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Using the Provide New License Installer option, administrators can process a new license file to enable or disable Blackboard Learn capabilities. For example, if you are running Blackboard Learn with only course delivery and then your school licenses content management, the process for turning on the Content Collection is to upgrade the license.

If the license file is renamed bb-license.xml and placed in the same directory as the Installer, the Installer will automatically detect the license file.

When providing a new license, downtime is required. This installation option will perform a full upgrade, shutting down services and removing any currently installed patches.

Upgrade the Blackboard Learn license

  1. Obtain a new license file from Blackboard. To request a current license file, contact your Blackboard Client Representative.
  2. Rename the license file bb-license.xml and place it in the same directory as the Installer. Be sure not to confuse the new license file with the old license file.
  3. Launch the Installer. Windows users may select on the Installer file to launch it. UNIX users should run the following command to launch the Installer: /usr/local/bbinstaller/java -jar updater_file -gui
    A welcome message appears with a reminder to read the release notes and installation instructions before updating. Select Next to continue.
  4. The first page asks for the directory where Blackboard will be found. Select Next to accept the default or enter a new value and then select Next. If Blackboard Learn is not found in the directory provided, the Installer will attempt to install at the given location.
  5. The next prompt presents several options. The options are Update, Provide new License file, Uninstall Blackboard Learn, and Uninstall appserver. Select Provide new License file and select Next.
  6. The location of the license file will populate automatically. If it does not, enter the path to the license file. Select Next to continue.
  7. A message will appear that the license upgrade is ready to proceed. Select Next to start the upgrade. Do not close the command line window or any of the other windows that pop-up during the update.

Upgrade a license without upgrading Blackboard Learn

Normally a new license file may be applied when upgrading Learn by using the installer to apply the license. This process returns Learn to an original installed condition removing any cumulative patches, updated Building Blocks and customizations that may have been installed.

In some cases updating a license file without an upgrade may be required. There is a command line script that is capable of upgrading the Blackboard Learn license in


Stop all Blackboard services and run the script providing the path to your new license file as the one and only argument. This will apply your new license without making any additional Learn changes.

The tool uses relative paths so you must be in its directory when running it.


cd /usr/local/blackboard/system/tooldefs/system/LicenseReplace
./run-tool.sh pathto/newlicense.xml


Be careful not assign files to folders too deep in your file structure. Windows limits against the result long path names. Also avoid special characters and spaces. The supplied licenses have very long names and embedded spaces, so you need to create a copy and rename it to a shorter name that has no spaces. Example with Blackboard installed on the E: drive.

run cmd.exe 'as administrator'
cd e:\blackboard\system\tooldefs\system\LicenseReplace
.\run-tool.bat c:\newlicense.xml