SoftActivate Licensing SDK

Software Licensing and Protection

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:What is the difference between a license key and an activation key ?

They are very similar structurally and built using the same algorithms. But the difference is that the activation key is linked (locked) to a specific hardware id. Technically, the activation key has two validation fields: the hardware id and the license key. Thus, it can only be validated in the presence of the hardware id and the original license key.

Q: Will my software connect to the licensing server at each startup in order to validate the license ?

No. The license validation is always done offline, by digital signature validation, with no connection to the licensing service. The only connection to the licensing service is done ONCE, at activation time, when the license key and hardware id is sent to the server, and an activation key is received.

Q: Is activation optional when using SoftActivate Licensing SDK ?

Yes, it is optional. You can use activation, or you can just use license keys. The advantage of activation is that it locks the license to a specific computer.

Q: What is "licensing data" ?

If using activation, the licensing data is made of 3 pieces of information: the license key, the activation key and the initial hardware id used for activation. These pieces of information are passed to the LicensingClient class whenever license validation in needed. If not using activation, the licensing data is the license key.

Q: Do I have to encrypt or hide the licensing data from the customer ?

No. You should store the licensing data normally as any other product settings. The licensing data cannot be validated on any other computer different than the one for which the activation key was generated, so copying it to another computer does not activate your product on that computer. Also, no part of the licensing data can be altered without invalidating the activation key's digital signature.