·.·. Computer forensics software made in Germany .·.·

Licensing Terminology and Details

Some definitions as used by X-Ways...

License: Invisible, non-physical permission/right to use a certain software product (limited to certain versions or limited to a certain time). 1 license authorizes 1 person to run the software on 1 computer at a time. A license is granted upon purchase. A license cannot be sent by postal mail or e-mail or in any other way. It just exists (or doesn't). If you expect the "delivery" of a license, you may mean something to unlock the software (copy protection).

Copy protection: Technical means to allow licensed users to use a software product and prevent others from doing the same, e.g. license codes/license file/dongle/BYOD. Not identical to the license itself, but often confused. License codes/license files/dongles can be sent either physically or electronically. It might be possible to retroactively change from one copy protection method to another for an existing license, on request, as shown here.

Perpetual license: Permanent license, which means the license never expires and never has to be renewed. The customer is entitled to use the licensed software indefinitely, as long as technically possible. What is limited is just the period during which you have access to updates (if that is included in the license at all). 

Non-perpetual license: A license that allows to use the software for a limited time only (e.g. for 1 or 2 years). Also known as a subscription. Our non-perpetual licenses do not automatically renew. Access to updates is included for the same period as licenses are valid. Non-perpetual licenses cannot be converted to perpetual licenses. If you buy a license for 2 years in advance instead of just 1 year, you save money because another annual license or a renewal for 1 year will likely be more expensive if bought 1 year later. The validity period of non-perpetual licenses starts immediately when your order is processed except if you pick a license variant for which you can define the exact start and end of the period yourself and except if the chosen copy protection method is a dongle (in which case the license period starts after receipt). 

Network license: A single license that could be defined as allowing to use the software on all machines of a network at the same time. Not offered by X-Ways, but customers occasionally use this term. Perhaps you are looking for network dongles representing multiple (regular) licenses, and a well defined (not infinite) number of them.

Access to updates: New versions (updates) that are released during this period of time will be made available to a licensed user at no additional cost. The exact date when access to updates ends is defined already when you purchase the license. Not when you start using the software as some users think who have to wait for a while to physically receive their dongle. The period during which you have access to updates is totally unrelated to the time when you start using the software and the indefinite time that you can use a perpetual license for. With a perpetual license, you are permitted to continue to use the last version that was released and downloaded before your access to updates expired, for an indefinite time, as long as technically possible. Before access to updates for a perpetual license expires and after it has expired, you will usually be offered to upgrade that license with longer access to updates (see below).

Upgrade: If users wish to have a newer version of the software than they are currently entitled to use to with their perpetual license, they need to upgrade that license with longer access to updates. Periods of 1, 2 or 3 years of longer access to updates are counted either from the date when that upgrade is purchased or, if the licenses currently still have access to updates, from the date when the current access to updates will end, whichever is later! Upgrades are usually offered when you query your license status once you approach the end of your current access to updates and still after access to updates has ended. An upgrade is much cheaper than a brand new perpetual license. At the time of writing, if someone's access to updates for X-Ways Forensics has just ended, upgrading the license with access to updates for 1 more year is usually less than 26% of the current cost of a new license with 1 year access to updates. Converting a license to a superior license type (e.g. a perpetual license for X-Ways Investigator to a perpetual license for X-Ways Forensics) is also a kind of upgrade.

Renewal: Extending the validity of an annual/temporary/non-perpetual license. Such a renewal for X-Ways Forensics by 1 full year is usually offered during the last 2 months before the license expires, when you query your license status, with a discount compared to a brand new license, or at any later time. The additional year starts either when the renewal is processed or, if the licenses is still active, will be appended from the date when the license will expire.

Technical support: Support services might be sold by X-Ways on request.

Version: Development state of the software identified by a number such as 1.2 or 15.0. The dot functions as a decimal point, i.e. 6.1 is newer than 6.09.

Update: Newer version, i.e. a version with a higher version number. The availability of an update to X-Ways Forensics/X-Ways Investigator/WinHex is announced through the newsletter.

Preview release: If a new version has not yet been officially released, a preview release of it may already contain new interesting features that are worth seeing and testing in advance. A preview release has a built-in expiration date because it is not meant to be used for a longer time. Users are notified of the availability of a preview release in the "Announcements" section of the forum.

Beta release: Already nearer to the final release than a preview release, but still not the final version. Comes with a built-in expiration date as well, and also announced in the forum.

Service release: Error corrections or minor improvements added to an already officially released version. Abbreviation: SR. Also announced in the forum.

Start & Go: A variant of BYOD, available for license types whose description contains the word "Start & Go". Means that you may use a single BYOD key device (a removable medium) for multiple licenses, and may unplug the device as soon as the software is running on one computer, and then immediately use the same device again to start up the software on another machine, and then another and another. As always, x licenses allow you to run the software on x computers at a time, but the software is unlocked on all of these computers with just a single key device. Unlike with ordinary multiple daily licenses purchased together, all licenses with Start & Go have the exact same validity period (which starts when requesting the license file).

Addresses: When ordering our software online, you can specify a separate delivery, billing, and licensee address. Only the delivery address will receive the electronic delivery by e-mail (and also the physical delivery, if any). Only the billing address will receive the invoice (and also the quote, if a quote is generated first). The person or organization entered as the licensee address will become the owner of the license. Of course, all three addresses can be identical, if you like, but especially for resellers it is useful to distinguish between the three. When you sign up one of your colleagues for our training, please enter his or her name in the delivery address, so that we will know who will actually attend. Thank you.

Short-term license: Temporary licenses for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days, if offered (usually not), come in handy if you have a need to run the software on many more computers at the same time than usually, such as for training purposes or if you wish to parallelize processing (keyword searches, volume snapshot refinements) with X-Ways Forensics using multiple instances on multiple computers for an unusually large or urgent case or if you generally only need X-Ways Forensics occasionally on a few days per year. Useful also when conducting triage on a large number of computers on site, i.e. where you have to quickly verify using special methods (keyword search, filename filter, skin tone computation on 10% of all pictures, ...) whether or not there is potential evidence on a computer, and depending on the result decide to acquire all its data on site or take the hardware away or just leave the computer alone.

The validity of a short-term license for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days starts when the license file for a certain BYOD key device is retrieved. For each license (if not Start & Go, see below) you may request a license file for a different key device at different times! Example: You purchase such 10 licenses in January, and could decide to use 2 of them right away, 1 in mid February, 3 in early March, 2 in late March, and 2 in May. The licenses expire if the license files are not retrieved within 1 year from the date of purchase. 1 day usage means 24 hours (+at least 1 extra hour is granted automatically, e.g. for preparation). 2 days = 48 hours (+1). 3 days = 72 hours (+1). Daily licenses are cost-effective if you purchase larger numbers licenses at the same time. Available for X-Ways Forensics 18.0 and later.

License agreement

License type comparison, Upgrade chart