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Using older programs/reverse engineering

Posted on 2015-02-03
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2015-02-09
I have been using Logo Design Studio by Summitsoft since 2009 (XP operating system) The program is copyright 2005. When I tried to run it the other day, up popped a box saying "Problem with license key."

And that was IT! Nothing else, so I didn't have a clue on what to do. I called Summitsoft support and they wanted the original purchase date and other info. I do not have that (unless it's buried deep in my stuff!). When I was asked for the version number, I calmly said there wasn't one, which was met with disbelief. I happen to have a program CD, the original user's manual and the original box it came in, and believe me, there is simply NO version number to be found. I was then told that Summitsoft doesn't support older versions of its own products. Guess that means "Don't let the door hit you on your way out."

I HAVE the current version of their Logo program on another computer. It does not contain the graphics from the earlier version, and there's one in particular I really want/need to use.

So, am I just flat out stuck or what? To me, this is like a car dealer telling me "Sorry, you have one of our products that's 10 years old and we don't support it anymore." In the case of a car, I can take it to a pro mechanic and say "fix it," and most likely get it up and running without a lot of hassle. But with software, is the modus operandi "Buy it, and if it breaks down, you're just screwed"?

Since I own the  (old) program and the manufacturer doesn't offer it or offer support for it, can I hire someone to reverse engineer it, or at least fix it so I can simply use the darn thing?

I have the same situation with Cool Edit Pro, which was purchased from Syntrillium by Adobe years ago to convert to Adobe Audition. My copy of Cool Edit Pro needs a password to work, but since there's no support for it, I can't use it--and it is a FINE program that some associates have on their older computers running hassle-free.

Anyone have a SOLID suggestion on what I can do to restore what amounts to properly I legally own, that is mine, to working condition?
Question by:RadioGeorge
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LVL 34

Accepted Solution

it_saige earned 1500 total points
ID: 40586832
With software, it is all based on the License Agreement.

For example, In Microsoft's license agreements, you can commonly find something along the lines of:
7.1. What terms govern the software that is part of the Services? Unless accompanied by a separate license agreement, any software provided by us to you as part of the Services is subject to the terms of this Agreement. The software is licensed, not sold, and Microsoft reserves all rights to the software not expressly granted by Microsoft, whether by implication, estoppel, or otherwise. If this Agreement governs the website you're viewing, any third-party scripts or code, linked to or referenced from this website, are licensed to you by the third parties that own such code, not by Microsoft.
Microsoft's license agreement states (in simple terms) that your purchase of the software, does not give you explicit right's to the software (owning), instead it gives you the right to legally use it.  In other words, Microsoft reserves the right to cancel support for the software and consequentially your right to use the software as they see fit.

You will find this is true with most software companies as the software they produce is *their* intellectual property.

As such, it is within the software companies rights, to stipulate the support-ability and usability of their software.

Legally, you or I, cannot reverse engineer their software.  So essentially, yes, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.  What you may be able to do is see if they can offer you a discount on their latest version for your operating system since you are a prior purchaser of their software.


Author Comment

ID: 40587262
Well, Saige, you may have solved the problem, although I'd like to get some other opinions, too.

I have thoroughly examined one of these pieces of software and there is absolutely no end-user agreement anywhere in the user's manual, the installation CD (including the files on the CD), nor in the program itself. There is no mention of any license whatsoever. The support department at the company that created and sold the software simply says they no longer support "old" versions of some software. With this in mind, and the fact that the product activation code on the (manufacturer's) CD with not remove the 30-day trial lock), I see no reason why I should not find someone to crack the program so that I can use it.

Regarding Cool Edit: I neglected to mention that like the other program I mentioned, I BOUGHT the program myself, received, and still have the registration code to remove the 30-day trial lock. Except that won't work any more because the company from whom I bought the software no longer exists.
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 40587305
If you right-click on the main executable for the application and choose Properties, you can usually find a version number for the executable under the Details tab; i.e -Details for Microsoft OutlookDo you have any such information regarding the main executable for Logo Design Studio?


Author Comment

ID: 40587535

Nope. The program is installed on my Windows XP pro computer. I right-clicked as you suggested and that version of the Properties box that pops up does not contain any version information. By sheer chance, I DID stumbles across it in an attempt to get it to run, when a screen popped up identifying is as v.1.2. I don't think that makes much of a difference for this discussion, but correct me if I'm wrong.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 40588077
try siw, maybe it get's more info  : http://www.gtopala.com/      

i know how you feel; i find it not correct to users
you can try adapting the program, by using 7-zip to open exe files, but i'm not sure if you can even do that legally

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