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Preserving the ability to use S&T / AR
werdnanostaw
I have been following the discussion in the following threads:

* Who wants to help design an all-new trip planner from the ground up?

* Getting a GPS receiver to work with Windows 8.x & 10

* New TomTom GPS Navigation Android & iOS app

with considerable interest.

I am very impressed by the cleverness, creativity, thoroughness, doggedness and skill of the contributors.

I am disappointed that a new champion satnav app / workflow hasn't emerged to replace Streets and Trips / AutoRoute (S&T / AR = STAR) but I have learned a lot about the features / capabilities of these apps that may / should be useful on our future trips.

I am not surprised that you have decided that STAR is still the star option as after a lot of research I have always decided that they were the best programs for navigation in North America and Europe.

We are going to fly to Paris just before Christmas and drive to Spain, to hopefully escape too much cold and snow, for 5 weeks.

Despite all my tricks with our existing 11 inch netbook which only has 32GB of storage plus a 64GB microSD card, such as installing programs onto the SD card and using Junctions to force recalcitrant programs to install there, I have run out of space on the internal drive. I can post on how to use Junctions and which software it works with (Google programs such as Chrome = Yes, Microsoft Office = No) if anyone is interested.

The PC doesn't have enough storage, RAM (2GB), CPU power (Passmark benchmark 910) or hardware support for virtualisation to run a virtual PC at a reasonable speed.

I am considering buying a 12 inch tablet / keyboard combination PC with a faster processor (Passmark 1300), more RAM (4GB) and 128GB of storage to take away.

If I reformat the old PC or buy a new PC I am going to lose my last remaining AR licence.

May I suggest that since you have decided that STAR is the best satnav program the energies focussed on looking for a replacement app for STAR be redirected to some / all of the following items that will allow us to continue to use it:

1. Confirm whether or not if you install STAR onto the same hardware after an OS reset that STAR will activate without needing an additional licence. I could do this myself, if the netbook had a removable drive, by putting in a new drive but the drive is eMMC that cannot be removed.

This is a priority option for me. Could someone please check this?

http://www.howtogeek.com/196541/emmc-vs.-ssd-not-all-solid-state-storage-is-equal/

2. Find out how to get Microsoft to reset the used licence count for those of us that have legal copies. My reading online indicates that it is no longer possible to get this done but possibly someone knows which phone number to call, which section to ask to be connected to and which form of words / search term the call centre person should use to find the appropriate page of their internal system to do this.

3. Campaign to get Microsoft to remove the licence count limitation so those of us who have legal copies can install it as many times as we need.

4. Find a product key generator that works. I have tried several from extremely dubious sources. None of them worked. I hasten to add that this was done from inside a virtual machine that was discarded at the end of the process to both visit web sites and run the keygens.

5. Find out how long Microsoft will maintain the activation server for STAR. There is little point pursuing 1 - 4 if the ability to activate STAR is going to be removed soon.

6. Campaign to get Microsoft to "sunset" STAR, ie to make it freely available to anyone who wants to use it by removing the activation requirement. I understand that they have done this with other software.

Hopefully, someone here has the contact details of the Microsoft STAR development team leader who used to post here who could advise on these issues (except 4 obviously).

7. Investigate using install tracking software such as Revo Uninstaller Pro (free 30 day trial available) to completely uninstall a trial version of STAR so it can be reinstalled and used repeatedly.

http://www.revouninstaller.com

https://www.raymond.cc/blog/monitor-software-installs-remove-leftovers-install-monitor/

8. Investigate using a trial version of STAR inside Linux and WINE where it may be possible to remove all traces of the trial when the trial period ends and then reinstall it.

9. Investigate using sandboxing software such as SandboxIE that intercepts all writes to the operating system and keeps them in a virtual copy so they can be discarded when required.

http://www.sandboxie.com/

https://www.raymond.cc/blog/analyze-suspicious-exe-files-with-comodo-instant-malware-analysis/

10. Document how to use virtual PC software such as Virtual Box to run a copy of Windows inside it and then run a trial version of STAR inside it and then discard the virtual PC at the end of the trial period and repeat.

https://www.virtualbox.org/

The document should include details of how to download and use the free version of Windows XP that was available to use virtually inside Windows 7 for those who don't have a spare Windows licence to use inside the virtual PC.

https://www.raymond.cc/blog/step-by-step-on-how-to-download-install-and-activate-windows-7...ed-os-and-dual-boot/

11. Investigate how to stop the clock on a virtual PC so that it always starts on a particular date so that the trial version of STAR doesn't know that 14 days has passed. I somehow doubt that this will work because even if you cut off the virtual PC from the time servers in the outside world STAR has to have access to the time available from the GPS satellites so the navigation module knows what time it is and presumably it tells the trial cutoff module.

12. Investigate how to keep a virtual PC image with STAR installed but not started (ie so the trial clock hasn't started ticking) so it can be swung into action when required so you don't have to wait while STAR installs in a virgin virtual PC image.

13. Investigate converting a physical PC that has a licenced copy of STAR in it into a virtual PC that can be run virtually on another PC. I suspect that STAR will know you have done this and throw an authentication tantrum.

14. Consider the legality and ethicality of these options. I think they are all OK ethically because Microsoft has discontinued / abandoned the software but others (especially web site moderators) may think differently.

