Tavultesoft Activation Server 1.0 Documentation
Table of Contents
About the Tavultesoft Activation Server
The Tavultesoft Activation Server provides centralised management of all Tavultesoft software product licences and activation. The complete package
consists of two components: a service component that runs on a server all the time (tsactsrv), and a client component that is run on each client workstation with
installed Tavultesoft software (tsactclt).
The service component is managed primarily through a web interface. This means it can be managed from any client PC. The client component is a command line
program that will usually be run when the user logs into the workstation.
These components are intended for use within a broader deployment scenario. Typically, you will deploy a Keyman Desktop or other Tavultesoft software image
using Group Policy or another software deployment tool. You can then use the Activation Server to manage the licencing of the software.
- Reduce the administration and management effort for managing Tavultesoft software.
- Control the use and availability of your software licences.
- Use the reports available in the web management interface for software licence audits.
- End users never need to see any activation details or even know the licence keys for the software.
Installation and Configuration
The Tavultesoft Activation Server is installed from a standard MSI file. It can be installed
on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003 or Server 2008. After installation of the software, you need to configure the service and users
(those who can manage the service). If you have not already done so, start Configuration from Start Menu|Programs|Tavultesoft Activation Server.
When the program starts (you may be prompted for Administrator permissions), you will be presented with the following screen:
Install the service
You should start by clicking the Install button to install the service.
Selecting a user account
Although the installer permits you to install the service under the LocalSystem account, when following best practice security guidelines,
you should configure the service to run under a limited user account. The service does not access any resources apart from
listening on a single TCP port and storing configuration files in Application Data.
Selecting listening IP and port
By default, the service listens on all interfaces on the computer it is installed on. You can choose to listen on a single IP address instead.
At this time, there is no provision for listening on multiple IP addresses.
The default port for the service is 4575. If you need to modify this, you can do so at install time. If you run the Microsoft DNS Server on the
same server, you may need to reserve this port for use by the Tavultesoft Activation Server so that it is not randomly assigned to the DNS Server.
Start the service
After you have installed the service, you can start it by clicking the Start button. The service will continue to run after the Configuration closes
down. The service is configured to start automatically when your computer starts (before you login). If necessary, you can change this in Windows
Configure the user accounts
After installing and starting the service, you should click the Web Users tab to configure the users who can manage the server. At a minimum, you
need to have a single Administrator account to control all aspects of the interface.
There are three types of accounts available. Here is a rundown of the differences:
|Read Only||Can view the computer and licence information, but cannot make any changes. Cannot view log files or process outstanding activations.|
|Read and Activate||Read Only, plus can process outstanding activation requests, and enable/disable licences and computers.|
|Administrator||Can access all areas of the web user interface.|
Click the Add... button to add a user to the system. You should use a secure password. The passwords are stored in a hashed form in the configuration
Finally, click OK to save changes and close the Configuration tool.
You may need to configure your software and/or hardware firewalls to permit HTTP traffic to the port you selected (port 4575 if you left the default).
Instructions on how to do this will be available in your firewall documentation.
- The service does not access any resources apart from listening on a single TCP port and storing configuration files in
Application Data. Therefore, it makes sense to configure the service to run under a limited user account.
- The service communicates using the HTTP protocol. It is possible for a malicious user to capture the contents of traffic between your web browser
and the service. Your username and password are hashed before transmission, but communication could be subject to replay attacks. If you are concerned about
this, you should access the service only through the localhost address on the computer that the server is installed on. A future version of this
service may support HTTPS.
Using the Web Interface
You should now open your web browser and navigate to the IP Address and port that you selected when you installed the service. If you left the
default settings, open the page http://localhost:4575/. You can also open the web interface by clicking the Service Control|Open web administration
button in the Configuration tool. You should be greeted with a screen like the following:
Enter the administrator login and password that you configured previously, and click Login.
The web interface is broken down into three sections:
- Licences: This section lists all the Tavultesoft software licences you have entered into the system.
- Computers: This section lists all the computers that have entries for the selected software licence in the Licences section.
- Management: This section lets you process activation requests and perform general management tasks.
The general process for a workstation activating a licence is:
- The Activation Client contacts the Activation Server, requesting a licence key for the product.
- The Activation Server checks for permission to provide a licence key to the Activation Client, and if it can, provides a licence key.
- The Activation Client then sends an Activation Request to the Activation server.
- The Activation Server checks for an cached Activation Response, and if available, provides this to the client, and the client completes the activation process.
- If the Activation Response is not available, then the Activation Server queues the Activation Request for processing.
- The administrator of the Activation Server checks for outstanding Activation Requests, and processes them, at any time.
- The next time the Activation Client contacts the Activation Server, an Activation Response will be in the cache and will then be provided to the client.
Adding and Editing Licences
When you click the Add Licence... button, you are presented with the following dialog:
- Licence: Enter the licence key provided to you by Tavultesoft, reseller, or OEM product developer
- Allow any computer to use this licence (Automatic Registration): Any computer that contacts your server will be able to request use of this licence. If you
select this option, you do not need to add computers manually to the list, because they will be added automatically when the computers attempt
activation. You still control which computers are granted use of the licence when you process the activation requests - and you can disable
any computers that you do not wish to permit. You should consider firewalling the server port to allow only specific subnets to access the
licence server if you use this option.
