In the old days, we had to deal with way too many software protection dongles, and I still remember mailing a floppy disk to register my copy of QuarkXPress 3. Thankfully, most companies now rely on serial numbers to unlock applications. Also thankfully, Outer Level created LicenseKeeper to track and organize all those numbers and codes.
LicenseKeeper is a fairly simple application that maintains a database of the software serial numbers, license codes, and registration keys you need for the applications you use. True, you can create a database yourself in applications like FileMaker Pro, or make simple lists in TextEdit or even Microsoft Excel (Please donit. Spreadsheet applications should be used for number crunching.). LicenseKeeper, however, also keeps copies of associated emails, files, and notes relating to your applications.
Since LicenseKeeper can store pretty much anything that relates to your applications, it makes for an easy to use go-to for everything relating to software registrations. The files it stores are copies, and not merely pointers back to the original, so you also get the bonus of having extra backups of registration files, license files, and emails.
The learning curve for LicenseKeeper is surprisingly flat. After installing the application, I clicked the New Item button, entered some information about an application, and was done.
Importing applications is pretty slick, too. Once you select the application you want to import, LicenseKeeper auto-fills the app name, version number, and icon for you. The only thing that could make this feature even cooler would be auto-entering the product serial number for you, too.
Iim not holding my breath for that feature since I assume it would be a monumental task to figure out how every application stores its registration and license information, and I also imagine that most developers arenit hip on the idea of applications that can extract license information. In the old days, we called those serial number crackers.
Importing emails into LicenseKeeper works one of two ways: First, you can use the Attach Email button. Second, you can drag an email into the Attachments field in LicenseKeeper. I prefer the second method since you the first requires you select a message in your email application before clicking the Attach Email button. If you forget, youill end up importing the wrong email message - and if you are already in Mail, why not just drag the message into LicenseKeeper?
LicenseKeeper stores copies of emails and other files.
LicenseKeeper supports importing email messages from Mail, Entourage, and PowerMail. Support for additional email applications would be nice, but at least for now the two biggies - Appleis Mail, and Entourage from Microsoft - are covered.
While the built-in documentation does cover all of LicenseKeeperis features, I still found it to be a bit thin. The information on importing applications, for example, walks you through the process of importing an application, but it never explains exactly what that means. On first glance, you might assume that means actually importing the entire application, and not information about the application.
The Bottom Line
Unless you rely solely on the applications your Mac shipped with and free applications that donit require registration or license codes, LicenseKeeper is an invaluable tool for keeping track of those vital bits of information. For me, the days of sifting through emails or product boxes for installation codes and registration numbers every time I have to install an application are long gone.