Customer is always prompted to reactivate the same computer
If your customer is being re-prompted to activate the same computer, there are multiple potential reasons that this could be occurring, including a copy-protection check or a license file permissions issue.
To determine the possible cause, here are some troubleshooting steps to follow.
The first thing to check is whether the copy-protection validation is the issue. If this validation determines that the current computer running your software does not match the computer fingerprint data in the local license file, it will prompt the user to activate since it thinks the software is running on a unlicensed computer.
In cases where hardware has changed, or the customer performed a major Windows upgrade, it may prompt for a new activation. When the customer activates, it will use the fingerprint data of the current machine, and a successful activation will overwrite the existing local license file. Since the updated fingerprint data in the activated license file will now match the current machine, the user should only need to activate that one time. Note that the user may need to remotely deactivate their previous installation to free up an activation on their license.
In cases where it keeps prompting the user to activate after previously successful activations, something may be changing that the user is not aware of, causing the copy protection validation to fail each time. To determine if this is what is occurring, you can review the activation history to compare the computer fingerprint data:
How to Review Activation History
- In SOLO Server, go to the license details page for the License ID the customer is using. You can search or find it on their customer record.
- Use the drop-down: Activations / View Activation History
- In the list of activations, you will see multiple successful activations if the user has activated multiple times. Each one is considered valid, as SOLO Server may simply see them as activations with different fingerprints.
- You can click on the Installation ID link to view the installation details of an activation, which can include the list of System Identifiers used in the Activation Data field.
The value parameter is a hashed value, so while it doesn't tell you the details of the identifier, it does allow you to determine if it changes when compared to another hashed identifier value.
Comparing Activation History
If you compare the Activation Data of the most recent activation with the data from the previously successful activation, you can determine if any system identifiers changed between those two activations. You can copy the entire Activation Data text from each activation and perform a DIFF to quickly make that comparison and see if any of the hashed values changed.
Below is an example of an older activation and a new activation. The application required a re-activation due to a change of the system identifiers. In this case two NIC Identifiers changed.
Current Activation Data
Prior Activation Data
If something has changed, you next need to check your licensing implementation to see if that change was indeed enough for it to prompt for a new activation. Below are some instructions depending on which licensing client you are using:
Protection PLUS 5 SDK
With Protection PLUS 5 SDK, you choose what system identifiers your software uses, as well as the logic for validating those identifiers. For example, you can require an exact match of all identifiers used, which means any change at all will cause the copy-protection validation to fail, which should then prompt the user to activate. This doesn't allow any flexibility for small changes over time, so we recommend adjusting your validation logic. See this topic for more details: How can I allow small identifier or hardware changes?
Instant Protection PLUS 3
With Instant Protection PLUS 3, we recommend using our Enhanced Computer ID Algorithms for the copy protection, and it automatically creates the computer fingerprint based on a variety of identifiers. Each identifier has a set vote weight, and if the sum of the changes goes over the threshold value (default of 20), then it fails the copy protection validation and will prompt for a new activation. We recommend keeping the threshold value at the default 20, as increasing it can make the copy-protection too lenient.
By seeing what identifiers are changing, you can determine if it was the copy protection validation causing the issue. With Instant Protection PLUS 3, it is less likely for this to happen repeatedly to the same computer since it allows for small changes over time with the default settings.
License File Permissions
Another potential cause of repeated activation prompts is a license file permissions issue. If the user doesn't have the proper file permissions to write to the license file, it may not be properly updated after a successful activation. Your software may run after the user activates, but once they close the software and launch it again, it would prompt for a new activation if the previous activation data wasn't properly written to the local license file.
When using Instant Protection PLUS 3, as a first step, have the user right-click the application and choose "Run as Administrator" and then activate the software. This will set the license file permissions, and only needs to be done once.
In many cases, you should be able to reproduce this permissions issue on your own machine, but if not, then the user with the issue may have restricted permissions or policy settings.