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iLok “The session you were using is no longer valid.”

or… How to release a new version of your product/service and bring an entire industry to a screeching halt.

picture of old and new iLoks

Shown: original iLok on top, iLok 2 on bottom

PACE has changed how their customers interface with their infamous iLok. The iLok is a DRM dongle, that many software manufacturers use to manage licensing. Formerly, all licenses were managed (mostly just fine) through the ilok.com website, which is now an insufferable “support” site. The new, prematurely launched system PACE requires users to install the iLok License Manager application on their computer.

Ok, no big deal, right?

I recently purchased several plugins to use in my audio production. I’d love to use these great new plugins, but I can’t because the PACE application is horrible.

In order to use the plugins, I need an iLok 2, which has to have the licenses on it, which must be loaded onto the iLok only by using the iLok License Manager, which won’t even allow me to sign in. This is the error I get.

error dialog box

The session you were using is no longer valid. Press OK to establish a new session.

Pressing OK makes the error go away, but it comes right back when I click “Sign In.” The iLok support site doesn’t list this problem as a issue I can submit a support ticket for. So that’s it. I can’t sign in.

Maybe it is just as well. Even if I could sign in, the advice on the the “street” is don’t try to sync your licenses, ’cause you might lose them.

PACE has acknowledged there are issues, but has been otherwise silent.

If this were a football game, PACE fumbled at kickoff, bungled the whole first half, refuse to answer any questions at half time, and amazingly the fumbled ball is still loose in the second half.

I think this screen grab from the iLok.com website says perfectly what many digital audio workers are thinking.

"iLok How does it work and why do I need it?"

UPDATE: 2015-02-26

A funny thing happened with some of the content on this page. I can’t tell the story just yet, but I bet it’s going to be a good laugh when it’s all over. Interweb lulz.

UPDATE: 2015-03-25

As promised…a funny story. After poking around my site stats and hits, I discovered someone was hot linking me.

If you’re not familiar with hot linking, it’s like stealing cable TV from a neighbor, except it hurts the neighbor instead of the cable company. I had a bandwidth leech!

Anyway, a very popular, well-respected pro audio plug-in development company (who will remain unnamed, because it ended well) was using an image from my site on their support page. It was the photograph I took of two iLoks, which is featured at the top of this very blog post.

I knew I could do something funny with the hot link and maybe get a free plug-in out of it. So I created this new image to replace the one they were linking to on my server.

The names of people and plug-ins are blurred out to protect both the guilty and the innocent.

The names of people and plug-ins are blurred out to protect both the guilty and the innocent.

This meant that the above image would now show up on their site. Zing!

I had formatted it to look nearly identical to their artist endorsements in hopes that it might ride under the radar, remaining visible on their support page for as long as possible. For a short while this unofficial endorsement was live on their site.

Long story short…I uploaded the image and went to bed.

Surprisingly, less than 12 hours later I received an email from one of the company’s developers. He basically said, “well played,” thanked me for not goatse-ing them (If you don’t know what that is, don’t Google it.), and let me pick out a free plug-in. Woohoo!

Moral of the story: Hot linking costs everyone something.

Side note: The very same iLok 2 that’s in the picture featured in this debacle must have a desire to make me famous/infamous. It is the very same iLok I photographed to use in the satirical movie poster THE SNOWDEN ULTIMATUM, which was featured in Forbes and lots of other places. There’s something strange about that iLok.



  1. 1 Pix 8:21 pm Jun 13, 2013

    Any luck with resolving that error, Scott? I am in the same position… Tried re-installing, rebooting, re-everything, basically. Purchased few plug-ins, wanted to redeem licenses and no luck with signing-in.

  2. 2 dd jones 9:35 am Jun 14, 2013

    what do i do to make the session valid

  3. 3 David Vandervelde 11:57 am Jun 14, 2013


    It works now! I un installed it, restarted my computer, then re downloaded it.
    After a clean download, I intalled the software. I restarted computer again. After all this, I was able to sign in, activate my I lok and drag pt11 bundle right into the icon in the license manager software.
    I was so frustrated all day (yesterday)until about 11:00pm.
    I still can’t believe how un-pro and redicules this situation is/was.
    Especially considering how expensive pro tools is…
    Why Avid feels the need to have an outside company police their product even further is crazy. Maybe they will learn a thing or two finally, after seing many loyal customers go through this inconvenient situation.
    -David Vandervelde

  4. 4 Scott Troyer 12:13 pm Jun 14, 2013

    Thanks, David! It’s good that this worked for you and you’re back up and running. Hopefully this helps others. I will try later today too.

