Inside Info on Installation, Activation, Registration and Tech Support
Lately, I’ve seen countless help requests from people asking for software activation codes, Access Key, etc. At least, I’m fairly certain that’s what they’re asking for. Some posts will simply make a statement, and then end. Nothing more.
Not only are these requests in areas that are intended to help people solve problems, but they may be illegal. It would seem to me that if you publicly request information that can only be used for committing a crime, then chances are if you get that information, you will, indeed, commit the crime. N’est pas?
There are two distinct methods for obtaining new software. They are:
1. By downloading the entire kit and caboodle from a web site
2. From a sealed package containing installation discs and printed materials
With Method 1, you may download one or more compressed files and place them in a single folder on your hard drive. From there, you'll decompress the file(s) and begin the installation. You end up with the same items as with Method 2.
With Method 2, everything you need is in a box (or not) and there is no need to copy all of its contents to your hard drive. You install the software from the disc(s), and then store the disc(s) in a safe place. Occasionally, you’ll still need to download the user manuals from the web.
Regardless of how you “procured” the software, at some point you will be asked for a “secret code” to prove that you own your version of the software. You may need to use the code when you begin to install the software, or you might not need it until you have completed the installation and you launch the application for the first time. I don't know how many times I've personally installed software then put all the documentation and discs away for safekeeping only to have to dig them up a few minutes later for the initial start up.
If a code is required, it may be referenced to as the “Activation key,” or “installation code,” or “access key,” or the “Golden Ticket,” whatever. This little nugget will be somewhere, either on a card inside the box, or printed on the outside packaging and you will need it in order to complete the installation. The code may be alpha-numerical, it may be the product's actual Serial Number that you need, or a "special" access code generated specifically for each downloaded installation, or printed near the UPC somewhere on the package -- usually underneath.
For online purchases, the code may be emailed to you, or displayed to you with your payment confirmation page which you should save immediately. Write it somewhere, email it to yourself, tattoo it on your forehead if you need, but do not loose it. You bought it, it is yours, and only yours. No one will ever have one just like it and, saving the best part for last, it may NOT WORK WITH ANOTHER COPY/DOWNLOAD. What does this mean for you…?
This means if you download an installation file named “installThis.exe,” and you are given the access code of “007,” then the code “007” and the file “installThis.exe” must be used in conjunction with each other. If you accidentally delete the installation file, or if it has problems, and you download another copy of “installThis.exe” chances are good that code “007” is no longer valid and you will be given another access code (ex: “008”) to go with the second download. Naturally, the exact scenario is determined by how the software manufacturer wants to manage online purchases. Nevertheless, without this code, you might not be able to install the software or run it. This is why it is important to save and protect the installation file you download, make a backup copy of it, and put them both away some place safe along with its access code. A good practice would be to store your backup copy at a friend’s home, in a sealed container, or in a bank’s safety deposit box.
At some point during or after the software acquisition-installation, comes Registration. You may be prompted to register your copy at the time of installation. Or, you may be prompted to register your copy when you run the application for the first time. Regardless of when, you should always register your copy. This secures your ownership of that copy with a reference to the machine on which it's running. Keep in mind that there are endless possibilities of how the Installation-Activation-Registration process can flow and how your copy is properly registered to you.
In some applications, when you install and register your software, the number you use (authorization key/code, access key/code, or serial number) can not be used again unless you uninstall the software from the machine on which it is running. This is especially true if you have purchased a license for a limited time use of an application (1 year of use for example). How all this actually takes place is up to the discretion of the developer and how they choose to track their products and customers.
You should always register your software during the initial run. You may forget to do so later, and the software may not remind you. Also, there may be an important fix or update that has been developed and didn't make it into the version you just installed. Depending on the manufacturer, some of the possible advantages of what you receive when you register your product are:
- Notices when bugs/problems are resolved
- Information about plug-ins or add-ons to help your software run better
- Free/Automatic software updates
- Free Technical Support (you pay for call only)
- Discounts on other product purchases
- Access to web sites, forums, discussion groups, etc.
- and many more …
Every computer that connects to the internet has a unique numerical identification number called an "Internet Protocol Address", or IP. This address is not the same as a living or work address so there's no need to be afraid. This address simply associates the software with the computer, and identifies it when it is attached to a network of other computers, or when communicating on the internet. With Adobe, for example, when you run your software for the first time, the software is activated in the background when it detects an internet connection. Your computer's IP address is associated with the software to help protect against unauthorized use. Also with Adobe products, activation authorizes you to use your product on two computers.
on Feb 03, 2010 | Computers & Internet