Each Chief Architect software license uses a security system that allows the license holder to install the program on whatever computers they wish and then run the program on one computer at a time. There are two security options: internet-based Software Lock Security or a Hardware Lock Security system.

Software Lock Security

Software Lock Security is the preferred security option for most Chief Architect users. It is internet-based and allows you to easily transfer the license from one computer to another. Simply deactivate the license on the computer you are using and start the program on another computer while connected to the internet. Once activated, your license does not need internet access for two weeks.

Advantages of Software Lock Security include:

Hardware Lock Security

USB hardware lock

Hardware Lock Security uses a small USB device called a hardware lock that attaches to a USB port on your computer. The lock must be in place in order for Chief Architect to operate.

The Hardware Lock Security option is available on the PC for an additional fee. Hardware lock security is not available for Mac OS.

Advantages of Hardware Lock Security include:

Choosing the Right Option

Internet access is listed as one of the Minimum System Requirements for Chief Architect for a number of very important reasons, including access to:


Unless you work in a location where internet connectivity is simply unavailable, Chief Architect recommends the Software Lock Security option. If you have even occasional internet access, Software Lock Security will provide all the features and advantages of a hardware lock with the peace of mind of knowing that your USB hardware lock cannot be lost, broken, or forgotten.