Troubleshooting Ubuntu Pro Registration

Occasionally, Compute Engine fails to register PAYG Ubuntu Pro licenses automatically. This document describes how to resolve issues you might encounter with registering Compute Engine virtual machine (VM) instances running pay-as-you-go (PAYG) Ubuntu Pro licenses.

Check registration status

To check if your license is registered, connect to the VM and run the following command

sudo ua status

If the registration succeeded, you see output similar to the following and no further action is required:

cc-eal           yes       disabled  Common Criteria EAL2 Provisioning Packages
cis              yes       disabled  Security compliance and audit tools
esm-apps         yes       enabled   Expanded Security Maintenance for Applications
esm-infra        yes       enabled   Expanded Security Maintenance for Infrastructure
fips             yes       disabled  NIST-certified core packages
fips-updates     yes       disabled  NIST-certified core packages with priority security updates
livepatch        yes       enabled   Canonical Livepatch service

If the registration failed and Ubuntu Pro isn't registered, you see a message similar to the following:

This machine is not attached to an Ubuntu Pro subscription.

Manually register license

If Compute Engine failed to automatically register you Ubuntu pro license, you can manually register the license by running the following command:

sudo pro auto-attach

The output is similar to the following:

  • Registration success:

    This machine is already attached to PROJECT_ID
    To use a different subscription first run: sudo pro detach.
  • Registration failure:

    Internal Server Error

Troubleshoot license registration

If you were unable to manually register a Ubuntu Pro license, resolve the issue by doing the following:

  1. Verify that the VM can reach the metadata server by running the following command to check the number of disks attached to the VM:

    curl "" -H "Metadata-Flavor: Google"

    The output is similar to the following, which shows the number of disks attached to the VM:


    If the output doesn't show the number of disks attached to the VM, see Troubleshooting metadata server access issues.

  2. Verify the Google guest agent is running by running the following command:

    systemctl status google-guest-agent.service

    The output is similar to the following:

    ● google-guest-agent.service - Google Compute Engine Guest Agent
    Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/google-guest-agent.service; enabled;
    vendor preset: enabled)
    Active: active (running) since Thu 2023-04-20 16:35:11 PDT; 2h 12min ago
    Main PID: 4582 (google_guest_ag)
    Tasks: 10 (limit: 9525)

    If the guest agent is not installed or failed, install or reinstall the the guest environment.

  3. Verify that a Service account is attached to the VM, by running the following command from your local workstation:

    gcloud compute instances describe VM_NAME \
       --zone ZONE --format="table("

    Replace the following:

    • VM_NAME: the name of the VM
    • ZONE: the zone where the VM is located

    The output is similar to the following:

    EMAIL: ['']

    Note the email of the service account.

  4. Check if the service account is enabled by running the following query:

    gcloud logging read --freshness=90d "SERVICE_ACCOUNT_EMAIL protoPayload.methodName=google.iam.admin.v1.DisableServiceAccount"

    Replace SERVICE_ACCOUNT_EMAIL with the email address associated with the VM's service account.

    The output is similar to the following:

    insertId: 1ne5thkf13sxec
    logName: projects/testproject/logs/
     granted: true
    permission: iam.serviceAccounts.disable
    resource: projects/-/serviceAccounts/XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
      name: projects/-/serviceAccounts/XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    methodName: google.iam.admin.v1.DisableServiceAccount
    name: projects/testproject/serviceAccounts/
     destinationAttributes: {}
       auth: {}
       time: '2024-01-25T21:37:55.748811275Z'
    resourceName: projects/-/serviceAccounts/XXXXXXXXXX
     status: {}
    receiveTimestamp: '2024-01-25T21:37:56.409675900Z'
     project_id: testproject
     unique_id: 'XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX'
    type: service_account
    severity: NOTICE
    timestamp: '2024-01-25T21:37:55.721215307Z'

    If the service account isn't enabled, re-enable it.

After you have re-enabled the service account, try to register the license by following the instructions in the manually register license section of this document.