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Garmin Mobile PC Activation Limit
Ken in Regina
I received my Mobile PC (software only) yesterday. I figured I would install it to my desktop first, in order to mess around with it a bit before installing on my laptop. When I ran it the first time, it wanted my product key so I entered it. I was connected to the internet so it automatically activated without even asking if I wanted to.

No problem, I thought. I thought I had seen at least one person in here mention that they had it installed on their desktop and laptop. So I played around with it for awhile on my desktop. Then I installed it on my laptop. When it asked for the product key I entered it again. This time when it tried to automatically activate, I got an error that the product key was already in use. Looks like only one activation allowed.

So I called Garmin tech support this afternoon. Got confirmation that only one activation is allowed. So I said I want the activation on my laptop ... can't do a whole lot of navigating on my desktop in my basement office.

Tech support figured that was a reasonable request so they set about trying to figure out how to kill my current activation so I can reuse it on my laptop. No joy so far. So they are continuing to work on it and hope to have the problem solved on their end by tomorrow.

So, be warned. If you buy the software-only version, don't activate on your desktop. You can still install it on your desktop and run it without activating it. When you get to the activation screen you will see two big buttons. One button asks you to connect to a Garmin GPS. The other button asks you to enter a product key. Just click the button to connect to a Garmin GPS, but make sure you don't have a GPS connected. You have full use of the program features (except the GPS, of course). Any time you try to connect a GPS it will flip you right back to the activation screen as soon as it detects the GPS.

This may or may not be useful to you. You can see the basemap but the detail maps are not available. That means searching and route creation isn't very useful because the basemap has very limited routing and address information and it doesn't have any POIs.

...ken...
tcassidy
That is strange Ken. I first installed it on my UMPC. Then my laptop and I have tried it on my main computer. of course, only the UMPC has access to a non-Garmin GPS. Maybe thats the reason but I am sure I entered the key on all of them and they are all connected to the internet. I seem to be missing something.

Terry
tcassidy
I just checked under Settings - About and both the UMPC and the laptop have the same product key. Could it be the first issue of the software (not 5.00.10g) didn't know not to load on more than one device?

I would love to find out whether the laptop will run on a non-Garmin GPS but I don't have one. I tried GPS Gate tcp/ip but, of course, Mobile PC wouldn't see the GPS Gate output.

Terry
tcassidy
I reinstalled Mobile PC on my main computer and it already knew my Product key. Must be stored permanently in the registry. Anyway it worked fine and the version was 5.00.00g

Terry
Marvin Hlavac
This is very interesting info. Thanks Ken and Terry.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
... Just click the button to connect to a Garmin GPS, but make sure you don't have a GPS connected...
What will happen if a Garmin GPS receiver is connected? Will you only be able to use the Garmin receiver on that one computer? Will you not be able to later use that one (Garmin) receiver on another laptop PC? I thought I tested this on two PCs with no problem, but I'm now not sure.
tcassidy
Marvin,
I can confirm that an individual Garmin GPS reciever (in my case a GPS 10x) will work with Mobile PC on multiple computers. However, I cannot say if this is because my original installations were all v5.00.00g.
Which version did you receive for you testing?

Terry
Marvin Hlavac
It was the same 5.00.00 (not sure if there was a letter 'g' at the end). Later I installed the downloadable upgrade. I'm now actually sure I tested this on three installations (2 x Vista, and 1 x XP). It worked with GPS20x on all three testing installations.
Grainchaser
I just received my Mobile PC today with the Garmin GPS 20 receiver. I installed it on my desktop to play with. Did the update to 5.00.10g and it worked fine (though no reception in house). Just installed it on my laptop and it also worked fine. After I did the software update, it did not find the receiver. I updated the USB drivers and it found the receiver and appears to be working fine. Will go for a drive tomorrow to really test it.
tcassidy
There is no activation involved (no product key) when you purchase the package. So, as long as you use the GPS 20x on each computer, there should not be a problem.

Did you check before updating the software, which version was on your original disk (Settings - About)? Just curious.

Terry
Grainchaser
The version on the disk was 5.00.00g.
I did notice that after I registered the product at Garmin, "my account" listed an "unlock code".
Is that the same as an activation key that I could use with a different GPS?
HarryD
I order the software only and it should be getting here any day.

With the software only and using a third party GPS, does this mean I can only install a usable version on one PC?
Marvin Hlavac
That's what it seems like at this point. I was just going to read the licensing agreement of Garmin Mobile PC, but I don't know where to locate it - I don't see it when I click Help .

