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CD Key location

By Daz'n'Ash ·
When any software is installed, most require a CD Key to install. Since the key needs to be correct, there must be a record of the CD Key on the CD itself. How else can it know if you typed the correct CD key? So, my question is; How do you locate the CD Key on the CD?

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by TheChas In reply to CD Key location

For almost every software distribution, the key is NOT on the CD or in the installer.

Look closely at the key. It is a pattern of letters and numbers.

The installer includes software code that decodes the pattern and verifies that the key conforms to the pattern algorithm for that particular distribution.

Many software produces create multiple distributions of the software. Each distribution uses a different algorithm to produce the key. The installer for a new distribution is revised to match the new algorithm.

That is why the key for a Dell OEM Windows CD will not work with a HP OEM CD.

Yet, if you get 5 copies of the same Windows OEM CD distribution, you can mix up the keys between all 5 copies.

With some of the simpler algorithms, you can change a few characters and create a new key on your own.

Others, the algorithm for the key is so complex that you need to change most or all characters in the key to create a new valid key.

Another way to look at this:
How large of a text field would you need for say 100,000 software keys?

Or, how much would it cost to produce each CD in a distribution lot as a custom CD?


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by Daz'n'Ash In reply to

Very good answer Chas. Thank you for your help.

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by Daz'n'Ash In reply to CD Key location

This question was closed by the author

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