Upgrading Tableau Server from User-Based to Core-Based Licensing

Published: 04 Apr 2017
Last Modified Date: 17 Jan 2019


Tableau Server operates on one of two licensing models: user-based and core-based. How to upgrade your Tableau Server from a user-based to a core-based licensing model is described below.


  • Tableau Server


To successfully upgrade your Tableau Server license type from user-based to core-based:
  • Verify that the number of cores on your machine is equal to or less than the number of cores allowed by your license.
  • Deactivate the product key for the user-based license and then activate product key for the core-based license.

Verify the number of cores

Step 1 

Open a Command Prompt window and right-click Run as administrator.

Step 2

In the Command Prompt dialog box, type:
cd C:\

Step 3 

Change folders to the “bin” folder in Tableau Server directory. For a default installation, type the following path:
cd "Tableau\Tableau Server\[version]\bin".

Note: Replace [version] with the version of Tableau Server running on the machine.

Step 4 

Type the: tabadmin licenses –p command.
This command will provide you with a single numeric value which corresponds to the number of cores on the machine. (In the screenshot below the server has 2 cores.)

User-added image

IMPORTANT: If the result of this command shows that your system has more cores than the cores licensed in the new product key, it is imperative that you do not proceed with the steps below. Please contact Tableau Support and send a screenshot of the Command Prompt dialog box that shows the command’s output.

Deactivate and activate license

If the output of the above command is equal to or less than the number of licensed cores on your machine, then you can deactivate the current product key and successfully activate the new product key.

Step 1 

In the Command Prompt dialog box, type the tabadmin stop command to stop Tableau Server.

Note: Do not close this dialog box.

Step 2 

Click the Start button, and then select All Programs> Tableau Server > Manage Product Keys.

Step 3 

In the Manage Product Keys dialog box, select the product key(s) and then click the Deactivate button to deactivate the current user-based product key(s).

Step 4 

Click the Activate button, enter the product key in the Activate Tableau Server dialog box, and then click the Activate button again to activate the new core-based product key.

Step 5

In the Command Prompt dialog box, type tabadmin start command to Start Tableau Server.

Step 6 

Type tabadmin status -v to verify Tableau Server is running again.

Step 7 

Log in to Tableau Server with your administrator user name and password, and click Server > Settings > Licenses. The new product key displays with the number of cores in the license being used.

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