"What Microsoft and others does to control their licenses is
this -- they create a unique signature based on the activation key
and ten or so hardware component IDs. Change a percentage of the
hardware and you invalidate the key. Invalidate the key and...
"My laptop came back from repair on Thursday. The problem
required them to replace the motherboard. While it was away, I got
thinking that I really needed to increase the size of the hard
drive. You can see where this is going right? Other than the RAM
and the wireless NIC, every component of the PC has been swapped
out, thus invalidating the key. And this is where my problems
"It would seem that there are a number of programs that also use
the Microsoft model, either generating their own key or tying
themselves to the Microsoft key. In some cases, like Microsoft, it
is a simple matter to regenerate and reverify your status with a
quick trip to the web. Others do not make it so simple. I have
spent two days uninstalling utilities and programs and reinstalling
them and trying to get them to work correctly."
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