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excel – How can I create product keys for VBA applications so that illegal distribution of software is prevented?

Posted by: admin March 9, 2020 Leave a comment


I am working on an Excel VBA application.

My company wants to make it a product. This application should be installable only on one system. Could someone please help me with this.

How to&Answers:

This is just a basic example on how to ensure that your product is installed on just one system.


  1. Retrieve the Hardware ID (Ex: Hard Disk Number, CPU Number etc…)
  2. You may also ask the user Name and email address
  3. Encrypt the above info to generate an Unique Code (This is done within the App)
  4. User sends you the Unique Code (Be it via email / Online Activation / Telephone)
  5. You send the user an Activation Id based on the Unique Code

CODE for retrieving HardDisk Serial Number and CPU Number

Paste this code in a class module (Not my code. Copyright info mentioned in the code)

Private Const VER_PLATFORM_WIN32S = 0
Private Const VER_PLATFORM_WIN32_NT = 2

Private Const DFP_RECEIVE_DRIVE_DATA = &H7C088

Private Const FILE_SHARE_READ = &H1
Private Const FILE_SHARE_WRITE = &H2
Private Const GENERIC_READ = &H80000000
Private Const GENERIC_WRITE = &H40000000
Private Const OPEN_EXISTING = 3
Private Const CREATE_NEW = 1

Private Enum HDINFO
End Enum

    dwOSVersionInfoSize As Long
    dwMajorVersion As Long
    dwMinorVersion As Long
    dwBuildNumber As Long
    dwPlatformId As Long
    szCSDVersion As String * 128
End Type

Private Type IDEREGS
    bFeaturesReg As Byte
    bSectorCountReg As Byte
    bSectorNumberReg As Byte
    bCylLowReg As Byte
    bCylHighReg As Byte
    bDriveHeadReg As Byte
    bCommandReg As Byte
    bReserved As Byte
End Type

    cBufferSize As Long
    irDriveRegs As IDEREGS
    bDriveNumber As Byte
    bReserved(1 To 3) As Byte
    dwReserved(1 To 4) As Long
End Type

    bDriveError As Byte
    bIDEStatus As Byte
    bReserved(1 To 2) As Byte
    dwReserved(1 To 2) As Long
End Type

    cBufferSize As Long
    bBuffer(1 To 512) As Byte
End Type

Private Declare Function GetVersionEx _
    Lib "kernel32" Alias "GetVersionExA" _
    (lpVersionInformation As OSVERSIONINFO) As Long

Private Declare Function CreateFile _
    Lib "kernel32" Alias "CreateFileA" _
    (ByVal lpFileName As String, _
    ByVal dwDesiredAccess As Long, _
    ByVal dwShareMode As Long, _
    ByVal lpSecurityAttributes As Long, _
    ByVal dwCreationDisposition As Long, _
    ByVal dwFlagsAndAttributes As Long, _
    ByVal hTemplateFile As Long) As Long

Private Declare Function CloseHandle _
    Lib "kernel32" _
    (ByVal hObject As Long) As Long

Private Declare Function DeviceIoControl _
    Lib "kernel32" _
    (ByVal hDevice As Long, _
    ByVal dwIoControlCode As Long, _
    lpInBuffer As Any, _
    ByVal nInBufferSize As Long, _
    lpOutBuffer As Any, _
    ByVal nOutBufferSize As Long, _
    lpBytesReturned As Long, _
    ByVal lpOverlapped As Long) As Long

Private Declare Sub ZeroMemory _
    Lib "kernel32" Alias "RtlZeroMemory" _
    (dest As Any, _
    ByVal numBytes As Long)

Private Declare Sub CopyMemory _
    Lib "kernel32" Alias "RtlMoveMemory" _
    (Destination As Any, _
    Source As Any, _
    ByVal Length As Long)

Private Declare Function GetLastError _
    Lib "kernel32" () As Long

Private mvarCurrentDrive As Byte
Private mvarPlatform As String

Public Property Get Copyright() As String
    Copyright = "HDSN Vrs. 1.00, (C) Antonio Giuliana, 2001-2003"
End Property

Public Function GetModelNumber() As String
    GetModelNumber = CmnGetHDData(HD_MODEL_NUMBER)
End Function

Public Function GetSerialNumber() As String
    GetSerialNumber = CmnGetHDData(HD_SERIAL_NUMBER)
End Function

Public Function GetFirmwareRevision() As String
    GetFirmwareRevision = CmnGetHDData(HD_FIRMWARE_REVISION)
End Function

