Software Activation - Sponsored Whitepaper

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Software activation is the process of enabling newly installed software to run on a specific computer. Software vendors use an activation process to ensure that only paid customers can run their software and to enforce license restrictions.

Software users are familiar with and have grown to expect a simple, clean activation process when installing a commercial product. This article explains how the activation process works and how vendors can protect their revenue.

The activation process starts when a customer buys the software product. That product will usually be delivered on CD or by electronic download. A unique Serial Number is provided to the customer at the time of purchase that grants the legal and physical ability to use the software on one or more computers.

After installing the software, an activation dialog is presented on first launch. The information requested in the dialog will depend on the software vendor. The Serial Number will be a required field in the activation dialog. Some vendors also require other information like name, company and email address.

When the user enters the information and clicks OK, the software is permanently activated on that computer. The software cannot be copied to another computer. It cannot be installed and activated on another computer using the same Serial Number unless the vendors allows more than one computer activation per Serial Number. The license is validated on each launch before the software is allowed to run, but an Internet connection is usually not required.
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