure our server to allow this.

Also be careful when copying the activation code from the email and pasting into Prism. Some email systems can add extra characters into the form when copying and pasting.

Problem: People using the guest account on your Windows computer cannot use Prism

If you try to launch Prism from a Guest Account, Prism will prompt to activate again but this activation will not work. Prism requires elevated user permissions. Guest accounts have limited permission that are intended for temporary use, mostly for web browsing. It is not possible to install software or change settings on a guest account, so Prism won't work.

Problem: Prism 5.04 was activated and running fine. You then used an earlier version on the same computer. Now Prism 5.04 won't start.

These sequential steps will cause a problem:

  1. Install, activate and use 5.04. Then exit it.
  2. Run an earlier version of Prism 5
  3. While running that earlier version, use the Help menu command to change the user name or institution.
  4. Quit the earlier version, and run 5.04 again.

In rare cases (it depends on the length of the name and institution you entered in step 3) Prism will take you through the activation process again. The last step has a button that says, "Start using Prism". But when you click that button, Prism shuts down. When you launch Prism 5.04 again, it starts the activation process again, and then again shuts down before you can get any work done.

The problem is changing the user name or serial number in an older version of Prism 5 on a computer that has a serial number file created by 5.04 can corrupt the serial number file. The solution is simple: Delete that serial number file. When Prism 5.04 is launched, it will take you through the activation steps and work as expected.

Problem: You get a message that the activation code is invalid, after using two different serial numbers on the same computer

When you first launch Prism 5.04 on a computer that previously ran earlier versions of Prism 5, you will need to activate the license to run on that particular computer. The problem is very rare, happening only when you choose to use a different serial number when activating 5.04 than you used for the earlier Prism 5 on that computer, and when not connected to the Internet. If you run into this problem, you will get a message that the activation code does not work. The solution is either to connect to the Internet and try again or delete the serial number file and then launch Prism (which will then ask you to activate).

Problem: You finished the activation process just fine. But every time Prism starts it asks you to "activate" again, or says "Cannot change license type"

For Prism 6, make sure you have updated to the latest version of Prism. This was a problem in 6.00, fixed in 6.01. Click this link for how to update Prism 6.

Prism 5 can get confused when it sees that you are changing from one type of license to another. The license type is encoded in the first position of the third section of the serial number. So this serial number is of type G (for group): Gxx#-######-Gxx-####  (where x is some letter, and # is some digit). The first letter is always G (for GraphPad) so it does not tell you what kind of license you have. An E (for Expiring) license would look like this: Gxx#-######-Exx-####.

If you are changing from one type of license to another, and Prism repeatedly asks you to activate your license, you should delete the serial number file, as explained below. Once you've deleted that file, run Prism again and it should request activation once, and then stop asking.

Problem: I need to send the Prism support team a log file

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