  5. 5 Scott Troyer 11:14 am Jun 15, 2013

    UPDATE: Tried again today and finally was allowed to sign in.

    Once signed in I tried to move my licenses from my original iLok to the iLok 2. Most of the licenses transferred the first time, but 4 had the error: “This license does not have any activations available.”

    There didn’t seem to be any pattern to the ones that had errors. I had to individually sync those licenses.

    All are now working though. Still, I hope PACE improves the way they handle these things in the future.

  6. 6 Will 11:09 pm Jun 19, 2013

    Hey Scott it looks like this issue is still outstanding for some. I am getting the same error when I try to launch the license manager. I’ve tried uninstalling and all but no bueno.

  7. 7 Declan 5:07 am Jun 22, 2013

    Yep had the same problem, infact I still have the same problem, I have PT 11 to go, but Session expired window is still there………. What are those i-Lok guys playing at????

  8. 8 Dajaun Martineau 5:10 am Jun 22, 2013

    I’ve tried this about 20 times now and I can’t for the life of me get it to work. I just spent a small fortune (considering i work the music industry) on upgrading to pro tools 11 and I can’t even access my new software. Any help would be appreciated… because I’m not getting any from PACE until Monday at 9am apparently

  9. 9 wope 8:09 am Jun 22, 2013

    same problem here, cant sign in to my account with the new software, therefore I have no chance to retrieve and use my new licenses. very frustrating.
    I start understanding why waves has been changing their licensing policy…

  10. 10 DJ 8:47 am Jun 22, 2013

    Same issue here using Mac, tried re-installing, all of the above, accessing and removing via App Support etc…no joy – get rid of iLok Avid!!! People will purchase if they have the coin…And, PACE – get overyourself, you obviously cannot even control you own environment let alone the ever changing world of IP rights outside of the non-functioning world of iLok!!!
    What a load of Bolloks

  11. 11 Joe 10:14 am Jun 22, 2013

    I’m stuck here too. Any tips? Does PT11 require iLok 2?

  12. 12 Roland 10:50 am Jun 22, 2013

    same problem! i tried it on different macs with different operating systems! re-install does not work for me!

  13. 13 Roland 1:07 pm Jun 22, 2013

    SOLUTION: I tried to get Pro Tools 11 running. The iLok License Manager alerted “The Session you were using is no longer valid” on Mac OS 10.7 and 10.8. Re-install and re-start did not help. On Windows 7 I was able to log in, but there I got a error like “Server offline for maintenance”, and in the end I was not able to transfer the license. Now I used a different Internet-Connection (via iphone personal hotspot to 3G) and everything worked on my mac (10.8) I think the firewall of my router blocked the iLok License Manager somehow. I am happy, that I got Pro Tools 11 running after hours of trying! Good Luck! PRO TOOLS ROCKS / iLOK SUCKS!!!!

  14. 14 Ronald 6:38 pm Jun 22, 2013

    Hi Roland, your solution works! Thanks!

  15. 15 Scott Troyer » Blog » THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM 8:22 pm Jun 25, 2013

    […] fit the Snowden plot line, so I replaced it with my own hand holding a USB drive (actually an iLok 2). It was a fun little project that only took a few […]

  16. 16 Andy 5:00 pm Nov 24, 2013

    Thanks for just identifying which iLock was which. A person could search for a half hour on the Internet just to find a simple answer like this one. I always use Images. That shortens it all up. Anyway, thanks. Now I can’t use Pro Tools 11 until I buy an iLock 2. Oh, the fees keep piling up…

  17. 17 bink 2:10 am Jun 9, 2014

    I lok sucks I have 6 or 7 lic. that I don’t even use because they’ve been sitting there broken. I had the ZDT that was a joke nothing happened then I payed 49.99 I don’t know what for my order has been pending for days the website sucks you are not able to do anything but run around in circles I think a class action suit should be in the works for these guys. It’s cheaper to avoid iloks if possible

  18. 18 Scott Troyer 2:07 pm Jun 9, 2014

    Sorry you’ve had so much trouble with it. They fixed a bunch of things, but there’s definitely still room for improvement.

  19. 19 Scott Troyer » Blog » Hot Linking Can Be Fun 1:20 pm Apr 10, 2015

    […] My first personal experience with hot linking ended with some free stuff and a funny story. Read all about it via the updates at the bottom of my article called iLok “The session you were using is no longer valid.” […]

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