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Thread: What's unique on a Windows System

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    Senior Member Gazzak's Avatar
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    What's unique on a Windows System

    OK here's the issue. We currently develop some software that gives the end user a number to register with. We use that number to create a unique license, user inputs the license and the software works OK. The number is generated by using hardware, such as MAC address and a few other bits, so that it's tied to that PC/server.

    The problem we're starting to have is that some virtual environments regularly change some of their hardware parameters, meaning that the license is becoming invalid, so we have to generate a new one based on a new number being generated. Same issue happens if the virtual machine is moved to a new server.

    The developers have now decided to create the code based on software and not hardware to overcome this problem, for example the time & date that the software was installed or the product key.

    What I'm looking for is ideas on what they could look for in Windows to use as part of the code generated that is unique to each system and won't change if a server is moved across systems. Any ideas?

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    Why not grab the Windows key out of the registry? Is that generic code it puts in there unique?
    "But I got it because I'm an iSheep who needs to have all my stuff have an Apple logo on it."

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    Senior Member CeeBee's Avatar
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    Microsoft couldn't figure out what to use reliably for activation either...
    One thing that can be done if acceptable is have the app "call home" periodically to validate. Tie a hardware id to a serial, if the id changes the app can call the registration server and disable any previous id tied to the serial. If the new id was generated due to cloning it will disable the previous id.
    Having something without internet access... maybe a hardware dongle and/or a local activation server

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    Senior Member slgrieb's Avatar
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    I think Larommi called this right. Basically, all the phone home systems are a pain in the ass. In this regard, I would say Blizzard stands out a shining example of how to piss off your customers. I still see some software products that require dongles, but that always struck me as a little sleazy. Anyway, these days, it's getting harder to find somewhere to plug one in. A parallel port or even a serial port, good luck with that. I see a lot of systems with the on board USB ports maxed out.

    But, a simple program like Recover Keys can pull up the Windows product ID even when it is stored the the system's BIOS. Seems straight forward, and unlike some of the other approaches, I would say it has the benefit of not essentially saying to your customer, "I think you're a crook."
    Yes, Mr. Death... I'll play you a game! But not CHESS !!! BAH... FOOEY! My game is...
    WIFFLEBALL!

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    Hmm, license key dongles. I have a client with several of them. They got broken into, the dongle that someone forgot to put in the safe box that evening got lifted. Thief probably thought it was just a USB key. €30k license gone. Vendor would not replace, insisted it required a new purchase. Insurance paid eventually after much shenanigans.

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    Could you integrate a two step log in authentication in a similar fashion to Symantec VIP access or Google Authenticator
    https://m.vip.symantec.com/home.v
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...ator2&hl=en_GB

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