Working with licenses

ASTER creates an automatic backup copy of the information on active licenses activated on the computer to our license server. This backup allows you to restore all of your activated codes with just a few mouse clicks. This can be very useful if your computer crashes, reinstalled your OS, or forgot your license code when you need to restore the purchased licenses to activate the ASTER.

Please note that the licenses can be restored only on the computer which it was installed and that the processor of the computer has not to be changed. The ASTER license is tied to the hard disk and CPU of the computer so when you change any one of them, the license restoration from the back is not possible.

A backup of your licenses is created and sent to the server when you activate a license. In order to identify the computer, ASTER creates and assigns a unique identifier number to it. When you start ASTER for the first time, you will see the following information message:

information message: Upgrade Required

After you click the “OK” button, a unique identifier is created and it is displayed in the window as below:

Save your ASTER installation ID

Please make a note of it and keep it in a safe place, for example, in your notebook or some cloud storage like Google Drive or one drive. This ID allows you to restore (See. Restoring a license from a backup) your ASTER license data in case you need to reinstall Windows. We recommend you do not store the identifier data on the same computer as it may be lost when your system crashes.

If you need to check the identifier, you can find it in the lower-left corner of the “ASTER Control Panel” window.

Trial Period

After ASTER is installed on your computer for the first time (or again after a windows re-installation) and you have created the installation identifier, a window will open with three options:

Welcome Screen: Choose Your Option

You need an internet connection to activate the trial or license. If the computer is connected to the internet through a proxy server, then click the first option to configure ASTER to connect through the proxy. (See. Configure ASTER to use Proxy Server). Click the second button to activate the license you purchased for ASTER. If you just want to try ASTER in trial then click the last option to activate the trial for 14 days.

Like the ASTER license, the trial period is also tied to the computer hardware. This means, if you reinstall ASTER (including the updated version) it will not reset the trial period, i.e You will not receive an additional month of trial when you reinstall the program

ASTER has a 14-day trial, during which you can test the full capabilities of the program and make your decision about purchasing a license. The ASTER program will work without any functional limitations in the trial.

When a few days are left in the trial period, and you open the ASTER Control Panel, a window with the information about the remaining days for the trial will be displayed.

After the trial expires, when you run the program, it will show you the window to activate the license - to continue using ASTER. We hope that the 14-day trial was sufficient for the test and you will purchase a license afterward. You can choose to uninstall the program if you do now wish to purchase a license currently.

End of trial period. Enter Your Activation ID

Activation Code

When you buy an ASTER license, you will receive a product activation code. To activate the license, you must have an internet connection on the computer. To activate the license click on the «Registration» tab, then enter the activation code, and then click the «Activate» button. After successful activation, you will be asked to restart the program ASTER Control Panel which is mandatory.

ASTER Activation Dialog

Acquisition and activation of an ASTER Pro (lifetime) license give you the right to an additional 14-day trial. This trial period will allow you to test ASTER with a large number of workplaces and possibly decide on the purchase of an additional license. Multiple licenses can be activated on one computer to get additional workplaces. But remember ASTER has a limit of total workplaces from one computer, which is 12 workplaces (max).

The additional workplaces trial period begins only after activation of trial workplaces. This allows you to decide to test the feasibility of purchasing additional licenses later. To do this, make sure your computer system allows you to add additional workplaces with current hardware. You can also check how many additional workplaces you can create in the computer and its performance. Once you are sure, you can activate the additional workplaces in the trial from the registration dialog box (In this dialog box, click the “Activate trial workplaces” button.) or from the context menu of the “Workplaces” tab.

ASTER Activation Dialog with trial periodWorkplaces Tab

Batch activation code

Unlike the usual activation code designed in most cases to activate the ASTER program on a single computer, the activation code (Batch activation code) can activate ASTER on several computers. Batch activation code is useful for the mass installation of ASTER, for example, in organizations or when distributing computers with pre-installed software, which includes ASTER. It is enough to remember and use only one batch activation code instead of many activation codes and its installation ID.

Batch activation code is, in fact, an identifier (list) to several common activation codes of the same type. When purchasing a batch activation code, you must specify the type of license (Home or Pro). For a pro license, you must specify the total number of ASTER workplaces that will be licensed on all computers and the number of computers on which the batch activation code will be used. Once again, please keep in mind the fact that the licenses in the package will be identical, i.e the same time (home or pro) and the same number of workplaces on each computer. When creating a batch activation code, the specified number (equal to the number of computers from your order) of the usual activation codes are created and for this package, one unique batch activation code is created, which is the serial you will receive (together with the usual activation codes included in this package).

Manual activation by batch activation code is carried out in the same way as activation by usual activation code, i.e. the number is entered in the corresponding file in the activation dialog box. The batch activation code is sent to the ASTER license server, where the server will select a free (not yet activated) normal activation code from the corresponding package and activates it. It also binds the activation code to the computer that sent the activation request. When you re-request activation from the saved computer, the server will find the license corresponding to this computer and send the registration information that is already in the database. In case of accidental (or intentional) re-activation, a new activation code will not be used.