- Enabled: If a licence is not enabled, client computers cannot use it and it will be excluded from activation request processing.
The licences table has the following fields:
- Enabled: Controls whether or not the licence is enabled. A disabled licence cannot be used by client computers.
- Product: The name of the product that the licence is for.
- Licence Key: The licence key you entered.
- Automatic Registration: True if client computers can automatically request use of the licence.
- Max Seats: The number of client computers that the licence is valid for. This can be edited with the Edit Licence button (for instance, if you
extend your originally purchased licence)
- In Use: Number of client computers that are registered with this licence.
- Activated: Number of client computers that have completed activation with this licence.
- Failed: Number of client computers that failed activation. Check the logs for details of why activation failed.
Adding and Editing Computers
Each licence can have 1 or more computers associated with it. If you use the Automatic Registration option, then you do not normally
need to enter the computers in manually.
When you click the Add Computer... button, you are presented with the following dialog:
- Licence: The licence for which you are adding a computer (read only)
- Computer Name: The NETBIOS name of the computer
- IP: Optional. If provided, the client computer will not be able to activate unless it is coming from the IP address entered.
If you do not statically assign IP addresses, either via DHCP or another method, you should not enter IP addresses here, or computers may
fail to register in the future when their IP address changes.
The computers table has the following fields:
- Enabled: Controls whether or not the computer is enabled for the selected licence. If disabled, that specific computer will
not be able to activate and will not be included in activation request processing.
- Name: The NETBIOS name of the computer
- Created: The date that the computer entry was first created.
- Last Contact: The date that the Activation Client last contacted the Server from that computer.
- Activation Status: The status of the computer, as of the Last Contact. The list below is in the rough chronological order that the different states will be reached:
- Never activated: The computer has not yet contacted the server to request activation.
- Awaiting activation response: The computer has contacted the server and requested activation.
- Ready to activate: The administrator has processed the activation request and the activation response is in the cache waiting for the client computer to contact and request again.
- Activated (date): The client computer has activated the licence as of the date shown.
- Activation failed: The activation failed on the client computer. Check the log file for details.
- IP Address: If not empty, the IP address that the client computer must contact the server from in order for requests to be successful.
- Automatically Registered: If true, then the client computer record was created when the client computer contacted the server. Otherwise, the record
was created by the administrator.
Processing Outstanding Requests
When client computers are in the "Awaiting activation response" state, there will be outstanding activation requests that you need to send on to the Tavultesoft
Online Activation Server in order for the activation to be processed. This can be accomplished with the Process Outstanding Activations button:
- Get activation requests for: Choose which requests you wish to send to Tavultesoft
- Activation method: You can activate automatically online, or if you are not connected to the Internet, save the request to a file to send later.
When you proceed, you will be presented with a list of computers that will have the activation requests processed:
Click Process Activation to complete the process. If you have selected the "Automaticall Online" option, the process will be completely automatic.
You may wish to check the logs for any details of failed requests.
Processing Requests Manually
If you save the request to a file, you can upload it to Tavultesoft at
or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. In either case, you will receive back an Activation Response
File which you can import with the Import Activation Response File button
Viewing Log Files
Log files for the current day can be viewed by the Administrator, by clicking the View Log button. The Reference section of this document
gives information on how to view log files for the past 30 days via the file system.
Using the Activation Client
The activation client is called tsactclt.exe and is normally installed at the same time as the Activation Server in %program files%\Tavultesoft\Activation Server,
for convenience. You can copy the tsactclt.exe program to any location that is practical for you.
Command Line Options
- /server:name|ip The Tavultesoft Activation Server to connect to, required.
- /port:#### The port to which to connect; if not specified, default to 4575.
- /key:key The licence key to request an activation for (optional). If this parameter is specified, the client will only attempt to activate that
licence and no others, even if other products are installed on the client computer.
When the client runs, it provides a brief log of the process to the console. This can be redirected to a file if desired.
Deploying the Activation Client
Typically, the activation client will be used as part of a login script for a user, or in a remote admin script. If the user has Administrative access,
the activation client will activate the software for all users; otherwise it will activate only for the current user.
Complete deployment strategies are left up to the system administrator.
The activation service has 2 values and 1 subkey in HKLM\Software\Tavultesoft\Activation Server\1.0:
- IPAddresses value: The IP address that the server listens on. Even though this value uses the plural form,
at this time only a single IP address is supported. If this value is left blank or missing, the service listens
on all IPv4 interfaces.
- Port value: The TCP port that the server listens on for HTTP requests.
- Users key: All user details are stored in this key
- The service and related files are installed into: %ProgramFiles%\Tavultesoft\Activation Server 1.0
- Configuration is stored in %AppData%\Tavultesoft\Activation Server\config.xml
- Log files are stored in %AppData%\Tavultesoft\Activation Server\Log. By default, these files are deleted after
30 days. You can modify this in config.xml, element Config, attribute LogFilePurgeAge.
Tavultesoft Account Home: View your licences online
Tavultesoft Online Store: Purchase new licences
Tavultesoft Sales Email: Extend existing licences, or purchase new licences