HOME

TheInfoList




Product activation is a
license A license (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. Cur ...
validation procedure required by some
proprietary software Proprietary software, also known as non-free software or closed-source software, is computer software for which the software's publisher or another person reserves some rights from licenses to use, modify, share modifications, or share the softwa ...
programs. Product activation prevents unlimited free use of copied or replicated software. Unactivated software refuses to fully function until it ''determines'' whether it is authorized to fully function. Activation allows the software to stop blocking its use. An activation can last "forever", or it can have a time limit, requiring a renewal or re-activation for continued use.


Implementations

In one form, product activation refers to a method invented by Ric Richardson and patented () by Uniloc where a software application
hashes
hashes
hardware serial numbers and an ID number specific to the product's license (a
product key A product key, also known as a software key, is a specific software-based key for a computer program A computer program is a collection of instructions that can be executed by a computer to perform a specific task. A computer program is usua ...
) to generate a unique installation ID. This installation ID is sent to the manufacturer to verify the authenticity of the product key and to ensure that the product key is not being used for multiple installations. Alternatively, the software vendor sends the user a unique product serial number. When the user installs the application it requests that the user enter their product serial number, and checks it with the vendor's systems over the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
. The application obtains the license limits that apply to that user's
license A license (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. Cur ...
, such as a time limit or enabling of product features, from the vendor's system and optionally also locks the license to the user's system. Once activated the license continues working on the user's machine with no further communication required with the vendor's systems. Some activation systems also support activation on user systems without Internet connections; a common approach is to exchange
encrypted In cryptography, encryption is the process of Code, encoding information. This process converts the original representation of the information, known as plaintext, into an alternative form known as ciphertext. Ideally, only authorized parties can ...

encrypted
files at an Internet terminal. An early example of product activation was in the MS-DOS program D'Bridge Email System written by Chris Irwin, a commercial network system for BBS users and Fidonet. The program generated a unique serial number which then called the author's BBS via a dialup modem connection. Upon connection, the serial number was validated. A unique "key" was returned which allowed the program to continue for a trial period. If two D'Bridge systems communicated using the same key, the software deliberately crashed. The software has long since had the entire activation system removed and is now freeware by Nick J. Andre, Ltd.


Microsoft

Microsoft Product Activation Microsoft Product Activation is a digital rights management, DRM technology used by Microsoft Corporation in several of its computer computer software, software programs, most notably its Microsoft Windows, Windows operating system and its Micros ...
was introduced in the Brazilian version of
Microsoft Office 97 Microsoft Office 97 (version 8.0) is the fifth major release for Windows of Microsoft Office, released by Microsoft on November 19, 1996. It succeeded Microsoft Office 95 and was replaced by Microsoft Office 2000 in 1999. A Mac OS equivalent, Mi ...
Small Business Edition and Microsoft Word 97 sold in the
HungarianHungarian may refer to: * Hungary, a country in Central Europe * Kingdom of Hungary, state of Hungary, existing between 1000 and 1946 * Hungarians, ethnic groups in Hungary * Hungarian algorithm, a polynomial time algorithm for solving the assignmen ...

Hungarian
market. It broadened that successful pilot with the release of Microsoft Publisher 98 in the Brazilian market. Microsoft then rolled out product activation in its flagship
Microsoft Office 2000 Microsoft Office 2000 (version 9.0) is a release of Microsoft Office, an office suite developed and distributed by Microsoft for the Microsoft Windows, Windows family of operating systems. Office 2000 was released to manufacturing on March 29, 1999, ...
product. All retail copies sold in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
, and
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
, and some sold in
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
and the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, required the user to activate the product via the Internet. However, all copies of Office 2000 do not require activation after April 15, 2003. After its success, the product activation system was extended worldwide and incorporated into
Windows XP Windows XP is a major release of the Windows NT Windows NT is a proprietary {{Short pages monitor