Licensing (machine-locked)

The following message will appear if the license server has refused your Activation request:


The most likely reason for a refusal is because the maximum number of activations permitted by your license has been exceeded.  If you have a standard S-Gear license, then you are permitted to activate two machines simultaneously. An S-Gear studio license will allow five simultaneous license activations. If you already have the maximum number of machines activated, then you must deactivate a machine before you can activate a new machine.

If you are unsure about what machines you have activated, please send us a message via contact including your license key, we will check the records for you and advise.


Note:  If you have a partitioned hard drive with multiple operating systems, each operating system partition will be treated as a separate machine by the licensing system.


If you see a license error in the VST plug-in but the S-Gear Application is working fine, the problem is almost certainly because the DAW software is loading an old version of the S-Gear VST DLL (older than the currently installed version of S-Gear).

To solve this problem, check your DAW to see which folders are scanned for VST plug-ins.  Look in these folders and make sure there are no older versions of the S-Gear DLL.  

Note: You can see the version of a VST DLL by right clicking the file and selecting Properties from the drop down menu.  The details tab will show the file version.

The S-Gear installer will install the S-Gear VST plug-in to the following folders:
C:\Program Files\Scuffham Amps\S-Gear_VST\
C:\Program Files (x86)\Scuffham Amps\S-Gear_VST\    (32bit plugin on a 64bit machine)

It is highly recommended to add these folders to the list of folders scanned by your DAW.  This way your DAW will always load the latest version of the S-Gear plug-in, avoiding any mismatch problem.

If you are having difficulty tracking down an older version of the S-Gear DLL, try the following:

  1. Close S-Gear and your DAW
  2. Uninstall all versions of S-Gear on your machine
    (use the Windows control panel or the original S-Gear installation files)
  3. Delete any instances of S-Gear in your DAW VST folders and check that your DAW cannot find any instance of S-Gear
  4. Reinstall the latest version of S-Gear
  5. Add the S-Gear VST folder to the list of folders scanned by your DAW, or copy the S-Gear DLL to your custom VST folder

The following will result in an incomplete S-Gear installation or invalid S-Gear license:

  • Using Apple Time Machine to restore a system image from another machine
  • Using Apple Migration Assistant to copy applications from another machine

These tools are not able to recreate a valid S-Gear license on the new machine.

To fix any problems after running these tools:

First, close any S-Gear instances and re-run the S-Gear installer.  This will ensure that the S-Gear installation is complete.  You will then need to activate your license using the License Key sent to you when you purchased S-Gear.  If you have lost your license key, please send us a message via contact containing the email address used during purchase.

Note: If you are moving to a new MAC, don't forget to deactivate the license on your old system.  You may not be able to activate your new system if you have exceeded the number of activations permitted by your license. Deactivation is simple and quick, just click the Deactivate button on the S-Gear About screen.  

If you see the following 'failed to communicate' message when attempting a license operation, this indicates that S-Gear was not able to establish a connection to the licensing server.


  • Check that you have internet connectivity
  • Temporarily disable any local firewall running on your machine
  • If you are part of a larger network, consult your network admin or try to connect from a different service provider

The status of our license servers is indicated on the Product Activation page.  Our servers are hosted in the USA by one of the most reliable hosting providers.  We have very little downtime, typically less than a few minutes a month, however, sometimes external internet connectivity can prevent a connection from being established from a particular location.  If you are unable to connect, wait an hour or two and try again. Alternatively, and if possible, try to connect from a different service provider.


This error occurs if S-Gear is unable to run the license manager.  Any attempt to reactivate will fail immediately.


Please see the following advice:


1) The problem is most likely due to an incomplete S-Gear installation.  This situation might occur if you have restored your system from a disk image.  Reinstalling S-Gear should fix the problem.

  • Close S-Gear and any DAW session using the plug-in
  • Re-run the S-Gear installer

2) The error will appear when using S-Gear in GarageBandX on OS X Mavericks.  This happens because GarageBand prevents S-Gear from running its license manager.  Please see the following Sandbox Workaround for OS X Mavericks


1) On Windows, S-Gear uses a system service for license transactions (Flexnet Licensing Service). If this service is disabled or removed, then the license error will be displayed. Restarting your machine may resolve the problem. If the problem persists, uninstall and reinstall S-Gear to ensure that the licensing service is correctly installed and enabled.

2) Some antivirus programs can be over enthusiastic at stopping services. Make sure your antivirus program has not quarantined the Flexnet licensing service.

