Is the cracked version of AutoCAD legal

Part 2: (Il) legal tricks: suck demo, use as full version

Activate demo to full versions

If pirates fail to download completely cracked software, they simply try to convert a demo version into a full version. With free demo versions, software manufacturers want to prove what their programs are capable of. With some you have to live with certain restrictions, others offer the full range of services. But after 30 days it is usually over, then you get a message to buy the program. Almost every PC user has certainly tried to uninstall the test version and then reinstall it after the deadline. However, it is practically impossible to outsmart a demo with such simple deception maneuvers. But there are tricks that really work.

Trick 1: manipulating time

By trying to reset the Windows date, the time restrictions in some demo versions can be outwitted. This is only possible if Windows does not automatically obtain the current date and system time from the Internet. By default, however, "Automatically synchronize with an Internet time server" is activated if you double-click the time in the taskbar and switch to the "Internet time" tab in the Windows clock dialog box. Repeatedly changing the Windows clock manually is neither convenient nor practical in the long run.

That is why a smart programmer published the Dkill95 tool years ago. Although the free program has been circulating on the Internet since the early 1990s, many demos can still be taken by surprise with it today. Dkill95 recognizes the installation date of the trial version and resets the PC clock for the short period of the program start. The demo says it is the first day of the installation and starts without grumbling. In order for this to work, the start must always take place via Dkill95. The tool creates a shortcut on the desktop that must be used. This is because the system time is not changed with the usual call via "Start / (All) Programs". To ensure that Dkill95 is started first when documents linked to the demo are opened in Windows Explorer, Dkill95 offers the option "Assign file extensions to a fooled demo". The Amok Date Wizard has the same effect as Dkill95. With a click of the mouse, the system date can be changed by a freely definable period. Dkill95 and Amok Date Wizard usually do a good job for pirate copiers up to Windows XP, but they have no chance under Vista because Microsoft has prevented the manipulation of the system time as far as possible.

Trick 2: reset Windows

A more elegant method of using demo programs as often as you like is to reset Windows to a state before the trial version was installed. This can be done relatively easily with a backup program such as DriveImage XML. Instructions for DriveImage XML are available free of charge online at www.magnus.de. Once the trial period of the demo has expired, the computer can be restored to its original state using the backup. Now the demo can be played again - the whole process can be repeated as often as you like. The method has the flaw that all personal files and documents created in the meantime are no longer available. But if you configure your PC cleverly, this can be avoided and the trick works quickly and reliably. This is how it works: The Windows installation and personal files must be separated, so you must not save everything on one drive. To do this, the hard disk is divided into several drives (partitions). Ideally, only Windows is on drive C :.

Trick 3: virtual system

The third possibility to use demo versions for longer is virtual machines. Here a complete PC including the installed software is emulated and runs as an application in a Windows window. The state of the machine can be frozen and reset again and again. In this way, the system can be reset to the day before the installation of the demo version at any time. Sun offers one of the best free virtualization tools with the VirtualBox, which you can find on the Internet at www.virtualbox.org. (Instructions for VirtualBox are available free of charge online at www.magnus.de/go/09101510). In contrast to many similar tools, VirtualBox also recognizes the USB hardware connected to the real PC and can make it available to the virtual computer. However, the virtual system does not have the capabilities of the PC. Computing or graphics-intensive applications run more slowly.

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