Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions & Answers

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 may increase the piracy threat. In many countries, copyright laws do not protect software. CrypKey products are PC-compatible, and protect all Windows applications from Windows XP up to the latest Windows versions.
What kinds of software licensing models does CrypKey offer?

CrypKey offers a comprehensive tool chest of licensing models that covers almost any licensing scenario that your company would offer. This includes:

  • Trial or Evaluation Licenses (out of the box)
  • Stand Alone (node-locked)
  • Time Limited
  • Use Limited (or license all or part of your program by the number of Runs)
  • Features-based control
  • Floating Network Licensing (shared drive and client/server options) “X” number of concurrent users.
  • USBKey licensing (similar to Dongles) provides perpetual, date expiry and time limited licensing. These affordable USBKey licenses can be used in combination with standard CrypKey electronic license.
  • CrypKey Enterprise provides an additional “license file” which allows for complex licensing and write your own license features
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).
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.

How do CrypKey copy protection tools lock the license to the computer?

CrypKey Intelligent Hardware Sensing (CIHS) is a complex, stable and robust system that locks the license you provide to your customer to the Windows PC it is installed on. CIHS initially surveys up to 7 hardware identifiers on the customer’s PC. Based on those hardware numbers a mathematical calculation is performed and a resultant “locking code” becomes the lock for your software. A built-in tolerance factor allows your customer to make minor changes to the hardware without impacting the license while stopping major hardware changes such as copying to other computers.


Product and System Compatibility

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

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

Which operating systems do CrypKey products support?

CrypKey products are PC-compatible, including all Windows operating systems from Windows XP up to Windows 10 including 32 and 64 bit versions as well as all MS Server versions.

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.

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.

Does CrypKey support Microsoft Windows 64-bit operating systems?

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

Does CrypKey support all Microsoft Windows operating systems?

Yes. CrypKey supports all Microsoft Windows operating systems up to and including Windows 10. For those with valid Software Maintenance Contracts please contact us to download the latest version of CrypKey (

Does CrypKey require additional software to be installed on a customer’s machine?

CrypKey-protected applications normally require the CrypKey License Service to be installed on all Windows XP through Windows 8.1 operating systems. If this service is not installed, the CrypKey- protected application will not work. A simplified version of our software eliminates this service but does not provide some licensing models. Please call us to discuss whether this is suitable for your application.

Does CrypKey provide protection for Windows 64-bit applications?

Yes, starting with Version 7.1 CrypKey supports licensing for 64-bit applications. CrypKey Stealth (reverse engineering currently is support for 32-bit applications only). CrypKey Instant will protect some 64-bit applications using the Universal setting.

Do CrypKey products support distribution via CD or DVD?

Yes. CrypKey products can be utilized if you install your executable from a CD/DVD to your hard drive or if your executable remains resident on the CD/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/DVD. Circumvent this issue by storing CrypKey license files on your hard drive. CrypKey stores license files where you specify.

Can the CrypKey-protected application run via terminal services, remote desktop, Citrix, etc.?

Yes, the CrypKey-protected application can run via terminal services or remote desktop. To run a CrypKey-protected application via a remote session 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.

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.

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.

Are any features currently in CrypKey not supported in the latest version of Windows?

In CrypKey Instant you can no longer use the “Attach contents of Autodist sub-directory” option.


Product Features and Capabilities

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.

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

CrypKey Intelligent Hardware Sensing (CIHS) is a complex, stable and robust system that locks the license you provide to your customer to the Windows PC it is installed on. CIHS initially surveys up to 7 hardware identifiers on the customer’s PC. Based on those hardware numbers a mathematical calculation is performed and a resultant “locking code” becomes the lock for your software. A built-in tolerance factor allows your customer to make minor changes to the hardware without impacting the license while stopping major hardware changes such as copying to other computers.

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

CrypKey licenses can be transferred via three methods:

  • computer network
  • USB drive
  • CrypKey’s eTransfer solution (if you use Casper)
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.

What can I do if a customer reports that he/she has had a computer 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.

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

CrypKey SKGL (Site Key Generator Library) can be purchase and used by developers to customize their Site Key Generators and to integrate with in-house or 3rd party systems.

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 Casper application is located in a secure data center.

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.

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. For more sophisticated tracking of licensing check out the the Casper eRegister (web activation server product)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Can a user move a license to another PC?

Yes. Using a USBKey or a place on the network, 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.

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.

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.



What is the best way to submit support requests?

CrypKey provides support for holders of CrypKey Annual Subscriptions. CrypKey Annual Subscription offers up-to-date information as well as optimum support for CrypKey products.

To send in a request email

For telephone support please call: 1-403-258-6274 option 2.

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.

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 premium support including telephone and remote access should maintain a Platinum Annual Subscription. CrypKey Support is available Monday through Friday from 9:00am through 5:00pm except for Canadian holidays.



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.

Does CrypKey affect third party libraries?

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

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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