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Old 07-10-11, 10:37 PM   #18
Rakeesh
 
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Sonoran Desert
Posts: 6,884
Default Re: Office 2010 Professional Academic $79.95

It looks at all of the components in your system, model numbers, serial numbers where available, and mathematically assembles them into a single number. This number, also called a fingerprint, is what is sent to the servers. They can't tell what kind of hardware you have based on that, rather they can just assemble a key unique to your system.

Anyways the servers cryptographically hash that number, along with your activation key, into another number that they send back to your computer, which then stores it as its license key. (I probably have the exact names of these terms wrong, but you get the idea.) Every time you run office (same thing with windows activation and its key) it checks that hardware against that license key, and if it doesn't match, the license is invalid and it will ask you to activate the software again. It doesn't have to phone home unless those numbers don't match. They do this so that you can't copy the installation from one PC to another PC, as the numbers wouldn't match.
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