Workbook copy protection concept.
The term “copy protection” does not mean that a protected Excel file cannot be copied 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. Without such permission, the compiled workbook will not start.
The first and the most important prerequisite for workbook copy protection is inaccessibility of cell formulas in spreadsheet. This is ensured by the compilation of all cell formulas in the workbook into binary code and removing them from spreadsheet cells.
In XCell Compiler, the workbook copy protection is implemented by tying the compiled workbook (EXE file) to the registration key with the information about the 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 an encrypted file. It contains all registration information about the registered customer, company, and 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 is created from unique hardware and software information of the computer and is used to identify that computer. It is impossible for there to be 2 identical computer IDs for 2 different computers.
How the workbook copy protection works in brief
1. You compile the EXE file with the hardware locking option selected, 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, sees the window that contains only his computer id number and sends this number to you.
3. You generate the registration key using your client’s registration info (name, email, etc) along with their computer id number, and send it to your client (after they made purchase, for example).
4. Your client copies the registration key into the same folder as 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
The compilation options that are relevant to copy protection are marked in the above image.
Hardware locking option should be enabled.
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 receives the compiled EXE the first time (without a regkey), they cannot run the application.
After trying to start the EXE they only can see the following message:
Step3. Creation of the registration/activation key .