Nuke 9.0 licensing and speed shenanigans

loocas | Nuke,software,technical | Wednesday, November 26th, 2014


If you’ve upgraded to Nuke 9.0 or even Nuke Studio, like I did, recently, you might’ve bumped into some licensing and boot-up issues with Nuke. So, allow me to share my experience with this upgrade.

First off, Nuke 9.0 is just fabulous. I’m really in love with the software, even though there are a few issues I’m having from time to time. So, after upgrading to NukeX and Nuke Studio 9.0 I also had to update my licenses and with that, the license server. I’m not sure whether The Foundry completely abandoned the FLEXlm license server, or not, but I transferred all my licenses to the newer RLM licensing scheme. With that came a few issues. The most notable one was that Nuke simply did not start up. Easy fix:

  • Stop the foundry FLEXlm server
  • Uninstall any older FLT software, completely, delete your old licenses, especially from the C:\ProgramData\The Foundry\RLM and C:\Program Files\The Foundry\RLM locations on your license server
  • Install the latest version of the FLT software
  • Run the FLT tool and drag-drop the newest license in there. It should install automatically for you.
  • Restart the RLM server


Now this worked. Nuke started booting up, but it took terribly, terribly long. I mean, Nuke 8.xx took about 2-3 seconds to check for the license on my server (via VPN) and boot up. Nuke 9.0v1 took over 20 seconds (!!!) to check for the license and even longer (!!!) for Nuke Studio to fire up.

Something was wrong and I wasn’t sure what. All I suspected was that my setup was acting up as I’m sure The Foundry would’ve done something about this if it were a bug.

And sure enough! I found the issue.

If you’re like me, a geeky TD that loves total control over his software tools :) , you are probably setting Nuke up via Environment Variables. I went further ahead and due to various reasons for keeping several versions of Nuke installed on my system and ready for usage, I created start scripts that setup the Environment Variables in a local scope of the application on start. Among those there were Environment Variables for setting up paths to the license servers, etc.


I’ve had this setup for years and it has worked without problems. I use this approach for all my programs I use in my workflow. It’s much easier to migrate settings and synchronize plugin versions, etc…, across the entire studio. I highly recommend you this approach. Anyways, the problem with something working for years is that once it behaves badly you have no clue why. :) This was the case. Nuke was taking way too long to boot up for it to be comfortable or seamless and it made me mad during the day. So I sat down and troubleshot.


There it was, I was still trying to contact the FLEXlm server even though it was down, so there was, probalby, some kind of a timeout setup (beside the one in my script) on the server before it jumped onto the RLM server. So, if Nuke is booting up very slow on you and you had it setup similarly like I did, try disabling the FLEXlm license path in your Environment Variables and see if it helps out. It sure did help me and NukeX 9.0 starts as fast as the previous versions did.

Hope this helps you as well.


  1. One of our guys had a similar issue though ours was easier to rectify. I was stumped till I read your post which made me realise we moved our licence server last year. I put 2 and 2 together and figures out he had some old licences pointing to that server which Nuke looks ike it was hanging on for an unbelievably long time before searching the next licence file. Simple delete on the old licence files was all we needed to do. Didn’t need to reinstall and licence servers or anything. Thanks for the post :)

    Comment by Davemcd — March 16, 2015 @ 04:38

  2. Had this same problem too on Nuke 9 on OS X. Using a floating license server at work. Nuke was taking thirty seconds to start up. Turns out our license server is FlexLM and my “\Library\Application Support\TheFoundry” had both a “FLEXlm” folder and an “RLM” folder. Deleted the “RLM” folder and it boots right up! This happened because when I was first setting up Nuke I couldn’t get the server license to work and I was trying both FLEXlm and RLM.

    Thanks for the help – it led me in the right direction.

    Comment by Ross — April 17, 2015 @ 17:35

  3. Thanks, guys, for your input. Very valuable! Cheers.

    Comment by loocas — April 23, 2015 @ 12:07

  4. Man THANK YOU so much it worked for me too.
    I am running a Z820 monster and could not figure out why Nuke 9.0v5 was taking so long to start. It literally went from 1min 10sec start up to 4 seconds.

    Thanks Again.

    Comment by mikey — April 25, 2015 @ 07:21

  5. Boys.

    I could kiss you right now. Great tips. I found that we had 2 licence files within rlm folder. One pointing to old server of course.

    Thanks a lot

    Comment by Milan — May 4, 2015 @ 15:04

  6. Huge thank you!
    For some reason I have whole three licenses in my c:\ProgramData\The Foundry\RLM folder. I delete old and nuke fly again!

    Comment by yuriki — June 30, 2015 @ 22:01

  7. I had to say, mine was similar, but different. I had an old FlexLM folder locally here [C:\ProgramData\The Foundry\FlexLM] Once I deleted that folder, it started up much faster. Thanks Duber!

    Comment by Fred — August 29, 2017 @ 21:53

  8. Thank you so much, mine was taking 2 mins to startup and get ready.
    now its back to almost blazing fast.


    Comment by godan — April 28, 2018 @ 11:30

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