I think, though, that if you wish to have more installations, you could just buy Garmin GPS 20x receiver - that could technically allow you unlimited number of installations - but check with the licensing agreement first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grainchaser
I did notice that after I registered the product at Garmin, "my account" listed an "unlock code".
Is that the same as an activation key that I could use with a different GPS?
Now that's interesting. That's worth testing!
Grainchaser
Insofar as I don't have any other GPS to use, I can't test it.
With regard to the license agreement, I put the installation disk back in the computer and by using explore, the EULA is in the "ENU" folder. On a quick review, I did not see any restriction on installations. There was a restriction on use for fleet dispatching though.
Ken in Regina
Everyone's descriptions of the behaviour of Mobile PC when used with a Garmin GPS receiver helps me get an idea of what's going on.

When using a Garmin GPS receiver, Garmin normally unlocks the maps for use on that particular device. So, if you are using a Garmin GPS receiver and go to SETTINGS > ABOUT in Mobile PC you should see a "Device ID:" at the top of the page. That should be the device ID of the GPS receiver. That will be the device ID that will be associated with the unlock code for the maps ... and the reason you get an unlock code when you activate it with a Garmin GPS receiver attached.

Here's the crucial bit: Until you unlock the maps, you will only see the basemap and not the detailed maps for City Navigator North America NT 2009.

At least that's my theory. I have the software-only version and I don't have a Garmin GPS receiver to test with it (my iQue 3600 will not act as a standalone GPS receiver). I have deduced this by looking at the behaviour of the copy I installed on my laptop and my understanding of how Garmin treats map unlocking with their other devices.

The copy on my laptop is the one I can't activate because I activated on my desktop first. I can work with the copy installed on my laptop as long as I click the button to use a Garmin GPS receiver but do not connect a GPS receiver. I can use all the features but I can't see the detailed maps. When I go to the SETTINGS > ABOUT screen I see a "Device ID:". I have no idea where that's coming from.

Here's the difference that I'm seeing on my desktop -- the version that's activated. With the software-only version, as soon as you enter the Product Key it goes out onto the internet and activates the product. Once it does that, if you go to the SETTINGS > ABOUT page you will see "Software Unit ID: xxx" and "Product Key: xxx" listed at the top of the page instead of a "Device ID:"

I can use all the features and I can see the detailed maps.

The final key to the puzzle is the license agreement on the SETTINGS > ABOUT page. The Mobile PC software is Freeware.
Quote:
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this sofware and associated documentation files (the "Software") to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and sell copies of the Software, ...
This is no real surprise. Mapsource and nroute are also free. Even the basemaps are free.

It's the detailed maps that Garmin wants to protect and make money from. So with Mobile PC you need one of two things to use the maps that come with Mobile PC.

If you are using a non-Garmin GPS receiver and buy the software-only version, you just need the Product Key. That will unlock the detailed maps automatically when it's activated. And the activation will stop the use of that Product Key for activation (eg. unlocking of the maps) on any other PC. Because Garmin is treating the originally activated Mobile PC as if it is a Garmin GPS device.

If you buy the version with the Garmin GPS receiver, activation will provide an unlock code for the Device ID of the GPS receiver. You can install Mobile PC on as many computers as you want and see the detailed maps on them as long as you use the GPS receiver that the maps are unlocked to. This is the same way Mapsource works.

If you buy the software-only version and you have a Garmin GPS receiver and you can sweet-talk Garmin into giving you an unlock code for that GPS receiver for CNNA NT 2009, you can have one PC activated using the Product Key so you can use any non-Garmin GPS receiver with the maps on that PC. And you can have Mobile PC installed on as many other PCs as you want, with the maps unlocked to that particular Garmin GPS and see the detailed maps on those PCs when you use that particular Garmin GPS.

Terry, does that fit with what you are seeing? Can you check your SETTINGS > ABOUT screen on the various PCs you have Mobile PC installed on and see what it says. Then check the TOOLS > Manage My Data > Map Sets screen and see if the "Built-in maps" are unlocked?

If they are not unlocked you will see an asterisk beside the words "Built-in maps" and when you click on them the next screen will say "Can't unlock maps using Unit Id xxxxx".

As you can see, what matters here is not how many PCs you can install Mobile PC on but whether or not you can get the CNNA NT2009 maps unlocked on them. Without the detailed maps you don't have any useful street-level detail, you don't have city names, street addresses or postal codes to search on, you don't have POIs and you have very limited ability to do routing.

...ken...
tcassidy
Ken,
That is the problem I have in understanding why mine is different. All my installations come up with complete maps (the laptop comes up in Kansas) with no GPS connected. They show only a Software Unit ID and Product Key (the same on all ot them) in Settings - About.

Terry
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