Registering Photo Mechanic

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Registration dialog

Registration for Photo Mechanic is quick and simple. When you have downloaded the software and installed it you will be prompted by this screen when you launch the software. Your license key will be emailed to you at the time you pay for the full license. Simply fill in the details and enter the license key.

If you bought a license as an individual then you do not need to enter anything for Department, just your name, exactly as it appears in the purchase confirmation email.

It is also recommended that you save the registration email somewhere safe in case you need to re-install for any reason.

Your license allows use of Photo Mechanic on up to three different computers as long as they are used by the same person.

When you click on the Register button, Photo Mechanic will attempt to contact the Camera Bits Authentication server to validate the registration. This is done to prevent widespread use of pirated license codes. Usually this step will succeed with no further user input required.


(New in Photo Mechanic Version 5 Build 15002 or later)

Your purchase of Photo Mechanic allows you to install the program on up to three computers at a time as long as you are the sole user. If you are planning to uninstall Photo Mechanic from one of your three computers to add it to another computer, you must deactivate the license on the computer from which you wish to uninstall. You can deactivate from the Help menu in Photo Mechanic:


NOTE: If you originally purchased and ran Photo Mechanic prior to Version 5 build 15002, the option to Deactivate may not appear. You can contact Sales and Licensing for ways to deactivate unused instances of Photo Mechanic. Currently, you can't deactivate other computers with this process. You can only deactivate the computer that Photo Mechanic is currently on.

To deactivate this way, you'll need an internet connection. If you can't connect to the internet, it is also possible to deactivate a computer by creating a Deactivation File and then transferring that file to a computer that is connected to the internet.

To do this, choose the same Deactivation option as above, but then select "Deactivate Offline"


1. You will need to transfer this "Deactivation File" to a device with internet access (Example via removable storage drive, memory card/reader, USB cable, etc)

2. From that internet-connected device you'll visit

3. Upload your Deactivation file for validation

4. That's it.

Proxy Settings for Activation


On systems running Apple OS X, use the System Preferences Networking Panel’s Proxies section to configure your settings. Be sure to allow Photo Mechanic access to your Keychain so that it may get your complete HTTP proxy settings automatically.

On Windows:

If your computer is behind a firewall and requires the use of a Proxy server then Photo Mechanic can be configured to use settings contained within a proxy settings file.

First, create a text file named: http-proxy-settings.cfg

Inside the file place the following information (one piece of information per line):

proxy server name or IP address
port number to contact it with
username for the proxy server (if required by that server) 
password for the proxy server (if required by that server) 

You will put the http-proxy-settings.cfg file into a system folder. You may need to change your system to allow hidden system files and folders to be shown. To do this in Windows Explorer:

  • Click on Local Disk ( C: )
  • Click on the Tools menu.
  • Click on the Folder options... menu item.
  • Click on the View tab.
  • Find the Hidden files and folders items in the Advanced settings list box.
  • Click on the Show hidden files, folders and drives radio button
  • Click OK to Apply the changes.

Once you've done that, you can place the http-proxy-settings.cfg in the following location:

For Windows 7/8 the location is:

C:\ProgramData\Camera Bits, Inc\Photo Mechanic\

For Windows Vista:

C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Camera Bits, Inc\Photo Mechanic\

Note: Windows XP is no longer supported for activation.

While it is obvious that entering your username and password into a plain text file is less than secure, the http-proxy-settings.cfg file only needs to exist long enough for the registration process to complete. Then the file should be destroyed. (Note: Photo Mechanic will also be unable to automatically check for updates if you delete this cfg file. If you want to deactivate Photo Mechanic on this computer in order to free up a seat for your license, you will need to create this file again in the same place.)


New users who have never tried Photo Mechanic can try the full, unrestricted version for free. When you download and install the program, you can request a trial from the registration dialog. You must be connected to the internet for Photo Mechanic to activate your free trial. You'll be able to use the program for 30 days to see if you like it.

Manual Activation

If you're unable to connect to the internet even via proxy, you can still activate as long as you can get to a different computer or device with internet access, such as a smartphone.

Photo Mechanic will give you the option to generate a "Passport File"

  1. You will need to transfer this passport file to a device with internet access (Example via removable storage drive, memory card/reader, USB cable, etc)
  2. From that internet-connected device you'll visit
  3. Upload your passport file for validation.
  4. Download the validated passport file
  5. Transfer the validated passport file back to the original computer.

Then in the registration process, you will upload that validated file to Photo Mechanic to complete registration.

We know this process can be cumbersome, so we highly recommend registering Photo Mechanic while the computer is connected to the internet.

If you get a message about a "challenge code" you may be on an old version. In that case, update to the latest version and try again.

Activation via Command Line

There may be situations where activating Photo Mechanic via a command line interface via scripting is efficient. (e.g. Bulk licenses) Assuming you have a working Internet connection, Photo Mechanic (Version 5, builds 15278 and higher) can now be activated by the command line as follows:

On Windows:

First make sure your script is running with its current directory being the directory that Photo Mechanic resides within and that you are using an Administrative Command Prompt or running your script from a Windows PowerShell script as System.

To activate Photo Mechanic use the /activate switch. The /department parameter is optional. If your names have spaces in them, quote the switch and the value as well.

start "" /w "Photo Mechanic.exe" /activate "/name=Company Name" "/department=Department Name" /license=5PQTE-...

To deactivate, use the /deactivate switch.

start "" /w "Photo Mechanic.exe" /deactivate

To check whether a given system is activated, use the /activated switch.

start "" /w "Photo Mechanic.exe" /activated

NOTE: The "" after start is necessary or the start command won't work. The start command itself is necessary because otherwise execution of your script will run in parallel to the execution of Photo Mechanic itself and you won't get the result of the command back in your script properly.

On Apple OS X:

Activation and Deactivation both require elevated privileges. Either run from a shell with the ability to read/write to /Library/Preferences, or by using sudo.

To activate Photo Mechanic use the --activate switch. The --department parameter is optional. If your names have spaces in them, either escape the spaces or quote the parameter and the value as well.

sudo "/Applications/Photo Mechanic Mechanic 5" --activate --name=Company\ Name --department=Department\ Name --license=R4UDM...

To deactivate, use the --deactivate switch.

sudo "/Applications/Photo Mechanic Mechanic 5" --deactivate

To check whether a given system is activated, use the --activated switch.

"/Applications/Photo Mechanic Mechanic 5" --activated

--activated will return 1 for no activation present or for legacy registrations. --activated will return 0 when a valid activation is present.

Output for all commands goes to stderr. The shell will get the application exit value in $?.

NOTE: There is currently no way to do manual offline activations via command line.