To me it is like being lost in the desert and you come across an abandoned car full of food and water. You do what you have to do to survive.
Ken in Regina
Quite a list, Andrew. But, as usual, quite practical thinking.

I use Virtual Box. I've just created a new Windows 7 VM that I'll do a bit of testing in. I have S&T 2013 that I can install in it. It has a 14-day trial period so we'll see how that affects things when I play with dates in the VM.

By the way, I just bought a lightly used Microsoft Surface Pro 3 a few days ago and I'm in love! It's a great machine and lands right on the specs you described. It's 12" and has a truly enlightened aspect ratio. The screen is 2160 x 1440 for a 3:2 aspect ratio. That makes it a dream to use for virtually anything when compared to the restrictiveness of that silly HD (16:9) format which is only useful if you spend all your time watching HD movies.

It has an Intel i5, 4GB RAM, and 128GB SSD. It also has a microSD slot so you can add lots of storage if you are so inclined.

Mine included the type cover (mandatory) and the pen (a frivolity for me, your mileage may vary) and a nice carrying case, all for CAD$575. Highly recommended if you can find one.

I probably won't get around to testing in the new VM for a day or so but I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

...ken...
Ken in Regina
When I started setting up the Windows 7 VM there was something niggling in the back of my mind that sometime in the past I had promised myself I would never again set up a Windows 7 system. Ever. Again. .... Ever. But I wasn't certain and I did not recall the reason.

Now I know. I did make myself that promise. And there's a really really good reason.

Updates.

Hundreds and hundreds of updates.

It started with 148 Important updates and 101 Optional updates.

But many of the first set of updates are merely prerequisites for later updates. So immediately after the restart from the first set of updates there were another 51 Important updates and 37 Optional updates. And on and on....

But this time it was even worse.

Before I could even start doing the updates the Windows Update program had to be updated. But I didn't know that to begin with. It simply sat there "Searching" ... forever. Once I figured out it wasn't going to work it took another hour of searching and trying things to discover that it needed four updates to be manually applied just to get it working.

At which point the storm of updates started.

Hopefully it will be done sometime tomorrow.

...ken...
werdnanostaw
Once the updates are complete before you start messing with it you may wish to make a copy of the VM so you don't need to go through the update process again.
GoneNomad
I wonder how many updates will there be for a Windows 10 system, seven years after introduction (2022)?
tcassidy
But Win 10 does inclusive updates.

And it is really easy to download an up-to-date USB version of Win 10.

Terry
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by werdnanostaw
Once the updates are complete before you start messing with it you may wish to make a copy of the VM so you don't need to go through the update process again.
Yes. I cloned the VM immediately after the clean installation of Win 7 SP1, before I started the updates. Next I'll clone it after the updates stop.... If they ever stop.

...ken...
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcassidy
But Win 10 does inclusive updates.

Terry
What Terry said. They are effectively "rollups".

...ken...
tcassidy
Ken,

Didn't you use the other method that gives you a step up towards the latest Win 7. I can't remember the name of the site.

Terry
tcassidy
Oh yes. The Microsoft Update Catalog. Now I just have to remember what to search for!

Terry
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcassidy
Oh yes. The Microsoft Update Catalog. Now I just have to remember what to search for!

Terry
Yeah, it's the remembering part I have trouble with these days...

Of course I remember now that you mention it. Too late now.

...ken...
Ken in Regina
It's the Convenience Rollup. I thought that was one of the first ones I did. I did it manually when I was doing the manual updates to get Windows Update working, or at least I tried to but I guess I must have screwed up somehow.

...ken...
GoneNomad
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
Yeah, it's the remembering part I have trouble with these days...
...ken...
Ken, it's not so much that you're having trouble remembering as it is, way TOO MANY things to have to remember.

There's been a veritable explosion in the complexity of this stuff over the last decade, and it's mostly not for the better.
GoneNomad
After reading over this:
Frequently asked questions about how to activate Microsoft Games for Windows, Streets and Trips, and Mappoint

I contacted Microsoft by phone regarding their current support for new activations or transfers of Streets & Trips

For future reference, you can call their generic number, and if you keep telling their their IVR system you're calling about "something else" until you are asked if you're calling about volume licensing (to which you need to answer "YES" because if you say no, their IVR voice says "goodbye" & then hangs up), you will be connected to a human operator, who if you explain you are asking about Streets & Trips, will transfer you to the Streets & Trips support group.

After a Streets & Trips support rep. came on the line, I asked for their direct number,
and was told the Streets & Trips support direct line is:

866-834-8317

The S&T support rep. told me:
  • There is still limited support for S&T 2011 & 2013 only.
  • There is still support for new activations, via the activation server, or via telephone.
  • The S&T support rep. did not expect that new activations will no longer be allowed any time soon. (Corroboration of this is that Windows XP activations/transfers are still possible even though official support ended April 8, 2014)
  • Although Streets & Trips 2013 requires an internet connection (or a phone call) to activate, it will function without either one after that (UNlike some more recent Adobe software that requires an internet connection to check the license every time you launch it)

So, that's good news!

.....
Ken in Regina
@GoneNomad, I've copied your latest post out into a new thread and made it sticky. Good post!!

...ken...
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