The case of the fatal missing registry key

Otherwise known as the case where composite.exe cannot determine a product license to use:

The last time I saw this error, it turned out to be a problem with the ProductInformation.pit file. However, this time it turned out to literally what the error message says: Composite couldn’t figure out what license to use. The tricky part was figuring out why.

First we tried a couple of configuration “tricks”, but those didn’t help in this case.

  • Set the ADSK_COMPOSITE_LICENSE environment variable to SOFTIMAGE (or MAYA if you have Maya, or 3DSMAX if you have Max).
  • Add these lines to toxik.ini (which doesn’t exist by default, so you may have to create the file
    %USERPROFILE%\Documents\toxik\2013\toxik.ini with your favorite text editor).

    toxik::deployment::licenseType                Standalone
    toxik::deployment::softimagelocation          C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Softimage 2013

    Note that alternatively, instead of setting toxik::deployment::softimagelocation in the INI file, you could set the environment variable SI_HOME.

And unfortunately, Composite wasn’t logging any license-related information or errors.

Fortunately I’m the curious type, so I’d been using Process Monitor to see what composite.exe was doing at startup, and I had a pretty good hunch what was wrong. And when I got a Process Monitor log from the customer, it only took a minute to spot the problem: a missing registry key.

When ADSK_COMPOSITE_LICENSE is set to SOFTIMAGE, composite.exe uses the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Autodesk\Softimage\InstallPaths\2013 to find Softimage. The customer’s machine was missing that registry key, so composite.exe couldn’t find Softimage and therefore couldn’t figure out what license to use.

Why was the registry key missing? I don’t know.

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