02 - Licensing the Software

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02 - Licensing the Software


When you first start SCRATCH or when an existing license expired, you are presented with the License dialog to activate your license key. 

License Activation Dialog

In order to run SCRATCH you need to enter a license key. A license key is formatted as "xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx" -a total of 36 characters including the separators. You can enter the key manually or copy the key to the clipboard of Windows / OS X and use the Paste button. After entering a key the Activate Key button will turn into an enabled state.

When you click the Activate Key button SCRATCH will contact the Assimilate activation server over the internet and send the key along with your system's details to validate the key and generate a license for the system. If the key validates, the license is then automatically installed. A second dialog will pop up asking you to restart SCRATCH. On Windows this restart will be done automatically - on OS X SCRATCH will just close down and needs to be started manually again.

Note: The system needs a working internet connection for on-line activation.


When Activating the software with a license key, SCRATCH will send information about your system over the internet to Assimilate' server in order to create a license. The information sent is the same data as that which is written in a standard SCRATCH log-file and contains information about the system hardware (CPU, Memory and GPU specifications), the Operating System (Type and version) and data items like system-name, system-id and disk-id to identify the system in order to generate a system specific license for it. All information is send over a secure (https) connection and is stored in the Assimilate database and only used for generating a license or referencing in case of a problem with SCRATCH and/or the license. This information will never be sold, traded, or otherwise distributed to another party.


For any licensing questions of issues contact licensing@assimilateinc.com and always include an Assimilator.log file with the request. If you experience problems with activating the software make sure:

  • The system has a working internet connection - you can check this by opening an internet browser on the computer and open e.g. the Assimilate homepage at http://www.assimilateinc.com.
  • Check if there are any firewalls blocking the system from connecting the Assimilate server. A firewall can be switched on on the system itself or can be located elsewhere in the network. In the former situation, try switching off the firewall temporarily in the latter case - contact your network administrator.
  • In some cases you might get a 'key in use' message after activating. In that case you either used a key that is already used by another system or either the system-id or disk-id of the system you are activating from have changed. Contact Assimilate and include both the latest log file and the key you are using to activate.


To update an existing license file you navigate to the System Settings menu (discussed in detail in the next chapter) and select the License button on the far right of the menu panel to open the License dialog. In SCRATCH Play - open the Preferences dialog from the Construct and from there click the License button.


If you have a SCRATCH (monthly) subscription with recurring payments, the license you obtain after activating will only be valid for a month. However SCRATCH will automatically try to renew the license each month several days before it expires. The system needs to be on-line for the renewal to succeed. If the re-activation fails and the license expires SCRATCH will popup the licensing dialog.


There are cases in which activation fails and an error message is displayed. 

  • Key in use. The license key has been used to activate another system or the system configuration has changed (new hardware such as network adapter or hard disk) that the license has become invalid.
  • Invalid key. You entered a key that is not recognized as a valid key - possibly by entering a wrong character. Check the license key carefully.
  • Activation failed - code X. Where X is a number: 0 indicates that SCRATCH does not have a working internet connection - contact your system administrator or try to connect to the web using the standard browser on the system. Other codes are described here http return codes
  • Subscription expired or is invalid. Sell explanatory.
  • Error activating multiple trial keys. You are not allowed to activate multiple trial licenses on a single system. Contact ASSIMILATE Sales for a solution.
  • E666.You get this error when trying and failing to activate a key more than three times in a row. Wait 30 minutes and try again to see the real error.
  • Other general error are - Failed to activate, Generator Error, E100. Please make sure you entered the correct license key and contact ASSIMILATE Support if the issue persists.


If you are new to SCRATCH you might first request a trial license. The corresponding button will open a Trial registration internet page. When you fill this in, you are send a trial license key. Note that you can only activate one trial license on any system.


The Log Files button will open the folder where SCRATCH maintains its application log files. The use and content of the log files are described later in this chapter.

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    Last Modified:Wednesday, May 22, 2019
    Type: HOWTO