Time limited demos

Hi, is there any way to effectively and securely time limit a demo for an app without using some kind of license key that encrypts the start date?


Depends on what you define as “securely”. For casual users, you can simply check the date/time. But any explicit check, regardless of what it is checking for, can be pretty easily hacked. All they have to do is find the lines of code where the check is made and modify that code to not do the check (or always return the desired value).

hi. not concerned about people modifying the actual code, just removing the file written when the demo is started, or finding registry entry on Windows etc, and thus resetting the demo time to start from 0.

Other than just making the file or entry hard to find by using obscure paths/names, then no, there isn’t really a secure way to do that. If your app required internet access, you could keep the installation date/time on your server, I guess. But hiding something on a hard drive is not very secure.

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that’s what I figured.

You could install a background service that monitors the file or registry entry and replaces it if it’s deleted, that way the user would have to stop the service as well as remove the file/entry. You could possibly have two versions of the service that both monitor the file and each other. So when one service is stopped the other one starts it again. However, it’s probably easier to require an online connection for the demo period or make the time limit short like 30mins so they just have to keep restarting the app and clicking some dialogue. Look at what reaper does it’s pretty unintrusive. If it’s a plugin make it that every time the editor is opened you have to wait four seconds and click some button?

Hey - thanks for the suggestions. Yes, I’d already thought about the timing out a session after 30 mins. Interesting idea about the time to click a button - nice.