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Providing Superior Protection
and Licensing Tools since 1992

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions & Answers

Product and System Compatibility

Product Features and Capabilities



General Questions & Answers

1. Why should I protect my software?

  1. Vertical markets are major targets. If you are in a vertical market, you can't afford to lose sales through unauthorized use of your software. Your market is limited and each lost sale is significant. Using a copyright notice is like putting up road signs without police to enforce the traffic laws. If the opportunity exists to copy your software, people will. The more expensive a program is, the more copying of it occurs.

  2. Technical support can lead to increased sales. CrypKey products require little support and they use friendly methods that are no more obtrusive than your own software. If a customer gets a CrypKey-related call, it's normally because the software is not supposed to run. This presents a sales opportunity for you, rather than an annoying support problem.

  3. Increase sales by sharing software. With CrypKey software protection, you can feel confident about encouraging your users to share your software. You can design your software to run in limited demo mode until purchased, then offer a free automatic, limited-time trial period or grant a trial period only after your authorization. Users are free to copy your software.but only on your terms. CrypKey products make shareware obsolete by permitting totally secure software sharing.

  4. Global sales lead to piracy threat. In many countries, copyright laws do not protect software. CrypKey products are PC-compatible, including: Windows 2000, Windows 2003, and Windows XP. This results in pirated software being sold for a mere fraction of the actual cost. You may sell only one or two copies of your software in a country where hundreds or thousands of copies are actually in use.
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2. How well do CrypKey products protect against computer hackers who want to defeat copy protection?

A variety of techniques are employed with Instant to complicate the hacker's job. Although we can't reveal them all, a short list includes:

  1. Random Encryption. Hackers are more dangerous if they can make one patch that will work on all programs protected by a particular tool. CrypKey protection behaves differently on each application so that a hacker's efforts on another software protected by CrypKey will not apply to your software.

  2. The Math Challenge. Often the reason why a program can be hacked is that the security function returns a simple '0' or error number, so it is easy to rewrite the binary code to simply return '0'. CrypKey has a function that returns the result of a complex randomized calculation only if the program is authorized to run. The programmer can reproduce the calculation and check for correct results. but the hacker has no way to reproduce the calculation, since it is based on secret, encrypted numbers that are customized to each CrypKey customer.

  3. Encryption & Cyclic Redundancy Checks (CRC). This is like a very complicated check sum. Encryption combined with CRC makes a powerful barrier to tampering with digital information.

  4. Activation of CrypKey Stealth A companion product integrated with both CrypKey SDK (Software Developer Kit) and CrypKey Instant that provides security by encrypting your EXEs and DLLs, as well as encrypting your program while it is running in memory.

For CrypKey SDK users, the software programmer has more responsibility to prevent hacking. Similar to with CrypKey Instant, CrypKey provides:

  1. The Math Challenge. See above.

  2. Encryption & Cyclic Redundancy Checks (CRC). See above.

  3. Activating CrypKey Stealth. See above.

  4. Anti-hacking techniques. These enable the programmer to do as much or as little as necessary (as described in the product manual).
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3. How does CrypKey protect a product on a network?

CrypKey uses the same protection methods on a network as on a stand-alone system, and also implements intelligent network license management that limits the number of users based on the license restrictions and releases locked licenses that may occur due to a client system crash.

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4. How do CrypKey copy protection tools identify the hard drive?

CrypKey identifies the hard drive by accessing the unique serial number built into the firmware of the hard drive. The hard drive serial number (HDSN) is then incorporated into the license in order to "lock" the license to a specific hard drive. The hard drive serial number cannot be tampered with or modified by hackers, and provides a secure and reliable method of license locking. In cases where there is no HDSN CrypKey locks to the PC Serial Number from the Bios. This dual-layered locking mechanism ensures that your software is protected.

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Products/System Compatibility

1. Does CrypKey support Microsoft Windows 7/Vista 32?

Yes. CrypKey 7.0 supports Microsoft Windows 7/Vista 32. Please contact us to download the latest version of CrypKey.

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2. Does CrypKey support Microsoft Windows 7/Vista 64-bit operating systems?

Yes, starting at version 7.2. CrypKey SDK will support a 64 bit application and CrypKey Instant will run the 64bit application as 32 bit.

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3. Are any features currently in CrypKey not supported in Windows 7/Vista?

