LicensingUI.exe is one of the system files found in the Windows/System32 folder. Much like every other system file, it has a designated function in Windows 10. Also known as Licensing UI when it appears in Task Manager, the process monitors the license on the system and is programmed to display warning notifications when it detects a fake license or an expired one.
Unfortunately, there has been a resurgence of complaints relating to this process. Ranging from runtime errors involving licensingui.exe to notifications informing the user on an activated Windows 10 that their license is going to expire, the hue and cry has been getting louder.
Thus, we have compiled this guide to help users deal with and solve issues related to LicensingUI.exe. Just read on to know how to fix “error loading licensingui.exe” in Windows 10.
What Are LicensingUI.exe Errors?
Some users have been experiencing the warnings from LicensingUI.exe when the license on the system is neither fake nor expired. Sometimes, the notification reminds users that there is a newer version of the OS available and they have limited time to stay on the current version. Or it may say that the current license has a fast-approaching expiry date.
These kinds of warnings used to be very common prior to the release of Windows 10. Actually, the LicensingUI.exe warning notification had its day in the sun when Windows 10 was newly released and Microsoft prompted users to upgrade to the newest OS version.
Yet, with most Windows systems now using Windows 10, it shouldn’t be the case that the LicensingUI.exe warning remains rampant. But that is exactly what is happening. Many users have been complaining of getting some variation of the warning notification from the Licensing UI process.
These are some of the messages:
Your license to use this evaluation version of Windows will expire soon. When it expires, your PC will restart every two hours. Get the latest version of Windows to avoid these interruptions.
Your license to use this evaluation version of Windows has expired. Your PC will restart in one hour and continue to restart every two hours. Get the latest version of Windows to avoid these interruptions.
You need to install the latest version of Windows. If you don’t, your PC will restart every hour after this license expires.
You need to activate Windows by entering a new product key.
This build of Windows has expired, so your PC will restart every few hours, and eventually will fail to start. Go online for more information.
This build of Windows will expire soon.
Your build of Windows will expire on %1. If it expires, your PC will restart every few hours. Go online for more information.
Reinstall Windows now.
There are other, more benign errors involving LicensingUI.exe, such as “this application failed to start because licensingui.exe was not found” and so on. This type usually results from a missing or corrupted file and can be rectified with an SFC/DISM scan or resetting/reinstalling Windows. Therefore, our focus here is on the errors linked to the Windows license.
How to Solve LicensingUI.exe Errors
You can follow the methods presented below in any order you want. However, if one doesn’t work for you, keep trying the others. You will eventually be able to get rid of the issue.
Fix 1: Use the Software Licensing Manager
There is no doubt that LicensingUI.exe issues are linked to your Windows 10 license. Unfortunately, since Microsoft doesn’t give you any ready option to turn the annoying notifications off, only a solution that corrects the issue with your license will do. Luckily, there is the slmgr command to the rescue.
This command can be used to change, remove or extend your Windows license. It can also be used to resolve incorrect “license expired” notifications. However, be aware that this only works if you’re indeed using a genuine Windows license.
Before you run the slmgr command in an elevated Command Prompt, you need to reset Windows Explorer first:
- Open Task Manager through whichever method is most convenient for you. You can easily do this by pressing and holding the Windows and X keys at the same time to bring up the Windows Tools menu. Then you just select Task Manager from the list.
- Once Task Manager has been launched, look for Windows Explorer. It should either be around the top under the Apps section or somewhere near the bottom under Windows Processes.
- Right-click Windows Explorer and select End Task. Your machine’s desktop will disappear, but you do not need to panic. It is merely temporary.
- Still in Task Manager, select File > “Run new task”.
- Type “explorer.exe” in the new task box and click the OK button.
Now, you are ready to solve the LicensingUI.exe issue with slmgr. As earlier mentioned, you must run this operation via an elevated Command Prompt.
Open the Windows Tools menu the way explained previously and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the list. Click Yes should a User Account Control confirmation prompt show up.
Next, type the following in the elevated CMD window and hit the Enter key:
Once the command has been run and returned a result, it is time to reboot the system. Certainly, the LicensingUI.exe problem with activation should have gone away.
According to some users, instead of the slmgr –rearm command, what fixed the issue for them is running the slmgr /upk command instead. If the issue persists after rebooting your PC, you should try the second command and restart the machine once more.
Fix 2: Eliminate the LicensingUI.exe Virus with Auslogics Anti-Malware
The genuine LicensingUI.exe file was created and developed by Microsoft Corporation. It is a system file and subject to the usual Windows File Protection protocols. This, however, doesn’t mean that malware cannot replicate the file and deceive users. Internet criminals have been known to create Trojans and successfully transmit them to victims’ computers. Usually, they use the name of a genuine Windows process like LicensingUI.exe to deceive both the user and the OS.
Therefore, if you’re experiencing issues related to LicensingUI.exe, take a closer look: you might have a virus on your hands. Open Task Manager, right-click the process and select Open File Location. The folder you get will tell you a lot about whether the file is real or fake. The original LicensingUI.exe file is located in the C:/Windows/System32 folder. Any other location makes the file suspicious.
