New Licensing in Preparation with PhotoLab 7.7?

Many recent threads state that this or that feature is missing or non-functional. In at least one of the answering posts, it was mentioned something like DxO had changed how licensing was dealt with, which caused the problems. So, I put on my work clothes and started digging.

Before DPL7.7, the license file was an unencrypted text file located at
/Library/Application Support/DxO Labs/Licenses/

Now, I find the license file in my Mac user account’s Library folder

PhotoLab 7.7. can run without the unencrypted text files because it checks licensing with the new *.key file located as shown above. Previous versions of PhotoLab still need the unencrypted license files, so, they are better left where they are.

I checked the situation with an additional user account, which gets a copy of the *.key file too. Whether that is counted as a second license or not, I can’t say. Let’s hope it doesn’t.

I wonder if this is a first step in the direction of customer-managed licensing in which we can activate or deactivate computers - as we can do it today with e.g. Adobe.


This would indeed be a real improvement

From the release notes for DPL 7.7.1, it’s just like in newer DPR:
An internet connection is required to use the Software and specifically for its activation. After online activation, DxO PhotoLab can be used offline for 37 days before a connection to DxO’s servers is required. Notifications advising that a connection is needed will be displayed after 30 days.

Well that sucks - we have annual fieldwork that sometimes means going six weeks without a connection.

It also sounds like a subscription is coming, otherwise why not validate only when the software is installed or updated? For many this would remove yet another key differentiator between DxO and its (better featured and better Q&A’d) competitors.

Adobe will win then.

Many software companies are going (down/up) that road to a) secure a steady income and b) make a product seem more affordable. Remember when a Photoshop license was a four-digit investment? Now, as part of the photo plan together with Lightroom, it’s just about 100 per year, if you get your subscription voucher around Black Friday.

I wonder how long DxO will be able to resist. We’ll see.

Well, I hope that they do not go down this route. Capture One’s transition to subscription was a PR and customer relations disaster. It is thought that they lost customers, and a year later they were reportedly laying off staff.

I strongly suspect that DxO would do far better if they concentrated on improving the software first. Eg resolve issues such as the range of supported cameras, time to support a new camera, the half-hearted DAM features, lack of AI masking, Q&A failings, etc.

If they switch to a subscription their pricing will be directly compared to Adobe and Capture One, and IMO they will not be able to justify a meaningful annual fee under that comparison - ie to generate more revenue than they currently get from upgrades.

This is especially true given that current DxO PL users have none of the lock-in that catalogue dependent software tends to have.

@platypus Thank you for the heads up.

@Mark2 Or an attempt to thwart the “bootleggers” or both!?

How bad the problem actually is I don’t know, i.e. how many actual new sales they have “lost”, but at least one bootleg site actually keeps a stock of back code files complete with properly numbered files.

So legitimate users may “suffer” because of a hackable activation system or rather DxO’s reaction to potential hacking.!

Or perhaps it is a move in a new direction!?

A better and less intrusive/limiting scheme with less potential legitimate user impact.

Given where they are starting from, i.e. one of the more archaic deactivation schemes, is that likely? It would be good if a licence could be “halted” on one system and then activated on another and then the process reversed whenever required etc.

In the meantime, the image that “offended” some users has been replaced! It would be better if users could specify their own image (or none) so it can be changed when they get “bored”.

IMHO, that’s an absolute No-Go. So without active internet connection (and some more preconditions, like a working service at DxO…), a user can’t use the paid (!) software any longer?!

It appears that DxO strives to force even the last remaining users away from PL. Very sad story.

DxO is too much spread too thinly over products that many people don’t need nor want.
This dispersal forces them to try to compel users to buy them by off-putting means.
And it doesn’t leave them enough time for real innovation : most of their updates on those secondary products over the years have been small interface and ergonomic facelifts, but without any major breakthroughs. And so major product do not evolve that much too.

They should concentrate on what they master the best and make photolab really what they pretend it to be : “The most advanced, end-to-end RAW photo editing software”.

Just my opinion, but I like to hear the survivors of the old guard shout. Don’t bother.

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I know some products which have good way of managing subscription :

  • first can be rented by the month for a very decent price.
  • second a cheap dongle can be purchased and plugged on workstation without the need to have an internet connection (or only one time a year to update the dongle maybe) - (I don’t have it, lot of friends have).
  • third licence management can be done by user (unlock workstation) on their site.

I just sent DxO a note protesting their decision to implement the automatic turn-off date for what is supposed to be a software good into eternity. Maybe if enough users did the same they might come to their senses.

Why do you think that DxO have made a …


It will be this that is being referred to (my highlighting):

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So, if I go to somewhere in the world, on an assignment, that has no internet, or a censored internet, for more than 37 days, I lose the use of my paid for and legal software?

I didn’t agree to that, or read it in the Ts&Cs at the time I bought it.


Its also nice when the software company stop to exist… :man_facepalming:t4:


Ah! That is definitely nasty.

Anyway, it is just a piece of software and there are enough competitors today.

Not sure there is a single one we can trust on the very long term :pleading_face:

Sadly this is my biggest fear with DxO.

A users copy of the product will then only last as long as the activation servers’ bills are paid.

DxO should ensure that a code can be given to all licensed users to ensure all licensed copies can be activated permanently before their activation servers go offline, sorry if their activation servers go offline.

While I understand the concerns of DxO to protect their intellectual property I resent DxO making their users, the ones who provide the revenue to pay their (DxO) bills having their lives complicated and potentially their livelihoods threatened by their (Dxo)response to such threats.

DxO have an issue so they threaten retaliation on their loyal users , how constructive is that!

It may be just a piece of software and in many areas (way) behind other products but I happen to like the way that is works and specifically chose it above other products.


While I am attached to the internet virtually every single day with rarely an exception, I am also dismayed that periodic attachment to the internet is required for a perpetual PhotoLab license.

One of the main reasons that I avoided prescription software is because once you stop paying every month, you lose access to the functionality. With this new DxO approach, it’s just the other side of the same coin. If DxO stops paying their server bills, the end result for us will be the same as if we stopped paying for a subscription. For all intents and purposes we no longer have a perpetual license.

This new requirement for a connection every 37 days makes me very suspicious of DxO’s future plans.

After 7 years as an extremely loyal user, I may have to begin reassessing my priorities.