CrypKey Instant has a feature that allows you to roll additional dlls, files, and the CrypKey driver into the protected executable (Auto Append). While this feature is convenient to make a quick simple install of your program, this concept is not supported by Windows 7/Vista. For security reasons, Windows 7/Vista demands that regular use programs and installer programs be separated, as installer programs are treated differently.

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4. Will the change in Daylight Savings Time affect my CrypKey Licenses?

A: No. The DST changes that are being done will not affect CrypKey licenses.

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5. Does CrypKey provide protection for Windows 64-bit applications?

Yes, starting with Version 7.1.

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6. Which operating systems do CrypKey products support?

CrypKey products are PC-compatible, including Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows XP, Windows Windows 7/Vista and x64.

CrypKey protection intelligently manages network licensing on Microsoft networks. CrypKey protection products do not support Mac, Novell or Unix operating systems, although some users report successful operation using simulated PC environments on those platforms.

CrypKey products do not support Windows NT, Mac or Unix operating systems. However, some users report successful operation using simulated PC environments on Mac or Unix platforms

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7. How do I upgrade to the newest product release?

Upgrade to the newest release by obtaining a CrypKey Annual Maintenance Subscription. This provides you with the latest download as well as technical support for your CrypKey products.

To obtain the best value for your product support needs, purchase CrypKey Annual Subscription prior to term renewal date.

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8. Are CrypKey products compatible with installation software such as InstallShield?

Yes. CrypKey protection is fully compatible with all installer systems on the market that we are aware of. We use InstallShield in our own software and have yet to experience a problem related to it.

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9. Are CrypKey products compatible with foreign versions of operating systems?

Yes. CrypKey products are fully functional on the International versions of Windows. We have a number of customers with end-users who use other language versions of Windows as well.

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10. Does CrypKey support 32-bit file access?

Yes. CrypKey supports both 32 and 64 bit file access. The "Stealth" feature only supports 32-bit file access at this time.

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11. Do CrypKey products support distribution via CD-ROM?

Yes. CrypKey products can be utilized if you install your executable from a CD-ROM/DVD to your hard drive or if your executable remains resident on the CD-ROM/DVD . In the latter case, the problem that arises concerns the inability of CrypKey to write its license files, which are created dynamically to the read-only CD-ROM/DVD. Circumvent this issue by storing CrypKey license files on your hard drive. CrypKey stores license files where you specify.

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12. Does CrypKey require additional software to be installed on a customer's machine?

CrypKey-protected applications require the CrypKey License Service to be installed on all Windows 2000, XP, 2003 or Windows 7/Vista machines. If this service is not installed, the CrypKey- protected application will not work. A simplified version of our software eliminates this service but provides somewhat less security. Please call us to discuss whether this is suitable for your application.

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13. Can the CrypKey-protected application run via terminal services or remote desktop?

Yes, the CrypKey-protected application can run via terminal services or remote desktop. To run a CrypKey-protected application via remote desktop or terminal services you must issue a network license with "x" number of seats to the machine that has the application installed. Issue the machine the application is running on, a network license for as many seats as you would like to allow concurrent use.

As of version 6.5, CrypKey no longer allows a customer to run a terminal services or remote desktop session of the CrypKey-protected application with a fixed license

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Product Features and Capabilities

1. How do I decide which CrypKey product is right for me?

Instant Offers Basic Protection. Generally, if you want to have a simple "Run/Don't Run" check and perhaps also offer a "Ready-To-Try" program on your website, CrypKey Instant is all you need. The primary advantage of CrypKey Instant is it's quick to implement. The protection process takes only minutes and there is no need to re-compile the executable. CrypKey Instant takes care of the interface, logic and control. All you need do is run it on your software and it outputs a protected executable with automatic installation. You are not required to write code, make calls to CrypKey's libraries.and there is no need to access the source code.

SDK Provides Greater Control. If you require more control and integration in the inner workings of your program, CrypKey SDK is the right choice. The primary advantage of CrypKey SDK is its flexibility. CrypKey SDK lets you control what CrypKey does and when it does it, based on your own program requirements. For example, you will need CrypKey SDK if you want to meter the use of a calculation within the program. Or you may want to make the security interface seamlessly consistent with the rest of your program. If you expect your software to be targeted by hackers, you will want as much security as CrypKey can provide. CrypKey Instant and CrypKey SDK include CrypKey Stealth.

