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What is Product Activation?

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Question: What is Product Activation?
Many of the major software publishers are beginning to incorporate product activation into their applications. Do you know what it is and what it means to you as a consumer?
Answer: Product activation is an attempt by software companies to reduce piracy by ensuring that users have a legitimate license to use the software they have installed. Products that utilize activation will function without being activated for a limited time period (usually 30-45 days) and will cease functioning if activation does not occur within this timeframe. Activation generally involves connecting to an Internet site or calling a toll-free number so your serial number can be authenticated and matched to your system through the use of a unique, randomly generated hardware ID. If your system hardware changes significantly and a software reinstallation is required, re-activation may also be required.

Product activation is said to be anonymous, but many people are opposed to it because they feel it is an invasion of privacy, a nuisance, and/or a security risk. There is also some speculation as to what will happen with products that require activation in the event that a software company goes out of business or the program is discontinued. Product activation is not the same as registering your software and is intended to be simple and hassle-free for legitimately licensed software users.

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