XPress stops working after BIOS or major Windows updates

Discuss Quark® License Administrator (QLA) setup and functionality, which allows you to run concurrent licenses of QuarkXPress inside your organization.

XPress stops working after BIOS or major Windows updates

Postby dark_rider » 16 Dec 2017, 15:35

For some time, I was using XPress 8. Unfortunately, the software suddenly stopped working because there had been too many activations. The only reason for these activations is that XPress has to be reactivated each time when some undefined PC or Windows updates have been made, for example after BIOS updates or major Windows 10 updates (like Creators Update), because XPress ties the licence to hardware fingerprints. Unfortunately, these hardware fingerprints seem to be generated and checked in an unsuitable way, so that such simple updates let the software think that it had been installed illegally on a different PC.

The so-called user support from Quark told me that at first, I have to pay for technical support. If I would do so, they would check the issue and maybe reset the licence, but this cannot be promised in advance. So they want me to pay for them fixing their own bug, which moreover just results out of a paranoid surveillance of the users as no other software company does. Which other software does hardware fingerprinting? Additionally, they told me that XPress 8 is out of service and not tested with Windows 10. That's why this issue would not be their mistake. XPress 2015-2017 would not have this issue.

So I finally changed to XPress 2015. But Quark did not tell the truth: XPress 2015 still has the same issue. After a simple BIOS update (these come several times per year from the PC manufacturer), also XPress 2015 stopped working, mentioning an "unauthorised change". It had to be reactivated again. And after some more reactivations (necessary after each undefined update), the licence will be stopped again.

I'm sorry, but do I have to dispense with all PC and Windows updates, because XPress will not work any more afterwards? Most users use the standard settings with automatic updates and so cannot even control updates. And the rest will also quite regularly proceed updates for security reasons. But Quark does not allow system updates or is incapable to differentiate between simple system updates and changing the whole PC?!

They even do not define which updates cause these problems, and they also do not tell the user how to handle this. I really wonder how all the other users get managed with this licence catastrophe which causes great hate against Quark.

- Does anybody know in detail which updates cause XPress to alert an "unauthorised change"?
- Does anybody know how to avoid this? Should I maybe transfer the licence before certain system updates and deactivate XPress, to reactivate it after the update (same procedure as when I change the whole PC and move XPress to a different machine), or will this also increase the number of activations per licence and finally lead to the licence to be closed?
dark_rider
 
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Re: XPress stops working after BIOS or major Windows updates

Postby MikeWenzloff » 16 Dec 2017, 21:47

I've never had the issue you are describing following Windows updates. I have had version 9 installed on one computer that has seen 3 major OS in-place upgrades and all their individual updates. The same computer has all subsequent versions installed as well and all work fine.

If I did have the problem you are, I would likely try what you mention towards the end. That is, use the Transfer License command, install whatever updates causes this on your system, reactivate. That shouldn't upset the install count, it's what it is made for.

Mike
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Re: XPress stops working after BIOS or major Windows updates

Postby dark_rider » 17 Dec 2017, 04:32

Thank you for your answer. Did you also have BIOS updates? So maybe I was wrong and major Windows 10 updates like Creators Update 1703 (which copy the whole user data, install a new Windows and restore the user data and installed programs afterwards - this should be even a much bigger change than a BIOS update) do not cause the trouble but only BIOS updates?

Concerning the licence transfer:
- When I understand it right, if XPress detects an "unauthorised change" and you reactivate it, the install count is increased by one (+1). If this happens several times and the install count increases more and more, at some point, the licence will be stopped because for Quark, there are now x copies of the software running.
- But if you start a licence transfer, the install count is at first reduced by one (-1), and if you activate it again afterwards, it is increased by one (+1), so there is no higher install count and a license transfer should be possible at every time for an unlimited number of transfers?

Quark only says that a licence transfer must be done before "significant changes to the hardware configuration of your computer" - this must be defined more detailed to let the user safely decide if a licence transfer is necessary to be done before an update.
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Re: XPress stops working after BIOS or major Windows updates

Postby MikeWenzloff » 17 Dec 2017, 10:18

I have never had a Windows update that has updated the BIOS.