ASTER Master License

One of the most popular methods for installing the ASTER program is the mass distribution of ASTER in the hardware and software complex, for example, a computer class for the school, based on cloning the disk with the pre-installed ASTER master license, here is steps to do it:

  • The operating system is installed on the computer (hereinafter referred to as the master computer), then a predefined set of software, including ASTER;
  • After installing ASTER on the computer, ASTER master license is created, which specifies the batch activation identifier;
  • From the hard disk of the master computer (hereinafter referred to as the master disk) copies (clones) for the required number of disks of the same type are made;
  • Master disk clones are installed on other computers that have the same hardware set.

The first time you start ASTER on a clone computer if the program finds a master license on the disk. Then, with little or no intervention from the operator, it will activate the batch activation code found in the master license. If the master license was created without password protection, only the windows to activate the ASTER will open. Otherwise, you will need to enter the password after the user clicks the “Activate” button. You only need one more click of the mouse to confirm to run the program in administrator mode. Then the activation will proceed automatically.

This greatly helps in the process of activating ASTER on a variety of computers when distributing a large number of computers.

To create a *master license*:

1. Purchase the batch activation code ASTER for the required number of computers - Pro or Home as required.

2. Install the ASTER on the master computer and check the functioning of all programs installed in the computer (including ASTER)

3. Start the ASTER with the make-master option on the master computer. To do this, you need to run the following command (after closing the “ASTER Control Panel”, if it is running):

asterctl --make-master

4. In the window that appears, enter the batch activation code in the “License package” field and, if you want to protect yourself from the batch activation code being used by unauthorized personnel, enter a password in the “Password” field that will be requested when the ASTER is activated on the clone computers.

Enter your serial number and password

5. After entering the specified data, click the button “Create ASTER master license”. Since creating a master license involves removing existing ASTER licenses, you need to confirm this operation.

Note: To create a master license, you will be requested administrative access. After its completed, you can start cloning the master disk to the required number of clone disks.

6. After cloning is done delete the master license from the master computer. Otherwise, ASTER will not start on it.

Use this command for removing ASTER Master License

To remove the master license from the master computer (and from the clone computer, if necessary), you need to execute the command specified in the screenshot below, i.e.

asterctl --clean-license

After executing the command on the computer, the master license ASTER will be deleted. Now, you can use the PC to create the next batch of clone computers for another contract/purchase order for your hardware and software distribution.

Sometimes you have to check the list of ASTER activation codes activated on the computer. You can open the list by clicking the button “My activation codes” in the “About” tab:

Your activated keys

This list displays both active licenses, invalid activation codes, and deactivated keys if they are present. In the “Status” column you will see the status of the license:

  • Valid - the activation code is valid, i.e. the license is active;
  • Invalid - the activation code is invalid. This means that the code was successfully activated on this computer but for some reason, the license became invalid (for example, the expiration of the Home-license);
  • Deactivated - the license was deactivated on this computer.

The “Locations” column indicates how many workplaces the license supports.

The “Expansion” column indicates whether the license is an extension or main (Pro-2, Pro-3, Pro-6, Home) type license.

The last column shows the expiration date for the license.

You can save the data provided in this window in a text file by clicking the “Save” button.

To view information about the program, the licenses, and the license holder's information, check the About tab:

About Tab

Restoration of ASTER licenses from the backup is carried out in the “ASTER Activation” dialog box (to open the dialog box, click the “Register” button).

Successful restoration of the license from a backup copy is possible only if the disk on which Windows and the processor of the computer it was activated has not changed. The ASTER License is tied to the HDD and the CPU, and when you replace their restoration of the license from the backup will not succeed.

Go to the “Restore / Deactivate” tab of this dialog (when switching to the tab there may be a delay of several seconds since the program is pinging the license server to get a list of backups).

You should make sure that your ID is displayed in the “Installation ID” field, and if it is not, enter the correct one. This situation can arise as a result of loss of the identifier code due to system crashes, disk reformatting, etc. In such cases, the “ASTER Control Panel” program will create a new identifier code (See. ASTER Installation ID), and it certainly will not match the old identifier.

After entering the ID, the list of available backup copies for this ID will be updated. In the “Backup copies” drop-down list, select the copy you want (the items in this list are sorted by descending date of the copies creation, so the most current copy will be the first in the list).

Click the “Restore License” button. The program downloads the specified backup copy and restores all the license information stored in this copy. After that, you will need to restart the program (and if ASTER was enabled, then restart the computer) for the changes to take effect.

You can deactivate all licenses (see. ASTER terms of licensing and updating) or some of the ASTER licenses. This can be useful when you want to transfer licenses to another computer or to correct the errors that occurred when the product was activated. For example, if the license was activated not on the computer for which it was intended.