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2. Which parts of a computer does CrypKey use to uniquely identify it?

CrypKey product uses the hard drive or the PC Serial number on the BIOS for identification purposes. Other software-based protection systems use modems or other components that are more likely to change during the life of the computer.

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3. How do I know whom I have authorized?

CrypKey's Site Key Generator keeps a log file of your authorizations that is appended with every authorization. It records the time, date, side code/key and the nature of the authorization. Some CrypKey users use if for following up with trial customers because it is a complete chronological summary of contact with the best quality leads.

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4. How do CrypKey products handle product update releases?

By default, once the software is authorized, your customer can simply install the new version over the old and the software will continue to work with the existing license. You also have the option of requiring a new authorization.

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5. Can a user move a license to another PC?

Yes. Using a USBKey, a simple transfer process effectively authorizes the target computer after first disabling the license on the source computer. Duplication of the transfer USBKey is irrelevant, since the new authorization is unique to the target computer. Optionally, a license can be transferred by email or across a network.

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6. Can another CrypKey user authorize my software?

No. Each copy of CrypKey product is tied to your company and protected file name encrypted into your Master Keys.

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7. Can I de-authorize an authorized license?

Yes. There is a unique feature (called "Kill License") which can be invoked in the event that a user is known to be violating the terms of an agreement with you or if he/she decides to return your software after unlimited authorization has been granted. If the user chooses to kill the license of the software, they will be issued a code that they need to transmit to you. Once the user has transmitted that code, you can enter it into the SKG and press "check". This will give confirmation that the license has indeed been removed.

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8. Won't our customers be annoyed when they have to contact us?

No. CrypKey users regularly tell us that not only is it not a problem, it's a great added benefit. When your customers call you for authorization, they're ready to purchase the product and this is the ideal time to walk them through its operation and sell the product. They will appreciate your assistance. Customers are usually very happy with phone contact and relieved that they don't have yet another dongle to worry about. Also you can turn on features at the time of authorization that will help you sell more features than originally ordered.

If you really don't want the phone contact, use fax or email to exchange the alphanumeric site code and site key. It doesn't matter if you are not immediately available to return the site key, since the next time the user turns on his or her computer, the site code will be the same as the last time (for a single authorization). The site key you give the user will be valid, even if he or she gets it a week later.

If you are interested in automating this licensing process, please take a look at Casper. Inexpensive automated hosting packages using Casper are available or you can purchase the server software to host Casper yourself.

If you require a customized or integrated licensing process our Site Key Generator Library can be used to by your development staff to accomplish this.

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9. Can I add time or runs to a license?

Yes. The Site Key Generator (SKG) has the intelligence to identify whether the user's site code is from a time-or-run-limited license. If it is, you can increment the clock or counter by an amount you specify using the Add_to_Exisiting_License. A lease could be extended by two months or 50 runs, for example, without determining the previous authorization limit..

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10. What happens if the hard disk fails, thus invalidating the CrypKey license?

You would likely after doing some checks relicense the customer. If this is something you want to avoid you should consider using the Easy License feature which allows the end-user to back-up the license which can be used to get them back up and running only on that same PC.

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11. Can a user copy the program to an identical PC and get a free license?

No. CrypKey SDK or Instant is hardware-locked using our "Clone Buster" technology to ensure there is an unchangeable difference between two computers with identical hardware. This is further enhanced using a signature with a random coding marker when the software is activated on a host PC.

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12. Are CrypKey products affected by disk defragmentation, compression or backup utilities?

No. CrypKey products are generally immune to these types of programs. If you experience this type of problem our technical support staff will work with you to resolve it.

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13. What can I do if a customer reports that he/she has had a hard drive crash and asks for a replacement license, when I suspect he may actually be using the authorization on another PC?

This response depends on your policy and the trust level you have with this customer. In our experience having customers call you in these situations provides a good level of protection against abuse.

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14. Can clients tamper with CrypKey's time-dependent licenses by setting their PC clocks back?

No. CrypKey records each time clients check their license status from within your product. If clients set their clocks back more than 75 minutes, CrypKey generates an error code for your product.

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15. Is the Casper host secure and how does it work with my software?