Doing a search on-line finds answers from Microsoft stating they never update firmware and particularly the motherboard BIOS. So if it is being updated, it may be the manufacturer's installed software updating the BIOS. If I recall, Gateway & Dell computers have such utility software but I cannot imagine it does this silently (i.e., without the user's knowledge it is happening). I myself have never had a BIOS update that I did not initiate. None of my computers, when I have bothered to check, have ever had more than a couple BIOS updates over the course of 10 years. Several times a year sounds pretty excessive.

I don't know what all hardware Quark uses for the licensing code to bind an installation to a computer. I do know that license "stores" can be corrupted and not be connected to a hardware change. That's happened to me before with CorelDraw and it has happened before with just a software update for two other pieces of software through the years. In all cases I have had success with getting the company to reset my license count.

One on of my computers, I have used Q's Transfer License function a few times when I purposefully was swapping out old drives for new ones, new RAM installs, etc, and when reinstalling the OS for a clean install. Each time the process worked fine. As long as you receive the "Success" message when using the Transfer License function it should be fine.

Mike
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Re: XPress stops working after BIOS or major Windows updates

Postby dark_rider » 17 Dec 2017, 13:36

Dear Mike,

thanks for your answer.

For example Lenovo offers BIOS updates several times a year, and with the standard settings, these even come automatically. Moreover, there are other firmware updates for example for Intel ME (for this severe security bugs have been revealed these months).

In my current case I use a new license of XPress 2015 and it could be reactivated online at once, but the license count will have been increased from 1 to 2. At least at license count 12, Quark is stopping the license and requires money for a technical support ticket to check the issue. If the license count would be reset to zero is unknown.

Are you really sure that you were able to continue using XPress after major Windows 10 updates like Anniversary (1607) or Creators (1703), because these updates change even much more: They delete the whole Windows system (backup to folder Windows.old), install the new version and afterwards restore the user data and the installed programs? So you could continue using XPress afterwards without any questions, or at first the software had to be reactivated online (which is easy, but increases the license count)?

Maybe also other users could tell us their experiences so that we can make sure if only BIOS updates or also other things like major Windows updates, driver updates etc. make XPress detect differences to the hardware fingerprint it was originally tied to.
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Re: XPress stops working after BIOS or major Windows updates

Postby MikeWenzloff » 17 Dec 2017, 14:28

Yes. On this laptop I am using right now, I've gone from Win7 Pro through the Win8 series and to Win10 with all the latest updates (currently winver reports version 1709 (OS Build 16.299.125) via in-place upgrades.

It would seem that one needs to use the Transfer License function to bypass this issue on your system. I've never used a Lenovo computer and have no idea how one would prevent an automatic BIOS update and opt to be notified instead.

It's the weekend. Sooner or later a Quark employee will show up here. Hopefully they can/will respond to your dilemma.

Mike
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Re: XPress stops working after BIOS or major Windows updates

Postby dark_rider » 18 Dec 2017, 01:23

Dear Mike,

MikeWenzloff wrote:On this laptop I am using right now, I've gone from Win7 Pro through the Win8 series and to Win10 with all the latest updates (currently winver reports version 1709 (OS Build 16.299.125) via in-place upgrades.

OK, and no reactivation of XPress had ever been necessary so that your license count should still be 1 - this is surprising.
MikeWenzloff wrote:I've never used a Lenovo computer and have no idea how one would prevent an automatic BIOS update and opt to be notified instead.

I do BIOS updates manually because I changed the Lenovo update settings. But I didn't know before that XPress counts a BIOS update, and moreover, sometimes Lenovo updates its update program and settings are set back to "automatic".
MikeWenzloff wrote:It's the weekend. Sooner or later a Quark employee will show up here. Hopefully they can/will respond to your dilemma.

This would be very helpful.
dark_rider
 
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Re: XPress stops working after BIOS or major Windows updates

Postby dark_rider » 18 Dec 2017, 03:14

What I forgot to say: With XPress 8, I also had no problems over years, because I just always made an online reactivation when asked for. I just didn't know that every online reactivation increases a license counter, and after several times (as I know 12) the license is closed.

And: On my old PC, I did not update the BIOS because I did not care about this and the manufacturer's update tool was deleted. Moreover it had Windows Vista and 7, and these did not have major updates as complete re-installs like Windows 10 has.
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