Workbook copy protection concept.


The term “copy protection” does not mean that a protected Excel file cannot be copied physically from one computer to another.
Copy protection means that author of the compiled workbook will be able to give permission to use the application on a specific computer, and without such permission the compiled workbook will not start.

The first and the most important pre-condition of the workbook copy protection is inaccessibility of cell formulas in spreadsheet. This is ensured by compilation of all cell formulas into binary code and removing them from spreadsheet cells.

In the XCell Compiler the workbook copy protection is implemented by tying compiled workbook (EXE file) to the registration key with the information about a target computer. When compiled workbook is started, it checks that customer has enough permissions to start on the computer.

The registration/activation key (regkey) is the encrypted file. It contains all registration information about the registered customer, company and about the target computer where that regkey allows the compiled EXE to be started.

The registration key uses a computer id number to identify the target computer. The Computer ID number is created from unique hardware and software information of the computer, and identifies that computer. There are cannot be 2 equal computer IDs for 2 different computers.


How the workbook copy protection works in brief

1. You compile the EXE file with selected hardware locking option, put it on web for downloading or send this EXE to your client some other way.

2. Your client tries to start this EXE file and finds the window with his computer id number only and sends this number to you.

3. You generate the registration key using your client registration info (name, email, etc) and his computer id number, and send it to your client (after he made purchase, for example).

4. Your client copies the registration key nearby (into the same folder) where the EXE is located.

5. The EXE starts only on that computer .


Main stages of the workbook copy protection process.

Step1. Workbook compilation with copy protection options

concept of the workbook copy protection with selected areas

The copy protection related areas of compilation options are marked on the image.
Hardware locking option should be selected.
Application name creates an internal link between compiled EXE and registration key file (regkey),
A compiled EXE file will search for the regkey file by the name which you enter in ‘Registration key file name’ field.

Step2. Request for customer’s computer ID

When your customer got the compiled EXE the first time without regkey, he cannot run the application.
After trying to start EXE he only can see the message like this:

Registration key is not found messageHe needs to copy the computer id and email it to the author.


Step3. Creation of the registration/activation key .

XCell Compiler Registration Key Tool form


Video tutorial how to apply copy protection to Excel workbook



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