Deactivating a certificate - remove registration key

Your users can deactivate their registered key or revoke it definitively on a given computer. For instance, you have a customer who wants to move his registered publication or ebook to another PC, and you want to force him to delete the publication and activation (i.e. the registry settings) from the current PC. You also need proof from him that he has done this before supplying him with a new activation key for the other PC.

Another possible case: you can accept refunds for your ebooks, provided that the customer provides you with a proof of deactivation.

To enable the deactivation process for your ebook or publication, go to the Certificate Manager, double-click on a certificate and choose the “Deactivation Properties” tab as shown below:


Turn on the “Enable Deactivation for this Certificate” option and now your ebook can be deactivated.

An end user can deactivate the ebook only if the ebook was registered before, i.e. a registered certificate was activated. Deactivation will not work in the Trial mode.

Description of the Deactivation process

If you enable deactivation for a certificate, the end user can uninstall his registration data (registration key or activation) and receive a unique uninstall confirmation code in exchange. He can then send you this code as proof for a refund or a new key issue.

An end user has two ways to start the deactivation process:

  • launch the publication EXE file with the deactivate parameter (for instance, using Windows Start -> Run command).

Syntax: PUBFILE.EXE deactivate

  • Start the publication and choose the “Help | Deactivate this program” menu command, provided that you enabled this menu command in the “Deactivation Properties” tab.

He will have to confirm his request. After that, his registration key is deleted or even invalidated, a message box with the uninstall confirmation code is shown (the code is also copied to the Windows clipboard so the user can paste it in an email for instance) and the publication closes. The publication automatically reverts back to the Default certificate and expires immediately if the user tries to run the publication again.

To verify the integrity of the uninstall confirmation code, you can use the scripts (C#, php…) we provide to our registered users (see your user account page) or the uninstall code validation feature of the HTML Executable Activation Kit.

Do not allow the end user to install his registration key again

If you enable this option, the registration key is permanently revoked when the end user deactivates the ebook. If the end user tries to enter his key again to activate the ebook, it will be considered as an incorrect key.

This option should be turned on, unless you want to allow your users to activate the ebook on the same PC again.

Automated deactivation

This option is only available if you are working with online activation.

Online activation is a method that allows you to control on how many computers end users can activate your ebook. Thanks to the HTML Executable Activation Kit or Protect Ebook .net, the remote activation server tracks the number of times the user has activated your ebook. If you enable automated deactivation, the activation server will also take account of deactivations.

When automated deactivation is on, the publication will send a notification of deactivation to the activation server. The server then increases the number of allowed activations (of course, it takes account of the limit you set up thanks to HTML Executable Activation Kit or Protect Ebook .net).

Example: you allowed John to use your ebook on two different computers. John has already activated your ebook on his two computers and now he is planning to buy a new one to replace his old computer. Since he already activated your ebook twice, John cannot install your ebook on his new computer. The solution: he can deactivate the ebook on this old computer.

The deactivation process will disable the ebook on his old computer, and send notification to the activation server. The number of allowed activations will be increased from 0 to 1. Thus, John can now activate your ebook on his new computer.

In case of computer crashes, the end user may not be able to run the deactivation process. In that case, you still have the possibility to increase the number of allowed activations yourself.

Automated deactivation requires an Internet connection. If no Internet connection is available, or if an error occurs while sending notification to the remote server, the deactivation process will still continue and the publication will display an uninstall confirmation code that the user can send you (as explained above). If the customer uses a proxy server, he should have already configured it when activating the publication and the latter will reuse the same proxy settings. If the proxy server has to be changed, it can be done through command line.

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