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floatingwoods

Remote checking of number of installed copies

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Hi, I have an application (exe file) that I want to check on how many computers it is running. Is there a simple and discrete way of doing this? e.g. have the application silently send an email every week or so to a given email account with the computer's hardware ID (I guess sending the PC IP would be going against privacy?). The software could be installed on any location worldwide. What is the best and most discrete method? (not have the system announce an error when the network is down or when the operation can not be performed because of local security measures). The application runs on windows systems. Thanks!

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Quote:
Original post by floatingwoods

I have an application (exe file) that I want to check on how many computers it is running. Is there a simple and discrete way of doing this?


No, it's technically impossible.

Quote:
e.g. have the application silently send an email every week or so to a given email account with the computer's hardware ID (I guess sending the PC IP would be going against privacy?).


Sending an email without permission is liable to get you and your company sued. Your application will automatically be added to malware and anti-virus signatures simply on heuristics.

Quote:
What is the best and most discrete method? (not have the system announce an error when the network is down or when the operation can not be performed because of local security measures). The application runs on windows systems.


The most discrete one is the one that is not discrete. Your require clients to purchase a license, and you have them sign a contract.

If they violate this contract, you can then sue them.

Trying to do anything sneaky like this however is, to put it mildly, horribly bad (unless you have strong legal team and influence to force such mechanisms on your clients).


If you're worried about piracy, do what every other company did - go online.

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With this idea, what happens if the user blocks the program with a firewall?

There are many ways to do copy protection like this, with big softwares using floating licenses such as what is provided by FlexLm.

Some of the third-party wrappers (AsProtect, Armadillo, etc) have the ability to do server syncs, although I am unsure which ones.

At the end of the day, as a user, I don't want your program quietly and randomly sending emails. Perhaps a central server where you sync against hardware ID + serial?

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Thanks for the replies.
I understand now that this is bad (illegal) practice. I'll think about a different way of controlling the number of installed copies.

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