Having installed and activated Delphi XE4 using the license available to me from my employer I decided that, despite the very nasty taste left in my mouth, I would pay the $49 required for the XE4
“hot-fix” release, albeit only in order to remain with the valid update window now imposed by Embarcadero, on the off-chance that one of the next two releases might actually be worthwhile. This uncovered something of an ironic problem.
Ironic, because normally complaints about registration and activation revolve around being forced to do it at all. In this case, my problem was that I couldn’t provoke the damned thing to allow me to do it!
Having installed and activated using a previous license serial number, I needed to now update my installation with a different license serial number.
Seeing no other obvious way to achieve this, I re-ran the installer and chose the “Update” option, which mentions that this is the appropriate choice if applying a new license. This is what I was doing, even if it was for the same edition.
So I went ahead.
Despite the fact that the installation was identical, it took just as long as a fresh install. But never mind that. Once finished, I launched XE4 expecting to be presented with the registration/activation wizard to register and activate the new serial number.
But no. XE4 started normally and informed me that indeed it was already registered.
My first panicked thought was that my personal license serial number had been automatically applied to my employers EDN account, used to previously register the initial license used. Thankfully this was not the case. For once in the EDN licensing system – a system which as far as I can tell hasn’t been updated in at least a decade – getting anything changed is as good as impossible. They can’t – or won’t – even remove or delete registered products that you no longer use. They can’t or won’t even provide a filter to allow you to choose which product you wish to see when you view your list of registered products. But I digress.
As I say, I checked my employers and my personal EDN accounts, and with relief found that the new, personal license serial number wasn’t listed in either. But that simply raised the question of what exactly had the installer done with it if it wasn’t here ?
Clearly it must have used some information in that license serial number to determine what parts of the product to install.
So next, I tried deleting the .slip file from the License folder in the RAD Studio\11.0 installation, with no difference. Still registered.
Next I completely uninstalled XE4, making sure to tick the option to “completely remove” all files and registry entries. That would do the trick, surely ?
Once that finished grinding it’s way through my system, I then of course had to re-run the installation, using my new serial number. Which I did, and upon starting XE4, up came the registration and activation wizard as expe… oh wait. No, it didn’t.
This completely new installation, after having “completely removed” the previous installation, was also “Registered”.
So I went spelunking in the Program Files folder for the installation, and sure enough managed to find bdsreg.exe – a likely looking candidate for the registration wizard. Unfortunately, it refused to run without some unspecified and (as far as I can tell) undocumented parameters on it’s command line.
So I did a little more digging and found LicenseManager.exe !! “AHA!” I thought, “finally, something I can use to manage my license!”. Sadly my optimism was premature.
Upon running the sadly mis-named “License Manager” I could indeed see all the licenses I had installed, with their serial numbers and details. Unfortunately, “License Viewer” would have been a better name for this tool because despite their being a menu item to “Delete” license entries, it remained resolutely disabled. Viewing is all this Manager seems good for.
But at least I could see that, indeed, my XE4 installation was still licensed using the old license serial number. Not my own one. Not the one used to actually install the product on this most recent occasion. And no, there were not two licenses present for XE4. Just the one.
After a bit more digging around on the internets, I found a reference to the location of some other .slip files, in ProgramData\Embarcadero (I can only think that the one in the License folder of the installation itself is just there for decoration?)
With reference to the dates on these files I was able to identify one which looked most likely to be that for XE4. So I deleted that and tried launching XE4 again.
Hazaa! Finally, I was presented with the registration and activation wizard, already filled out with the correct, new license serial number, and was able to finally register the product and active my license serial number against my EDN account.
Oh well, at least what should have taken 30 seconds or a couple of minutes, at most, only took the best part of TWO HOURS! (Now that I know about those additional .slip files, it will be much quicker next time of course, as it will be for you, dear reader ).
I can only say that recent comments from people complaining that “you get what you pay for” as a way of dismissing “OSS” (conflated with “free”) software as being unable to compete with the capability and polish of commercial software developed “properly” don’t fit too well with the experience we Delphi users seem to be expected to put up with.
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