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U3 like Device Serial Number

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Last seen: 13 years 1 week ago
Joined: 2010-03-21 11:53
U3 like Device Serial Number


I have a commercial application developed for U3, and planning to move to PortableApps platform. Registration on my software heavely depends on U3 unique serial number. Is there any other way used by PortableApps developers to register / license software on device based scheme?

John T. Haller
John T. Haller's picture
Last seen: 1 hour 57 min ago
Joined: 2005-11-28 22:21
USB Serial

Many USB drives have a serial number that you can access directly by accessing the drive's info. For those that don't (either returns blank or all 0s), you can create something similar by combining the manufacturer, size and a few other details from the drive and adding an additional generated software hash. With the second approach, it would be possible for someone to copy it from one drive to another... but only of the same manufacturer and size, which wouldn't be very useful in terms of software piracy.

Using the USB serial in conjunction with the generated value as a fallback will allow your app to work on any device including removable hard drives and SD cards as well. And it is more secure than the U3 serial because you are accessing it directly via Windows' APIs.

All that said, if your app isn't too expensive, it is worth considering whether you wish to include DRM at all. Many people dislike it and will specifically avoid software that includes it. It will interfere with people wanting to upgrade their flash drives (which software users will do rather often) or run it on more than one of their own flash drives (many of our users have multiple devices). It's something to consider. Obviously, the choice is up to you.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Chris Morgan
Chris Morgan's picture
Last seen: 7 years 9 months ago
Joined: 2007-04-15 21:08
Also it's modifiable

Also if any user is really wanting to pirate it and sell it on disks they could modify the serial number or produce a large batch with the same serial number. It's possible.

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

OliverK's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 2007-03-27 15:21
I'd go for the approach that

I'd go for the approach that sublime text editor uses

It really is based on trust, the fact that if we like the software, we'll buy it. And its very easy to use. It seems to be a ini in the config.

(I like the editor, but its not really worth the 50-75 bucks they want for it. 20? They might just have me.)

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many bridges you can burn
Too many tables you can't turn
Don't wanna live my life in the real world

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