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Locked out of FileMaker by Maximum number of licensed users error when Data Source is localhost

Question asked by Ed on Apr 19, 2012


Locked out of FileMaker by Maximum number of licensed users error when Data Source is localhost


FileMaker Pro



Operating system version

Mac OSX Lion

Description of the issue

If a user types the localhost IP of into an External Data Source, FileMaker displays the "Maximum number of licensed users" error message and closes itself down, effectively locking out all future activity.
- Rebooting doesn't help.
- "Waiting a few minutes for the network to refresh" the license data doesn't help.
- And because FileMaker shuts itself down, you cannot edit the External Data Source to fix the problem. (The only way I was able to recover my file was to quickly click the File menu as fast as possible after closing the "Maximum licenses" error popup.

I am developing this database for a small office where two users share the data, one of which works on the same machine where the data is shared. It seemed reasonable to me that I could set the external data source to "localhost" ( so that my customer wouldn't have to reconfigure the External Data Source on his own machine every time I provide an update..."localhost should work the same on my DEV machine as it does for him", so I thought. Because of my "clever" solution, I found myself condemned to "FileMaker license hell", and nearly lost a few hours of work because of this problem.

Steps to reproduce the problem

1. Create an External Data Source to a shared data file that is shared on the local machine via the "Remote..." button when adding an External Data Source file.
- The data source should show up in the File Path box as:

2. Change the IP address to (the localhost adapter IP address)

Expected result

The data source should connect to the localhost adapter the same as the local adapter's IP address.

Actual result

Every time the layouts file is opened, FileMaker displays an accusative error popup that automatically shuts down all FileMaker processes as soon as you click OK. You can't edit the External Data Source, so the file is effectively locked permanently and only fit for the trash can.

Exact text of any error message(s) that appear

"The maximum number of licensed users are currently using this copy of FileMaker Pro..." and something to the effect that FileMaker will now shut down all processes.

Configuration information

External Data Source set to:
fmnet:/ Name Here


NONE! I got *lucky* by quickly typing Enter to close the "Maximum users" popup followed by a quick click on the File menu which allowed me to Manage->External Data Sources. But it took me a dozen tries, and by attempt number 10 or so I was about ready to delete FileMaker from my system forever and go back to Access. Honestly guys...most of these anti-piracy checks only hurt and upset those of us *legitimate* customers.