How to Update an Expired VMware vSphere License in the vSphere Web Client

melissa • February 14, 2017 • No Comments

The time has come once again to update a expired VMware vSphere license.  Personally, I have a bad habit if never bothering to add licenses in a lab environment until they expire.  If we’re talking about a production environment, I always make sure licenses are verified during the testing and validation phase of the project.  If not, have no fear, I am about to show you how to update an expired vSphere license using the vSphere Web Client.  This will work for VMware vSphere products like vCenter and ESXi.  You can also use this method to put assign VMware vSphere licensees during initial deployment, or before they expire.

(If you are still using the VMware vSphere C# client and need to update an expired license, be sure to check out this article.)

In this case, my VMware vCenter Server license expired.  If your vCenter Server license is expired, believe me, you’ll know.  You won’t be able to do things like add a host to vCenter.


This article will show you how to update a license in the VMware vSphere Web Client, and help you figure out one of the most commonly encountered issues when doing so.  If you’re looking information on how to update the license using the C# client, make sure to take a look at this post.

First, log into vCenter.  Then, click the home button and select Administration.


Now, click on Licenses, then click the green plus button I’ve circled to add a new license.


Now, here’s the tricky part: you need to actually, manually type out your license key!  Otherwise, you’re going to get the “Cannot add the following license keys, because their format is incorrect.”.


Perhaps this is a fluke of using a Mac (probably), but I encounter this every single time without fail.  I try to take the dashes out, yet it still tells me “Cannot add the following license keys, because their format is incorrect.”.  This is slightly different than the C# client, where you’ll only see the first part of the key.  Type it in, and without fail, you’re good to go.  In case you were wondering, you need to type the dashes too.  The next screen you see will tell you to name your license.


Now, our license is in.  We just need to assign it to vCenter.  Click the Assets tab, and vCenter will be selected by default.  If you needed to assign a license to an ESXi host, you would do it the same exact way, just selecting Hosts on the Assets tab.  Click the Assign License button.  As you can see, our vCenter server license is expired.  Oops!


As you can see, our vCenter license is already selected for us, even though I had several other types of licenses in the system.  Click OK.


That’s it!  Now you’re ready to go back to whatever you were doing before you realized your vCenter license was expired.  Remember, this process will also work for your ESXi hosts in case those licenses have expired too.  If you want to learn more about the newest vSphere host client for accessing hosts directly based on HTML5, be sure to look at my favorite feature of it.

Categories VMware