Contents - Index

6.6 Managing Licence Keys

If a user damages or overwrites the licence file, do I have to issue them with a new licence key?
Normally you would but two of Sheriff's features enable you to get round this either by creating a Reusable Key or a Reusable Reference Code. Note that you would not create a Reusable Key if your product is time or unit metered, since this would enable your user to bypass the protection, whereas a Reusable Reference Code is only created if your product is expiry date metered.

  • See topic 5.3.5 The Licence Policy for further info on the Reusable Key and Reusable Reference Code options.
  • See topic SlsAPI Data Types & Structures for further info on SLS_TYPE_REUSABLE_KEY & SLS_TYPE_REUSABLE_REF

If the user needs to move the application to another machine, will they will have to call the publisher?
No, this is not necessary. There are two options:

  1. The user can export a licence key to another machine
  2. The user can move the licence file to another machine

Export should be used when the original licence file will be retained on the original machine i.e. the user intends to import the licence key back at a later date or else there are a number of concurrent users who are sharing the file and one or more keys are to be exported to another machine. Move should be used when the user wishes to permanently move the licence file to another machine. Note that any exported licence keys should be reclaimed prior to a move as they cannot be reclaimed afterwards.

Why is there a distinction between the move and export functions?
The distinction exists because of restrictions placed on the export facility - for further information see the Sheriff Administrator help.

If the user defragments the hard disk, will the licence file become corrupted?
No, Sheriff permits disk deframentation without any problems.

If I have a number of concurrent users sharing a licence file, what is the position regarding export of licence keys?
Each user is represented by a separate key. So if you have ten concurrent users then up to ten licence keys could be exported. Caution! If you remove the concurrent user limit (i.e. left it blank) then an unlimited number of users can share the licence and an unlimited number of keys can be exported. You can, of course, prevent any keys from being exported by enabling the Disable Export option when defining the licence policy with the Sheriff Licence Generator.

Is the transfer of a protected application between two different PCs software oriented or is an external element (i.e. floppy disk) required?
The export of a licence key from one machine to another is entirely via software. The user generates a code on the import machine (similar to a Reference Code) and this is then validated by the exporting machine. The user uses the Sheriff Licence Administrator program to do this.

Can we keep a copy of the licence keys granted to the customer in the event that there is a problem at the customer's site - such as a corrupted or overwritten licence file - and we can get them up and running again with the absolute minimum of fuss?
Yes, you can give them a 'Reusable' key, although you would not want to issue a reusable licence key with day or unit metering. If they make a note of the key number then they can restore the licence PROVIDED that their hardware remains the same and the hard disk has not been reformatted.

Are there any limitations imposed on making backups of a hard disk or other similar system maintenance operations?
Generally, you can backup or restore licence files normally unless you are using time metering. In this case, you cannot restore a licence file if the original has been used for more than 15 minutes since it was backed up. This restriction is placed on the backup procedure in order to prevent users from by-passing time metering.

My customer says he wants to upgrade his hardware and he needs another licence for the new system - how do I know he's telling the truth?

  1. You can ask him to terminate the existing licence first. Using the termination facility provided by the Sheriff Licence Administrator (SlsAdmin.exe) he informs you of the termination code; you use the Sheriff Licence Generator (SlsGen.exe) to verify whether he has actually terminated the existing licence before issuing a new licence key.
  2. It is possible to tell whether a new Reference Code has been generated on the original hardware by comparing the first twelve digits of the code (the machine signature) with the original Reference Code. If the machine signature is the same then the hardware is unchanged.

What if they terminate the original licence and then they re-enter the original licence key? In such cases, they will have two machines running our code, without paying for one of them.
It is not possible to re-enter the original licence key twice on the same machine because the Reference Code changes as soon as a valid key has been entered. This is the case even though original licence has been terminated.

One problem we have had to deal with in the past is when we get a phone call/email saying from a customer saying that "our disk crashed, send us another key". Many times, we had no way to check it out. We had to give another key. What do you do in this case?
You will note that the User Reference Code is 24 digits. The first 12 digits are the user's machine signature, the next 4 are the product signature and the remaining 8 are the run-time signature. Thus it is possible to tell whether two Reference Codes are generated from the same machine by comparing the machine signature.

Do I have to ask the customer for a Reference Code every time I issue a new key?
Not if you use Expiry Date metering. There is an option that enables you to issue a 'Reusable Reference Code' so that when the software expiry date draws near you can issue a new key without any need to contact the customer.

If my customer wants to change his hardware, how does he do this?
Your customers can change any hardware component other than motherboard components - although they can upgrade RAM - or hard disk . Should they want to upgrade the motherboard or hard disk they can either move the licence temporarily to another machine or else you must issue them with a new licence key.

My customer wants to upgrade his operating system - can he do this without asking for a new licence key?
Yes, upgrading the o/s does not require any special precautions. If the o/s needs to be reinstalled from scratch then the current licence must be terminated and the customer must be issued with a new key. Alternatively, the existing key can be moved to another machine then then moved back again when the new o/s has been installed.

When my customer moves a licence to a new machine, can he then restore the original licence from a backup?
No. The original licence cannot be restored.

When my customer moves a licence to a new machine, can licences that were exported prior to the move be imported to the new machine?
No. They cannot be imported to the new machine, therefore it is important to reclaim any exported licence prior to the move.

When my customer moves a licence to a new machine, will the licence have exactly the same policy as the original licence from the publisher?
No. It will be as if the publisher had issued a new licence but with the policy as it was when the licence was moved i.e. exported keys that have not been reclaimed will be taken into account (although they cannot be reclaimed after the move).

Can an exported licence be moved to another machine?
No. An exported licence cannot be moved to another machine. An exported licence can only be imported back to the original machine.