Life & Technology

Handful lessons in different areas of technology and life in general.

Monthly Archives: June 2008

Compaq/HP Laptop Notebook SATA

I just learned today while installing Windows XP SP2 in Compaq/HP laptop that when trying to install a fresh copy of Windows XP to this machine, it will cause you an error like this:

Unknown Device:
   There is no disk in this drive …

This is because SATA drivers for this laptop are not yet loaded upon installation. To fix this, just go to your BIOS setup\System Configuration\SATA Native Support. Change the status from ENABLED to DISABLED.

From here, try loading the bootable Windows XP SP2 and it will work just fine.


Vista Bubbles screensaver for Windows XP users

Yesterday, my friend asked me if I know a place where he could download a Bubbles screensaver that is only available on Vista OS. And I said I haven’t tried searching the net if there’s one ported for Windows XP.

But today, remembering that thought, I fire up my Firefox browser and try querying Google if there’s any. Voila! I did find some Vista screensavers that’s been ported for use in Windows XP machines.

Download Link:

There you go, Bubbles for Windows XP!

Components4U .NET Components under Reflector

All the commercial programs used within this document have been used only for the purpose of demonstrating the theories and methods described. No distribution of patched applications has been done under any media or host. The applications used were most of the times already been patched, and cracked versions were available since a lot of time.

Every now and then, when I see components for .Net platform, I always try to download the Trial version and install it to study how the company implemented the Licensing of their product. Often times, you may be dismayed by how simple they implemented it and in just a matter of minutes, you already know the algorithm behind their licensing.

For this article, I will be taking .Net component products by Components4U.

Most of their .Net components are little utilities compiled into a separate DLL to stand as a component and be sold separately. I will be taking Credit Card Validator .NET Component as my target demonstration.

When you first run the application, the screen will show like this:


You will notice that there’s no Nag message pop-ups on their 15-day Trial. So by adjusting our System clock manually, this will give us a throw message exception like this:


So, the question is, where does the application store the information for determining the number of days in my Trial period? By looking/browsing to the source code through Reflector, we will see that they are storing the information in the Windows Registry:


This tells us that the Time/Date data is stored on the CKV Registry entry for CCValidator component. And by looking again on the Reflector, the value of CKV is the Date and Time the component was first used.

   1: DateTime.Now.Ticks.ToString();

And the value of CKV will then test against the 15-days Trial limit. We can compute the Days remaining of CKV by:

   1: DateTime time = new DateTime(long.Parse(CKVValue));
   3: long x = (((((DateTime.Now.Ticks - time.Ticks)/10000000)/60)/60)/24);

If the value of x is less than 15 days, the application will still run but if it reached greater than 15, the throw message exception will show signaling the component usage expiration.

With this information at hand, without much thinking, the .net component trial expiration can easily be bypassed by setting a negative value in the CKV. This is achieved by setting a DateTime greater than the Date today:

Giving a 1/1/9999 will give us

3155063616000000000 or equivalent to -2918491 Days remaining. Of course, a negative number will never reached a 15 Days Trial mark!

With this value copied to the CKV data in the Windows Registry, the CCValidator component be used until it reached 1/1/9999.

It’s very surprising to me that all their products uses the same Licensing scheme that can easily be bypassed in a minute. For me, a $120 worth of single component is not worth purchasing considering the fact that this can be done by Regular Expression alone and the security of the component is very very weak.

SQL Server Management Studio Tools Pack (SSMS Tools Pack)

If you develop most of your time using SSMS for your stored procedures, tables, etc. Try this wonderful piece of Tools pack that will spice up your daily SQL querying.

See it at SSMS Tools Pack

And if you like to create your own Addin for SSMS, read along on this good article:

The Black Art of Writing a SQL Server Management Studio 2005 Add-In