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Trialware or Trial Software is computer software that can be run for a limited time before it expires and stops working. The idea behind this concept is that the user has the possibility to try it and then decide whether or not to buy the full version. This is actually an example of original software that works for a limited period of time. It may or may not have all the features of the original software. In both cases, the work ends after the deadline. This article describes how an evaluation version works.
How the trial version
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Programmers use many methods to know when a software trial period has expired. In the past, something as simple as checking the system date was done. But over time, a certain sophistication has developed. Since no two programmers always think the same thing, there is no particular method that can be explained in this context.
Create hidden registry entries
Some trial versions make an entry in the Windows registry about the installation time, along with the installation time. At startup, the software compares the date and time of recording with the date and time of the computer. If the latter is larger, the trial version of the software or trial software, as it is called, no longer works. But it is the simplest method that can be used by any trial software. These entries are not created in obvious places under obvious names, but are’hidden’.
Because programmers also know that it is easy to scan and reinstall the registry with program remains, they can add hidden registry entries that are not linked to the trial software. This means that when you install a trial version of software, it can create registry entries in, for example, HK_LOCAL_MACHINE or HK_CLASSES_ROOT, where normally no user will look. Also, the key names would not be associated with the program, so even if a user discovers the keys to delete, they don’t know if a key belongs to the trial version of software. In this way, programmers can prevent a functional reinstallation of the trial software.
The trial software uses hidden files and system files
Some programmers create hidden files or system files linked to the trial version of a software and place them in the System32 folder or the folder with the drivers. They can even be 0 bytes or empty files. If they add an extension called.sys or.ini, users will think twice before editing the files. The garbage men will ignore them too.
In addition, files can be encrypted, and if users try to make changes, the trial version will no longer work due to manipulation of the corresponding files. In this case, installing the program creates several files in different places, especially files related to Windows operation. Based on the data written to these files, the program can recognize whether the test period still exists or has expired. This is another explanation of how software trial versions work.
Read: TrashReg also removes registration keys from obsolete trial software.
Trialware uses the computer’s MAC address
In this case, the computer’s address is stored on the software publisher’s servers with other information such as data and time and, if necessary, a snapshot of the volume with hidden files. These hidden files are explained in the section above. This storage of computer or smartphone MAC addresses helps Trialware decide two things. First, if the trial period has already expired. And second, it tells the computer company that if the user tries to install another version of the trial software on the same machine.
For example, the user can download the student version of Microsoft Office on a computer. The machine address is stored on the Microsoft server. After the 90-day trial period, when the user attempts to download and install another student version of Microsoft Office on the same computer, Microsoft is aware and prevents the installations.
This method prevents a functional reinstallation of the trial version of a software, even if the user formats his hard disk. The MAC address of the computer, smartphone or tablet stored on the publisher’s servers informs the program that it has been installed once on the program. The disadvantage may be that if the user tries to reinstall the program in a format before the trial period expires, he may not be able to reinstall a working copy.
Can you reset Trialware and use it forever?
There are ways discussed on the Internet that say this is possible. Of course, there are ways, but these days developers are so smart that they cover all the basics to make sure you can’t reset Trialware. In any case, it is not legal to crack or reset the trial software to extend its use and is therefore not discussed here.
If you want to add anything, please do so in the Comments section.
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