If your investigation turns up another location, you should immediately scan your system for malware. Obviously, if a virus or Trojan has successfully infiltrated your system, your current security software might not be as watertight as you might have thought. Nobody would blame you if you called in the cavalry in the form of additional cyber protection.
Auslogics Anti-Malware can detect malicious items that have colonized your machine. It checks the memory for dangerous programs that could be running in the background, such as fake LicensingUI.exe processes, and immediately quarantines them. Its small size and unobtrusive features mean you can use it in conjunction with your primary antivirus.
After running the scan with Auslogics Anti-Malware and removing any infections, reboot the machine and enjoy working on the PC without dreading any annoying licensingui.exe notifications.
Fix 3: Enable the “No Auto Restart” Setting in Group Policy
Undoubtedly, those notifications telling you your Windows license will expire soon, alongside the frequent, sometimes hourly, reboots, can render the system basically unusable. Nobody wants to set up their work over and over again after every restart due to this bug. However, a simple option to stop these notifications is to enable a little-known setting in Group Policy.
This setting is called “No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations”. It is disabled by default. Enabling it prevents the OS from automatically restarting the system in order to install automatic updates. Although it is unclear what this setting has to do with the licensing errors triggered by licensingui.exe, what should concern you here is that enabling it has been proven to work for many users.
Open the Run box and type “gpedit.msc” (without quotes) into it. Hit the OK button, and the Group Policy Editor window will be displayed. Next, you have to navigate to the location below or simply paste it into the search bar at the top of the Group Policy Editor for faster access.
On the right pane, all the Group Policy settings related to Windows Update will be displayed. Find and double-click “No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations”. Change the setting to Enabled and then click the Apply and OK buttons, in that order.
After a reboot, you shouldn’t be getting the LicensingUI.exe expired license notifications anymore.
Fix 4: Disable the Windows License Manager Service
Although Licensing UI is the main recognized process involved in managing Windows 10 licenses, the file is actually a component of the Windows License Manager Service. This service administers everything related to your license, such as activation, deactivation, verification, and upgrades.
If you keep getting notifications telling you your license will expire soon and you’re on a genuine activated copy of the OS, don’t worry, you can stop them from occurring again by disabling the Windows License Manager Service. Here’s how:
- Use the Run command to open the Services window in Windows 10. Press the Windows and R keys together to bring up the Run box. Then, type “services.msc” (without quotes) and hit the Enter key or click the OK button.
- Scroll down the Windows services list in the right pane until you find the Windows License Manager Service.
- Either right-click the service and select Properties, or double-click it straightaway to open its Properties window.
- Expand the “Startup type” option and set it to Disabled.
- Click the Stop button.
- Click Apply.
- Click OK.
To have the greatest chance of success here, it is recommended to also disable the Windows Update Service. Though doing so will stop the OS from automatically updating the machine, at least temporarily, you can always enable it back later.
After doing this, the next two hours should pass without any more restarts or licensingui.exe notifications. If this doesn’t work, undo the changes you’ve made and see if that makes any difference. If it doesn’t, try the next fix.
Fix 5: Re-enter Your Windows 10 Activation Key
Also known as the product key or activation license, the activation key is your ticket to seamless Windows 10 use without any annoying promptings to get a genuine OS copy or activate the machine.
If the LicensingUI.exe bug simply refuses to go away no matter what you do, you can register your product key again, and that should fix the issue for good. You see, there is often a miscommunication with the Microsoft Servers where a user’s active license is mistaken for either a fake copy or an expired one.
As long as your copy of Windows is genuine, you can re-enter your original product key with ease using the steps below:
- Press the Windows key and I on your keyboard at the same time to quickly open the Settings app in Windows 10.
- Select Update & Security.
- In the left pane of the Update & Security window, select Activation.
- In the right pane of the Activation window, click the “Change product key” link.
- Enter your product key and click the Next button.
- You should get a message saying Windows has been activated.
Some people are unable to apply this fix because their product keys are no longer available. Perhaps they never wrote them down, assuming that they wouldn’t have further use for them. If you are in this situation, there is a way to find your product key right there on your system, assuming, of course, your copy of Windows is genuine:
- Open an elevated Command Prompt.
- Paste the following into the Command Prompt window and hit the Enter key:
wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
- If you have carried out the operation correctly, the product key for your current installation will be displayed instantly. Write it down on a piece of paper, copy it to your clipboard or a document, or take a screenshot you can consult later.
Fix 6: Modify the Software Protection Registry Value
Making a few changes to the registry can stop all kinds of LicensingUI.exe notifications from appearing. This only works if your copy of Windows 10 is genuine. It definitely will not help you in any way if you’re trying to get around the repercussions of using a pirated copy of Windows.
You usually get warnings that doing the wrong thing in the registry can mess up your system. These warnings aren’t for show, so we will use Command Prompt to modify the registry instead.
Open an elevated Command Prompt and run the following command:
HKLMSoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionSoftware Protection Platform” /v NoGenTicket /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
Simple, isn’t it? After doing this, the multitude of Windows notifications related to LicensingUI.exe should stop appearing and you can finally heave a sigh of relief.
Through applying these guidelines, you should be able to make any and all LicensingUI.exe issues a thing of the past. You can reach out to us in the comments section to offer additional suggestions or just to share your experience.