1. It is necessary to correctly understand the phrase “Transfer of licenses to another computer”. From the point of view of the ASTER licensing system, the computer is identified by the hard drive on which Windows is installed and the type of processor installed on the computer. Therefore, “Transferring a license to another computer” includes not only transferring to a different computer (the system unit), but also replacing the system disk and/or processor, and reinstalling Windows on another disk on the same computer.
2. You can deactivate only the licenses that are activated on this computer and are valid (active) at the time you send the deactivation request. If you need to deactivate an inactive license (for example, due to an unexpected crash and disk replacement), you need to contact the ASTER technical support service at The ASTER technical report and license activation code must be provided which you want to deactivate.

Deactivation is carried out in the window “ASTER Activation” opened from the Restore / Deactivate tab and consists of several stages. As a result of the deactivation process, the licenses that you select will become invalid, and instead of them, you will receive new, equivalent licenses.

The first stage is to create a request to deactivate licenses. Click the button “Preparing deactivation”. A window with a list of valid licenses activated on this computer will open:

Forming of a request to deactivating licenses

Select the licenses that you want to deactivate and enter a message describing the reason for deactivation and you can specify special wishes about deactivated licenses (for example, to link new licenses to other names and/or email addresses), though we do not recommend making such requests. You can change the name and address in the “Your name” and “Your e-mail” fields if necessary. This data will be used to generate activation codes, which you will receive in return for deactivated licenses. After the request is successfully sent, a message with a unique request number will appear. We recommend you save the request number just in case (for example, to reference it in the support request in case of any problems).

Due to the limitations of the license server, it is not possible to completely automate the process of processing deactivating the license from the requests, thus this process may take some time. While the license is requested for deactivation, you can still use ASTER. At each start of the ASTER Control Panel, it will check the readiness of deactivation data. Once the request is processed and executed, a notification will be displayed in the form of a pop-up window or notification in the system tray:

System trayAfter receiving this notification, it is necessary to complete the deactivation procedure by clicking on the “Deactivate licenses” button in the ASTER Activation Dialogue window, there you can also cancel the deactivation using the Ctrl + Alt + Shift + X hotkeys. The program will contact the licensing server, consider the information required for deactivation and ask for confirmation of the deactivation operation. If the answer is yes, the selected licenses will be deactivated. New keys will be displayed after deactivation (information about the number of seats for each key will be indicated in brackets):

Deactivation confirmedYour new activation IDs

Copy them to a safe place and use the licenses at your discretion.

If for some reason you cannot save new activation codes (for example, accidentally closed the last dialog), do not worry. Just do the last step of deactivation again (starting with clicking the “Deactivate licenses” button) and get a new list of activation codes again.

Some of the situations when there is a need to remove all ASTER license information from a computer are listed below:

  • The Home license was activated on the computer (and it is not over yet), and you want to activate the Pro-license on this computer (or vice versa). Home and Pro licenses cannot be activated on one computer, so you need to delete the previously activated license from the disk.
  • You want to clean the computer after deactivating the license (See. Deactivate ASTER licenses ) and transfer the license to another computer. For this case, it is not necessary to clear the license information as the license is unusable.
  • The computer has a long list of invalid licenses that were once activated on it. This list may be annoying to you, and you would like to get a “clean” list of the ASTER licenses. This can be done by removing all the license information, and then re-activate only the valid activation codes.
  • In rare cases, the ASTER support service can recommend you to clean licenses to troubleshoot or get a clean list.

In previous versions, this cleaning could be done by the following command:

 'asterctl --clean-license'

This is executed in the Windows shell window, which is not convenient.

In version 2.17, on the “Restore / Deactivate” tab, Deactivate ASTER licenses right-click context option “Clear ASTER license information” was added for convenience.

The action of clearing the license information requires user confirmation, and if the answer is yes, you will be prompted to save the activation codes (See. Viewing keys activated on the computer).

You can still use the old method to clear licenses - via the command line.

The button for clearing the license is duplicated in the context menu of the image of the system unit in the “Workplaces” tab:

Clear ASTER license information through the use of context menu

When you deactivate and create backup copies of the license, some information is sent to the license server.

This information sent to the server contains the following data:

  • The name of the buyer and the email address used to purchase the ASTER licenses.
  • Activation codes are generated by the ASTER license server when purchasing licenses.
  • Code for binding licenses to the hardware of the computer.
  • Registration keys are generated by the ASTER license server in response to the activation of the activation code.
  • ASTER installation ID.
  • The system time of the user's computer at the time of the request.
  • ASTER version number installed on the user's computer.
  • Language of the ASTER User Interface.
  • Activation code for deactivation.

The date to and from the license server is encrypted. We can make sure the above list doesn't contain any data, except for the data you provided during purchase, received from the license server after purchase of license and after activation of the license, and minimal data for the backup and deactivation process.