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License Activation Fundamentals

This article applies to Robo-FTP v3.6 and previous. The process may vary for newer versions of Robo-FTP.

The exact process for activating a license has changed in minor ways from version to version in Robo-FTP. However, the fundamental concepts of how our license activation system works have not changed.

This article reviews these basic concepts.

This detailed information is rarely needed for most customers. However, it may be helpful if you are using an older, unsupported version of Robo-FTP and need to trouble-shoot an activation issue on your own.


Serial Number - This is the 12 digit number assigned to identify your license at the time of purchase.

Site Code - This is a 16-character alphanumeric sequence that identifies a particular installation of the software. A unique site code is generated when the software is installed on a machine. The site code includes information about the machine, the time/date, and the version of Robo-FTP installed. This site code can only be used once to activate the software, and it can only be used on the machine where it was generated. If the software is already activated, and the activation is removed, a new site code is generated at that time which can be used to activate the software again on that machine.

Site Key - This is a 24-character alphanumeric sequence that is used to complete a license activation. The site key is generated by Serengeti Systems based on the site code submitted by the user. Like the site code, each site key is unique, can only be used once, and can only be used to activate the software on the machine that generated the matching site code.

Removal Code - This is a 24-character alphanumeric sequence that is used to confirm that a license has been de-activated on a particular machine. Each removal code is unique and can only be used once.


When Robo-FTP is installed on a machine for the first time, it initiates a special "evaluation activation" that allows the software to run fully-functional for 30 days. Once this evaluation period expires, certain features of the software are disabled until the license is activated. This evaluation activation can only be used once on a particular machine. Uninstalling and reinstalling the software will not enable a user to have a second evaluation activation.

The process for activating a license involves four steps:

  1. User submits activation request to Serengeti Systems Incorporated that includes the serial number and site code. Depending on the circumstances, the request may also include a removal code.
  2. Serengeti Systems Incorporated evaluates the request to determine:
    1. Is the serial number valid?
    2. Is the site code valid?
    3. Has the license with this serial number already been activated on another machine?
    4. If this serial number has already been activated, does the request include a valid removal code that shows the software has been de-activated on the other machine?
    5. Does this customer's support level allow them to activate this version of Robo-FTP?
  3. If the request meets all the appropriate criteria, a site key is generated and returned to the user.
  4. The user enters the site key into Robo-FTP to complete the activation process.

Automatic Activation

In the vast majority of cases, most of these steps are handled automatically by Robo-FTP and the Serengeti Systems Incorporated license server. The user typically launches Robo-FTP, finds the activation menu (under the Help menu in most versions), enters the serial number, and clicks Activate. The process of submitting site codes and retrieving/entering site keys is handled behind the scenes by the software.


Many things can go wrong which prevent Robo-FTP from handling the activation automatically. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Proxy and/or firewall configuration prevents Robo-FTP from contacting the license server directly.
  • Old, unsupported version of Robo-FTP is attempting to contact the license server at a url that is no longer in use.
  • The license in question has already been activated on another machine (or another time on the same machine).
  • The user is attempting to activate a version of the software that is newer than the user's support status allows.

Automatic Activation Supplemental Information Form

In cases where automatic activation fails due to a license having been previously activated or a case where the version installed is newer than the user's support status allows, Robo-FTP should display a form requesting more information. Once this form is submitted, Serengeti will evaluate the request and contact the customer either approving or denying the request as appropriate.

Of course, if the automatic activation failed for any of the other reasons listed above, it is very likely that this form submission will fail as well.

Manual Activation

In cases where automatic activation fails, users can submit an activation request manually by fax or email (either from the machine you are trying to activate or some other machine).

All versions of Robo-FTP provide a menu option for submitting an activation request manually. However, if you are having difficulty following the instructions in your version of Robo-FTP for doing this, the following tips may help you work around the problem:

  • Your site key request must include your serial number and the site code generated by the current installation of Robo-FTP on the machine you are trying to activate.
  • If you have previously activated the license with this serial number, you must provide a removal code confirming that you removed the license from its previous location. In most versions of Robo-FTP, the menu option for removing a license is under the Help menu. This generally results in generating the file C:\Program Files\Robo-FTP\removal.txt that contains the removal code.
  • If you cannot obtain the removal code (for example, because the hard drive on the previous machine failed and is unrecoverable), include a detailed description of your situation. Include all relevant details. A terse, two or three word description is likely to result in delaying your request.

More Information

This online knowledge base includes many more articles that address specific issues related to activation, often with information that pertains to specific older versions of Robo-FTP.

See also:

Activating a license

Article last updated: 2020-08-21

Tags: activation, license, licensing

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