Nikon Illegal Product Key Messages
Oct 30 (news and commentary)--I keep hearing from more and more people hit by the Illegal Product Key message when upgrading their Capture NX2 or Camera Control Pro software to the versions released this week.
This doesn't actually mean that your Product Key is an illegal one. It means that installations using your number have exceeded some unknown limit or triggered something in your install configuration. Unfortunately, there are legitimate reasons to install software more than once: those of us who do clean installs of our OS and applications periodically to insure muck-free computers will run into that limit at some point. If you're an aggressive systems upgrader (e.g. get a new computer every year and retire your old one), you'll hit the limit, too.
Rather than do what other state-of-the-art software companies do (e.g. have interactive Activation servers and allow users to activate and deactivate products on their own), Nikon has a simpler system: go over the activation limit bar and the software won't install, period. The number can't even be reset by Nikon ;~).
The solution, unfortunately, is that you have to call Nikon support and prove that you have legitimate copies of the product. This usually involves providing both an image of the product case with the serial number showing and a copy of your sales receipt. If you upgraded from version 1 to version 2, apparently Nikon wants documentation for both those purchases. Upon doing that, Nikon will issue you a new serial number, and you can install using the new number (at least until you exceed the unknown installation limit again ;~).
But there are all kinds of sub-variants on a theme going on, unfortunately. Some of them are very customer unfriendly. For instance, I know of users who bought a legitimate version 2 upgrade from Nikon who are now being denied a new serial number because the version 1 that Nikon sold them an upgrade for was from an illegitimate source. In other words, Nikon is just now getting around to policing a problem they had a couple of years ago and you're out your upgrade money because they didn't do the right thing in the first place. That's so customer antagonistic, it's pitiful. Let's hope they change that policy fast.
I've seen numerous dismissive comments of my "Nikon is not a software company" post (see 2010 Archive Page), but to those people I ask this: is this really how you all expect a professional software company to run? Really? Be careful what you wish for, because if Nikon's policies are the expected norm, a lot of other software companies can lower their standards quite a bit and still keep you happy.