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.

Benefits

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:

Configuration Dialog - Service Control tab

Install the service

You should start by clicking the Install button to install the service.

Install Service Dialog

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 Administrative Tools|Services.

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.

Configuration Dialog - Web Users tab

There are three types of accounts available. Here is a rundown of the differences:

Account TypePermissions
Read OnlyCan view the computer and licence information, but cannot make any changes. Cannot view log files or process outstanding activations.
Read and ActivateRead Only, plus can process outstanding activation requests, and enable/disable licences and computers.
AdministratorCan access all areas of the web user interface.

Add User dialog

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 file.

Configuration Dialog - Web Users tab

Finally, click OK to save changes and close the Configuration tool.

Firewalls

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.

Security Considerations

Using the Web Interface

Login

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:

Web Login

Enter the administrator login and password that you configured previously, and click Login.

Web Main

General Overview

The web interface is broken down into three sections:

The general process for a workstation activating a licence is:

  1. The Activation Client contacts the Activation Server, requesting a licence key for the product.
  2. The Activation Server checks for permission to provide a licence key to the Activation Client, and if it can, provides a licence key.
  3. The Activation Client then sends an Activation Request to the Activation server.
  4. The Activation Server checks for an cached Activation Response, and if available, provides this to the client, and the client completes the activation process.
  5. If the Activation Response is not available, then the Activation Server queues the Activation Request for processing.
  6. The administrator of the Activation Server checks for outstanding Activation Requests, and processes them, at any time.
  7. 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:

Web Add Licence

The licences table has the following fields:

Web Licences Table

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:

Web Add Computer

The computers table has the following fields:

Web Computers Table

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:

Web Process Activations

When you proceed, you will be presented with a list of computers that will have the activation requests processed:

Web Review Activations

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 https://secure.tavultesoft.com/support/activateserver.php or email it to support@tavultesoft.com. 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

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.

Reference

Registry Entries

The activation service has 2 values and 1 subkey in HKLM\Software\Tavultesoft\Activation Server\1.0:

File Locations

Links

Tavultesoft Account Home: View your licences online

Tavultesoft Online Store: Purchase new licences

Tavultesoft Sales Email: Extend existing licences, or purchase new licences