Skip to main content

Licensing an off-line PC

TSG’s new licensing system is best suited to a PC that is normally connected to the internet.  However it can be used with a PC that is seldom or never connected to the internet.  Before we start, the following should be noted:

  • You will require internet access on another PC or possibly a mobile phone.  You will also need to be able to transfer files (or at least text) between this PC (or phone) and the isolated PC – e.g., using a memory stick.
  • Once installed and licensed on a PC, TSG tries to access the licence server periorically to check for changes to the licence.  If TSG cannot access the server then it will put up a warning dialog.  The warning dialog gives you the option to prepare a file for manual licence refreshing.  (You can also invoke this option when you want by clicking Refresh in TSG’s Licence dialog.)  If TSG fails to receive a refreshed licence for too long a period (currently 45 days) then it will stop working until internet access is restored to the PC or a manual refresh is done.
  • If you back-date the PC’s clock then TSG is likely to detect it and refuse to load its licence on startup.

Licence activation will be dealt with first, then deactivation and finally refreshing.  But first:

Off-line “transactions”

The activation and refresh tasks each involve a transaction with the licence server:

  1. Have TSG prepare a request file on the isolated PC.
  2. Transfer the request file onto a networked PC, then submit it to the licence server.
  3. Download the response file on the networked PC, then transfer it to the isolated PC.
  4. Have TSG (on the isolated PC) process the response file.

These steps will be fleshed out below but it is important to note that TSG tracks a transaction.  TSG starts tracking a session ID when preparing a request in step 1, and expects to find the same ID when processing the response in step 4.  You should not start a transaction before an earlier one has been completed.


Activating a licence off-line

 

  • Click Activate a purchase.

The Licence Activation dialog will come up.

  • Make sure that the Offline-files activation choice is selected at the top.

 

  • Fill in the Licence ID and Password fields from your invoice.
  • Click Create a request file.
  • A standard Windows dialog will come up, requesting a name for the file that you are about to create.  Keep the default name if you like.  (The name does not matter.)  You might find it convenient to save the file to the Desktop.  Click Save.

 

The following informational dialog will come up.

 

  • Click OK.

 

Back in TSG, you will find that the Licence Activation dialog looks different now.

 

  • Do not create another request file.  The request button is now red to warn you:  TSG knows that a request is in the works and is tracking it.  TSG will keep tracking the transaction if you restart it or even reboot your PC.
  • We will come back to this dialog later.

Copy the request file to the PC that has internet access.  Use the internet browser on that PC to access the website: https://secure.softwarekey.com/solo/customers/ManualRequest.aspx

 

  • Click Choose file on the right to select your request file using a standard Windows file-selection dialog.
  • Click Submit on the right to upload the file to the licence server.

 

If the request is valid, the licence has an activation to check out and the server can be reached then the page will now look something like this:

 

  • Click Download to save the response file.  Your web browser will download it as Response.xml and (by default) put it in your usual Downloads folder.
  • Look after that response file!  It carries a licence activation.

 

Problem working with files?

If your connected device is a mobile phone rather than a PC then you might have an issue working with the request or response files.  For example a phone might not provide a way to download the response file.  An important thing to note is that the request and response files both contain plain text – quite a lot of inscrutable text but still, plain text.  If you can find a way to transfer text between your phone and the isolated TSG PC then you can get the system to work.  Ultimately, you want the response text in a file on the TSG PC.

Get the request text onto your phone somehow.  The request web page has a field on the left where you can copy & paste text from some viewing app on the phone.  (Be careful to copy all of the request text.)  Then click Submit on the left.

The response web page shows all of the response text and you can copy & paste it into some text-editing app on the phone.  (Be careful to copy all of the text.)  After that it is up to you to find a way to copy or synchronise this text to the TSG PC.


We are almost there.  If necessary, get TSG back to the state it was in before we started working with the licence server’s manual request page.  (Click Activate a purchase in TSG’s Licence dialog to bring up the Licence Activation dialog, and make sure that Offline-files is selected in it.)

 

  • Click Register the response file and you should get a standard Windows file-selection dialog to select the response file.
  • On successful registration, TSG will close and be licensed the next time it is started.

Deactivating a licence off-line

Licence deactivation with an isolated PC is possible, and works in a similar way to activation.  It involves preparing a request file and submitting it to the licence server’s manual request page.  The main difference in flow is that there are fewer steps and a response file is not dealt with.

Before starting this procedure, you must be sure that you can get the response file from the isolated TSG PC onto a PC (or phone) that is connected to the internet.

  • Bring up TSG’s Licence dialog by selecting the Help -> Licence menu item.

  • Click Deactivate (for moving). &nbspConfirmation is requested.

  • All normal so far.  Click Yes. &nbspTSG tries to communicate with the licence server.  Finding that it can’t, it puts up the following dialog.

  • Click Yes.  You get a standard Windows dialog to provide a name for the request file.
  • This is your last chance to bail out.  Click Cancel if you want to abort the deactivation procedure.
  • If you provide a filename and click Save, TSG will surrender its licence to the request file and close.  TSG will be unlicensed.  Take care of that request file!
  • Submit the request file to the licence server as described above.  The licence is checked back to the server and becomes available for activation on another PC.
  • It is done.  TSG does not deal with a response file for a deactivation request.  If the procedure fails right at the end then contact TSG support, giving your request file.

Refreshing a licence off-line

Licence refreshing with an isolated PC is possible and also works in a similar way to activation.  It is something that you need to attend to from time to time with an off-line PC.

TSG regularly checks its licence status and if it can’t connect to the licence server then it will put up a warning dialog like the one below.  (You can also make this happen at any time by bringing up the licence dialog with the Help -> Licence menu and clicking Refresh.)

  • Click Yes.  You get a standard Windows dialog to provide a name for the request file.
  • Submit the request file to the licence server as described in activation above, download the response file, and transfer it to the off-line PC somehow.
  • The response file for a refresh request does not contain a licence activation so it is not as precious a thing as one for an activation or deactivation.  Nonetheless it is good practice to take care of a licence-server response file and to run one manual licence-server transaction at a time.
  • If the licence server does not give you a response then contact TSG customer service, supplying your request file.

Back in TSG, bring up the Licence dialog if necessary with the Help -> Licence menu.  Click Refresh.  This time you get a dialog like the following:

  • Click Yes.  You get a standard Windows dialog for selecting the response file.
  • Given a valid response file, TSG will carry on as it normally does – as if it had refreshed the licence online. It will tell you if your licence has changed significantly and / or if a new build of TSG is available.