(Legacy) Moving ZBrush Between Computers

Matthew Yetter
Matthew Yetter
  • Updated

This article applies to perpetual licenses of ZBrush/ZBrushCore 2018 through 2022.  Earlier versions are no longer supported.  Subscriptions, and later perpetual license versions use the same instructions as all other Maxon software.

Moving your software between computers is quite simple.  

Note:  Legacy Single-User licenses allow two concurrent activations, provided that you never actually run both copies at the same time.  If you want to have ZBrush on a second computer, you do not need to first deactivate it from the original machine.  

Note:  When you reinstall your operating system, your machine's digital thumbprint will change and ZBrush will see itself as being on a different computer.  This is also true with major operating system upgrades, such as from Windows 7 to Windows 10 or from macOS 10.12 to macOS 10.13.  In these cases, please follow all the instructions on this page, including Deactivation.

Follow these steps:

First, Deactivate from your old computer:

  1. Go to My Licenses and log in with your ZBrush ID.
  2. Next to your Key, click the Request Deactivation button.
  3. On the next page you will see a list of the activations currently counting against your serial number.  Next to the one for the computer you are removing ZBrush from, tick the box in the Repair column.  For the reason, just state that you are moving ZBrush to a new computer.  Click the Request Deactivation button.
  4. On the next page, click the Confirm Deactivation Request button.  You will then be taken back to the main My Licenses page.
  5. If you have the ZBrush to KeyShot Bridge, you will need to follow these same steps for its license as well.
  • If your old computer does not have internet access, your old computer won't be able to detect the deactivation from the My Licenses page.  In that case (unless the computer is no longer functional) you must also go to that machine and use the Pixologic License Manager to deactivate the copy from there so that ZBrush knows it's not allowed to run any longer.  This program is found in your ZBrush installation directory.
    • With ZBrush 2018 and 2019 this program was called the Pixologic Deactivation Manager instead.
  • Note:  For any computer that is online, the My Licenses system can be used to remotely deactivate that copy of ZBrush and return its activation to the license pool.  The next time that copy of ZBrush is run, it will automatically detect its change in activation status and disable itself.  This is very convenient for situations such as if you're on a trip and you suddenly need to install ZBrush on a computer, or for IT managers that need to re-image multiple systems on a regular basis.  However, it should NEVER be used as a method of cheating the system to get more activations than your license allows.  There are anti-fraud algorithms in place that look for unusual activity and your license can be suspended if the system detects abuse.

Next, on your new computer, install. 


Download the most current installer from the My Licenses page.  Because we have moved downloads to that system, it is no longer necessary to keep your delivery email on record or to have download links reset before you can download again.  Also, My Licenses will always give the most current version of the installer.

It is important that you be logged into the computer under an Administrator account when installing and activating ZBrush.  After activation, any user on the computer will be able to run ZBrush. 

Many antivirus programs are known to interfere with successful installation and/or activation.  This includes (but is not limited to) Windows Defender, McAfee® and Norton®.  It is recommended to temporarily disable or suspend your antivirus software before installing ZBrush.  You may enable it again after activating ZBrush.  (Your firewall typically does not matter and can be ignored unless it blocks ZBrush from communicating with the Pixologic servers when activating.)

Finally, launch and activate. 
We strongly recommend online activation.

  • If your computer is online:
    1. Enter your Pixologic ID and click Log In.
    2. Your default internet browser will open to a page which displays your active license(s), including the number of available activations for each item.  For most users, you will have only one license displayed.  Simply click the Select button next to the desired license to use it for activation.
      • Some web browsers (especially Firefox) do not allow themselves to be launched by ZBrush.  If your computer is connected to the internet and no web page opens after clicking the Log In button, first check to see if the window opened in the background behind ZBrush.  If it did not, close ZBrush and change your default web browser to a different one, such as Edge or Safari.  Then restart ZBrush to try again.

    3. On the next page you will be asked for a description of the computer where your license is being activated.
      • The default will be the same computer name that has been assigned by your operating system.
      • Whatever you enter here is what My Licenses will list for this activation in the future.  Because you are allowed to have two activations per Single-User license (or more with Volume licenses), having a specific name will help you know one activation from anther when viewing your My Licenses page.
      • Please use a meaningful, machine-specific description rather than a generic one like "Workstation."
    4. After submitting this description, you will receive a "Congratulations!" message about the activation.  At this stage, you can close your browser page and go back to ZBrush.
    5. In ZBrush, click the "Check my License" button to have ZBrush query the licensing server.  Within moments, the activation should be verified and confirmed by a new window.
    6. After clicking the OK button, ZBrush will start normally and is ready to be used.
  • If your computer is not connected to the internet, click the "Offline Activation" button and follow the on-screen instructions.  You will be given a file to save to a portable media device which you can then take to any computer that does have internet access.  There, an activation file will be created, which you will need to take back to ZBrush to complete the activation.
  • If you get a Corrupt License error, see this article.

If you have difficulties not covered by these instructions, please start a Support conversation.

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