Casper works in a unique way that avoids the security and inconvenience problems of entering information into a web page. We avoid the browser altogether. This means we can collect the information offline at the user's computer and encrypt it using full 128 bit public key encryption before we send it directly to the Casper server.

At the server end, the actual computer is kept in a secure, card key-protected room. We use companies like Pay Pal to verify and authorize credit card payments and all communications with them is 128 bit encrypted.

Finally, in accordance with Canadian privacy laws, we do not keep a record of the credit card number on our server.

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16. Can CrypKey protect .NET EXEs and DLLs?

CrypKey can protect .NET executable (EXE) files, as well as .NET EXE and dynamic link library (DLL) files in combination. CrypKey can not protect .NET DLL files alone.

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17. Can you use options and levels with CrypKey Instant?

Yes, options and levels can be used with CrypKey Instant. This is accomplished using environmental variables in the Windows environment.

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18. What is the difference between options and levels?

Options are used to turn on or off one or multiple functionalities of your software.
A level is a set of features that you turn on together.
Multiple options can be turned on at the same time, but only one level can be activated at a time.

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19. What methods can be used to transfer CrypKey licenses from one machine to another?

CrypKey licenses can be transferred via three methods:
• computer network
• floppy disk or USB drive
• CrypKey’s eTransfer solution (if you use Casper)

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20. Is there a way to customize the Site Key Generator (SKG) to suit my company’s needs?

CrypKey SKGL (Site Key Generator Library) is the tool used by developers to customize their SKGs.

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21. How many SKGs (Site Key Generators) do I receive with a CrypKey license?

A CrypKey license includes three SKGs. If you require more, CrypKey offers the purchase of two accessory options:
• CrypKey Distributor Authorizing License (DAL)
• CrypKey Site Key Generator Library (SKGL)
Both options provide an unlimited number of SKGs.

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22. Can I issue more than one protected software license at a time?

Yes. You can generate one authorization key for multiple copies of your software. This approach enables your customers to transfer licenses to any computer.

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Support Services

1. Do I need 24-hour telephone support?

Telephone or remote access support is often very beneficial for resolving issues quickly. CrypKey recommends that all customers maintain a Gold Annual Subscription which provides 3 hours of telephone or remote access support. Customers that require unlimited telephone/remote access support should maintain a Platinum Annual Subscription.

We offer primarily online support via our three levels of support packages (Silver, Gold and Premium) via our CrypKey Annual Subscription. Premium CrypKey Annual Subscription holders only are eligible for assistance via a special toll-free number.

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2. What is the best way to submit support requests?

CrypKey provides primarily online support for holders of CrypKey Annual Subscription. CrypKey Annual Subscription offers up-to-date information as well as optimum support for CrypKey products. It is available in three levels: Silver, Gold and Premium. The most basic of our service offerings is the CrypKey Silver Annual Subscription-a must for CrypKey customers.

It includes the following:

  • • online technical support
  • • CrypKey product upgrades
  • • access to the CrypKey Online Database
  • • CrypKey's quarterly newsletter with the most current access information

For more information, view the link below. CrypKey Annual Subscription

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3. How does CrypKey track support requests?

For CrypKey Annual Subscription holders, CrypKey will submit a response to email requests within minutes at best, and within no later than 24 hours. We monitor requests to completion.and keep them on file for future reference. CrypKey Annual Subscription holders can search the CrypKey Support Database to check the status of a support issue, to check for answers or search for common program errors.

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1. Does CrypKey protection fall under the United States export restrictions category for advanced cryptography applications to foreign nations?

No. CrypKey has full over-the-counter status for software sales from the United States. When protecting an executable, CrypKey only encrypts for its own special licensing files.

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2. Can I post a new version of software on my website so people who tried previous versions can try the new version when their trial period expires?

The "Ready-To-Try" feature is easily set up to be version-dependent. If CrypKey detects that the version has increased, it allows another free trial (if your software is designed that way). With CrypKey Instant, you check a simple flag prior to creating the protected version.

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3. Does CrypKey affect third party libraries?

Absolutely not. CrypKey is designed to be highly non-intrusive, meaning that I works with virtually any software and, more importantly, any hardware.

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Thanks for the early Christmas present. CrypKey is a very important part of my product. I have been doing business with your company for more than 10 years now and it has been a great experience. Thanks for all of your help.
David Gakenheimer
GA Industries