Sentinel type Single-User Softkey


This KB article describes the functionality, installation procedure, license updating, and license rehosting capabilities of a Sentinel type Single-User Softkey license.  The following behaviors apply when using FRED on a client PC whose authorization is controlled through the use of a single-user Sentinel softkey:

  • One or more FRED sessions can be executed on the client PC as long as the Sentinel softkey is hosted by the client PC and FRED's license search strategy is appropriately configured to access the local license.
  • FRED can be executed through Remote Desktop as long as the softkey is hosted locally on the remote PC.
  • The Sentinel softkey is not restricted to a specific user and the softkey can be moved from one PC to another.
  • The Sentinel Runtime Environment must be installed on the client PC.

Instantiation of a softkey license requires the ability to exchange XML data files between the license host computer and Photon Engineering. Moving/Rehosting softkeys between computers on your network requires the ability to exchange XML data files between the current host computer and the new host computer (Photon Engineering is not involved). The XML data files contain strings of data that can be several thousand characters long. If you are unable, or unwilling, to exchange XML data files to facilitate license instantiation, updating and/or rehosting, softkeys may not be appropriate for your network environment.

Loss Disclaimer

You are responsible for protecting your hardware or software key from theft or loss as described in the FRED Optical Engineering Software EULA.  Photon Engineering does not replace lost keys for any reason.  Photon Engineering recommends that you insure your keys for the value of the purchased software, as you would for any other asset of similar value.

If you plan to modify the configuration of a physical or virtual workstation with a softkey installed, you should re-host the softkey to a different computer while the modifications are made and then return the softkey to the reconfigured machine.  This reduces the chance of losing your softkey license as a result of computer failure or triggering the Sentinel clone detection feature which may render your softkey license unusable.

Installing a single-user Sentinel Softkey


Preparing the Client computer

The Sentinel Runtime Environment is required on the client computer to enable the use of a Sentinel softkey.  The following steps should be taken on the Sentinel client computer to prepare it for hosting a softkey.  Warning: If the computer already has the Sentinel LDK License Manager installed, re-installing via any of the options below will cause an interruption to the existing service.  If the client computer already has the Sentinel LDK License Manager installed, you may consider proceeding to the next section, "Generating a New Softkey License".

1. Download FRED from our website at and run the installer. During installation, make sure to select the Sentinel RunTime Environment component.  The runtime environment will allow the client PC to communicate with the locally hosted softkey.

Sentinal RunTime

2. Open the Windows services list and check that the Sentinel LDK License Manager service is present and that its status is Running.

3. Start FRED.  If the License Search Strategy dialog does not open automatically, go to Help > License Search Strategy.  Configure the License Technology Search Strategy to use "Sentinel Only".  Specific Sentinel key access can be refined in the "Sentinel License Search Strategy (Sentinel keys only)" spreadsheet section of the dialog, if necessary.  Hit OK on the License Search Strategy dialog, whose settings will take effect on the next startup of FRED.

4. If the client computer will be running a newly purchased Sentinel softkey, Trial license, or Gratis license, proceed with the Generating a New Softkey License instructions below.  If an existing Sentinel softkey is being rehosted to the Client computer, refer to the Softkey Rehosting and Detachment instructions at the link below.

Generating a New Softkey License

Generation of a new softkey license requires a coordinated file exchange with Photon Engineering.   The customer will send Photon Engineering a customer-to-vendor (.c2v) "fingerprint" file that contains identification information about the client PC to which the softkey is being issued.  Photon Engineering generates and returns to the customer a vendor-to-customer (.v2c) file that, when applied by the customer, creates the softkey license.

The following steps should be taken on the client computer when requested by Photon Engineering.

1.  Start FRED.  If the License Search Strategy dialog does not automatically open, Navigate to Help > License Search Strategy.  Press the "Sentinel Dialog" button. 
2.  In the License Registration Actions section of the dialog, select the "Fingerprint (.c2v)" option.

3.  Use the "..." button in the Create Fingerprint (.c2v) row to designate a custom output file name and location.  If left unmodified, FRED will write a .c2v file to the Desktop.

What is a fingerprint file and what information does it contain?

The following information regarding machine fingerprints is taken from the Thales Sentinel LDK version 7.8 Software Licensing and Protection Guide:

As part of the Activation process for a licensed Product, the Sentinel LDK License Manager creates a “fingerprint” of the computer on which the protected software is installed. This fingerprint contains hash values of a number of characteristics of the computer. This fingerprint (referred to as the reference fingerprint) is stored within the secure storage on the computer and is also returned to the Vendor in the C2V file.  Each time the end user starts the protected software, the Sentinel LDK License Manager creates a new fingerprint of the computer (referred to as the system fingerprint) and compares it to the reference fingerprint. If the system and reference fingerprints are identical or sufficiently close (as described in this appendix), Sentinel LDK allows the protected software to operate.

This scheme uses various components such as CPU, ethernet card, optical drive, and PCI card slot peripherals, along with the hard drive serial number and motherboard ID to verify fingerprints. This scheme provides enhanced reliability against false positive clone detection and maintains the inherent security of the scheme.

4.  Press the Do Action button and then check the Action Status message area at the bottom of the dialog to confirm that the operation was successful.
5.  Provide the .c2v file generated in step 4 above to Photon Engineering at
The following steps should be taken after receiving a .v2c file from Photon Engineering
6.  In a web browser, navigate to http://localhost:1947 to access the Sentinel Admin Control Center running on the client computer.  Note: this must be the same computer that generated the fingerprint .c2v file in steps 1-5 above.
7.  Click on the Update/Attach link in the Options section on the left hand side of the ACC.
8.  Press the Choose File button and then select the .v2c file received from Photon Engineering.
9.  Press the Apply File button.  The web interface will present a message indicating success or failure of the operation.
10.  Click on the Sentinel Keys link in the Options section on the left hand side of the ACC.  Check that the new softkey is now listed.  The Features button in the Actions column can be used to view the available features, seat limits and any restrictions associated with the new license.

Sentinel License Authorization Update

Refer to KB article, Sentinel License Authorization Update.

Moving (rehosting) a Sentinel Softkey

Refer to KB article, Moving (rehosting) a Sentinel Softkey.

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