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Unlicensed Software

Not having a valid product key or software licensing verification can bring a new system installation to a grinding halt. It’s a problem we frequently see when we replace older PCs bought from previous vendors or service providers. It should be top-of-mind now because many companies will start budgeting soon for next year’s capital expenses – and it’s a necessity for those of you who need to migrate from the Windows XP operating system before Microsoft ends support in the spring. (See Windows 8 – The Saga Slogs On)

You can save yourself a lot of aggravation, time and money by getting your software-licensing information now. It doesn’t matter if you are contemplating the purchase of new hardware or not. If you have the original CDs or disks and Product Keys from your latest installation, gather them up and put them in a safe, accessible place.

If you don’t have them, contact your vendor and request them. If you have problems, call us, and we’ll see if there is something we can do or advice we can offer to help.

If you don’t have valid licensing credentials for your software, there is essentially no way we – or any IT service company – can reinstall your software. There’s also no way anyone can install upgrades. We’re not talking about being “software police”; we’re talking about being able to help you be as efficient as possible. Otherwise, you’ll need to buy new software as an unplanned expense.

If you have Software as a Service, licensing is not an issue. You’re paying a monthly or annual fee for the service, and you log in through an interface to download upgrades or reinstall your software. The software provider generally checks in randomly to make sure your license is valid.

We strongly recommend that you keep your license up to date. If you stop paying for the software but can still access it, you’re essentially using unlicensed software. It may be easier to repurchase a new version of your software, but it will take some time, and it likely will be more expensive.

We’re always available to help you with immediate software licensing issues or help with set up an orderly transition to new systems. Just call us or send an email.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.