3) It is possible that your S-Gear installation has become broken in some way. Uninstall S-Gear completely and then re-install. This should correctly install all S-Gear components.


license error 

If the license error screen shows when you start S-Gear, check the following:


Reboot your machine as a first measure.

If you observe the License Error screen in the VST plug-in but NOT in the S-Gear application, then the problem is due to a mismatched VST plug-in DLL.  If you have manually copied the VST DLL to your DAW plug-in folders, you need to update this copy when you upgrade to a new version of S-Gear.  The troubleshooting note License Error in the VST plug-in contains advice on how to track down a mismatched DLL.

A license error screen in the S-Gear standalone application suggests an incomplete installation.  Uninstall and reinstall S-Gear to resolve.  

Note: If you have v1.0 and v2.0 installed side by side on your Windows machine, and you wish to uninstall one of them. Please refer to the S-Gear v1-v2 Upgrade Notes. You must first uninstall both versions, then reinstall one of them. If you do not follow these steps you may end up with an incomplete S-Gear installation, showing the license error screen when you try to run the software.


This type of error is unlikely on the MAC.  If you do observe the error, reboot your system and reinstall S-Gear.  


The S-Gear license is bound to your machine and looks at the hard disk serial number, the CPU serial number and the ethernet address in order to recognise your machine.  If more than one of these identifiers changes, then a license repair is necessary.  A license repair is similar to re-activating and takes a few seconds if you are connected to the internet.

GarageBand X in MAC OS X 10.9 Mavericks is now a sandboxed application and puts strong security restrictions on any AudioUnit plug-in loaded into a session.

To use S-GEAR v2 with GarageBand X, you must first run the S-GEAR standalone application (from your applications folder).  Click on the S-GEAR 'i' button on the top bar in order to bring up the 'About' screen - this will ensure that the standalone application is disabled for audio processing.  You can now load the S-GEAR plug-in in GarageBand.

This solution works because the S-Gear Application loads the license into memory, therefore the plug-in running in GarageBand doesn't need to.


This error may occur if the hard disk has been cloned from another machine.  The S-GEAR license will no longer be valid on the new machine.  Clear the local license and reactivate.  Steps as follows:


  1. Close S-Gear
  2. Locate the following folder on your machine (this is where the S-Gear license is held):
    /Library/Preferences/FLEXnet Publisher/FLEXnet
  3. Delete the files starting with 'sampslm...'
  4. Restart S-Gear (a new license file will be created)
  5. Activate S-Gear using your License Key


  1. Close S-Gear
  2. Locate the following folder on your machine (this is where the S-Gear license is held):
  3. Delete the files starting with 'sampslm...'
  4. Restart S-Gear (a new license file will be created)
  5. Activate S-Gear using your License Key
Note: In Windows 8, the ProgramData folder is hidden by default.  To locate this folder, run Windows Explorer, select the 'View' menu. Ensure that the 'hidden items' checkbox is enabled, you should then see the ProgramData folder under your main drive.
Note:  Re-activating S-Gear on a machine that has already been activated will NOT consume an additional license activation.  The S-Gear license server will recognise the activation as a reinstallation of an existing machine.

If after renewing your license you receive the 'license activation is requested' message, this could be because there are already two machines activated against your license key.  Please see the troubleshooting note License Activation Refused.

If after renewing your license you are still seeing the original error condition such as 'failed activation', 'license repair failed' or 'license error', the persisting problem could be due to folder permissions on the FLEXnet folder preventing S-Gear from writing to the folder.  If you have not already done so, reinstall S-Gear.  If the problem still persists, take the following steps to recreate the license folder with correct permissions:


  1. Close S-Gear
  2. Locate, then delete or rename the FLEXnet Publisher license folder
    /Library/Preferences/FLEXnet Publisher
  3. Run the S-Gear installer, this should create a new FLEXnet Publisher folder with the correct permissions
  4. Re-instsall S-Gear (this should create the FLEXnet sub-folder and the S-Gear license file)
  5. Activate using your license key

If at step 3, the installer does not succeed at creating the FLEXnet Publisher folder, then it is likely that there is still a folder permissions issue preventing it. If this is the case, then you can create this folder manually.


  1. Close S-Gear
  2. Locate, then delete or rename the FLEXnet license folder
  3. Reinstall S-Gear (this should create a new FLEXnet folder with correct permissions)
  4. Run S-Gear, this will create a new license file
  5. Activate S-Gear using your License Key