Public Property Let CurrentDrive(ByVal vData As Byte)
    If vData < 0 Or vData > 3 Then
        Err.Raise 10000, , "Illegal drive number"   ' IDE drive 0..3
    End If
    mvarCurrentDrive = vData
End Property

Public Property Get CurrentDrive() As Byte
    CurrentDrive = mvarCurrentDrive
End Property

Public Property Get Platform() As String
    Platform = mvarPlatform
End Property

Private Sub Class_Initialize()

    OS.dwOSVersionInfoSize = Len(OS)
    Call GetVersionEx(OS)
    mvarPlatform = "Unk"
    Select Case OS.dwPlatformId
        Case Is = VER_PLATFORM_WIN32S
            mvarPlatform = "32S"
            If OS.dwMinorVersion = 0 Then
                mvarPlatform = "W95"
                mvarPlatform = "W98"
            End If
        Case Is = VER_PLATFORM_WIN32_NT
            mvarPlatform = "WNT"
    End Select
End Sub

Private Function CmnGetHDData(hdi As HDINFO) As String
    Dim hdh As Long
    Dim br As Long
    Dim ix As Long
    Dim hddfr As Long
    Dim hddln As Long
    Dim s As String

    Select Case hdi
        Case HD_MODEL_NUMBER
            hddfr = 55
            hddln = 40
            hddfr = 21
            hddln = 20
            hddfr = 47
            hddln = 8
        Case Else
            Err.Raise 10001, "Illegal HD Data type"

    End Select

    Select Case mvarPlatform
        Case "WNT"
            hdh = CreateFile("\.\PhysicalDrive" & mvarCurrentDrive, _
                0, OPEN_EXISTING, 0, 0)
        Case "W95", "W98"
            hdh = CreateFile("\.\Smartvsd", _
                0, 0, 0, CREATE_NEW, 0, 0)
        Case Else
            Err.Raise 10002, , "Illegal platform (only WNT, W98 or W95)"
    End Select
    If hdh = 0 Then
        Err.Raise 10003, , "Error on CreateFile"
    End If

    ZeroMemory bin, Len(bin)
    ZeroMemory bout, Len(bout)

    With bin
        .bDriveNumber = mvarCurrentDrive
        .cBufferSize = 512
        With .irDriveRegs
            If (mvarCurrentDrive And 1) Then
                .bDriveHeadReg = &HB0
                .bDriveHeadReg = &HA0
            End If
            .bCommandReg = &HEC
            .bSectorCountReg = 1
            .bSectorNumberReg = 1
        End With
    End With

    DeviceIoControl hdh, DFP_RECEIVE_DRIVE_DATA, _
                    bin, Len(bin), bout, Len(bout), br, 0

    s = ""
    For ix = hddfr To hddfr + hddln - 1 Step 2
        If bout.bBuffer(ix + 1) = 0 Then Exit For
        s = s & Chr(bout.bBuffer(ix + 1))
        If bout.bBuffer(ix) = 0 Then Exit For
        s = s & Chr(bout.bBuffer(ix))
    Next ix

    CloseHandle hdh

    CmnGetHDData = Trim(s)
End Function

You can then call it using

'~~> Get the CPU No
CPU = GetWmiDeviceSingleValue("Win32_Processor", "ProcessorID")

'~~> Get the Hard Disk No
Dim h As HDSN

Set h = New HDSN

With h
    .CurrentDrive = 0
    HDNo = .GetSerialNumber
End With

Set h = Nothing

Once you have this info, you can then merge it with the First Name, Last Name and the email address to create a string. For example

strg = Trim(FirstName) & Chr(1) & Trim(LastName) & Chr(1) & _
       Trim(EmailAddress) & Chr(1) & Trim(CPU) & Chr(1) & Trim(HDNo)

Once you have the string, you can then encrypt it. Here is another basic example of encrypting it. You can choose any type of encryption that you would like

For i = 1 To Len(strg)
    RandomNo = (Rnd * 100)
    tmp = tmp & Hex((Asc(Mid(strg, i, 1)) Xor RandomNo))

The tmp above holds the encrypted string.

Once you receive this string, you will have to decode it and create an Activation Id based on that. You App should be able to accept the Activation Id. You also have an option to store this info in the registry or in a Dat File.

A simple registration window might look like this.

enter image description here

Hope this gets you started! 🙂

IMP: Though you can lock your VBA project but it is definitely not hack proof. You might want to explore VSTO to create DLLs which does the above thing.