Cannot Activate SmarterMail

NOTE: As of November 1, 2019, SmarterTools no longer accepts activation requests that use TLS 1.0 and 1.1. Therefore, older installations of SmarterMail (SmarterMail 14.1 and older) may not activate properly as they do not support TLS 1.2 and higher. For more information, please contact our Customer Service team. 

Although most customers find the installation and activation of SmarterMail easy and trouble-free, there is a possibility that you may experience an issue when trying to activate the software. If you receive an activation error similar to "There was a problem with your activation. Please contact for assistance," there are a couple of things you can do to resolve it. Find some troubleshooting tips below. 

Applies to All Versions of SmarterMail

  • If the system permissions are not set properly, SmarterMail will not be able to activate. For Windows Server 2003 and 2008, the NETWORK SERVICE user needs Full Control over all of these folders. In addition, in 32-bit operating systems, the paths below will not include the "(x86)". Check the permissions on the following directories:
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\SmarterTools\SmarterMail\MRS\App_Data
    • C:\Program Files(x86)\SmarterTools\SmarterMail\MRS\App_Themes
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\SmarterTools\SmarterMail\MRS\Temp
    • C:\Windows\Temp
  • You may also need to add and the SmarterMail URL to the list of trusted sites in Internet Explorer. Also, try and clear the browser cache.
  • Make sure the outbound ports 443 (HTTPS) and 80 (HTTP) are not blocked.
  • Disable FIPS on the server as SmarterMail cannot be activated with this enabled.
  • Make sure the system clock is set to the correct time and date.
  • Confirm that the version you are trying to activate is the same version that the license key is for.


Applies to SmarterMail 11.x-12.x

If you're running into trouble reactivating after performing an upgrade, the following may be more accurate for troubleshooting:
  • SmarterTools products requires .NET to run, and this means that the ASP.NET Role Service should be installed on your server. You can check this by doing the following:
    1. To verify that your IIS web server has the ASP.NET Role Service installed, double-click on the Server Manager icon
    2. Select 'Add Role Service'.  If ASP.NET is not already enabled, then select it and click next to run the installation wizard.
  • If the ASP.NET Role Service fix doesn't work, you can use the default Web server provided with your SmarterTools product and try activating your license using that rather than IIS. To do this, you will need to:
    1. Open the SmarterMail Web Server by clicking on Start >> All Programs >> SmarterMail >> SmarterMail Web Server Config.
    2. Click the Start button.
    3. Open a Web browser, and enter the IP address and the port number indicated in 'Web Site Settings' (by default, this would be http://localhost:9998).
    4. Log into SmarterMail as the System Administrator and reactivate the license here.  The license should reactivate properly.

If you're still experiencing problems, please contact the sales department by emailing During business hours you can also start a live chat or call us at 1.877.357.6278.


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