It usually doesn’t happen very often that one has to reinstall OS X from scratch, but when you do, have you ever wondered where in the world you put those licenses for your digitally purchased software?
With LicenseKeeper, an application that is specially designed to help you in these cases, storing and retrieving license information becomes painless. Today we’ll be taking an in-depth look at what LicenseKeeper is capable of, and whether it’s right for you.
Why Use a Dedicated App Like LicenseKeeper?
The short answer would be: convenience. LicenseKeeper offers a clean, simple interface that makes the tedious task of keeping track of your licenses easy. You can store all the information – serial keys, license files, even attachments – in one place and don’t have to go email hunting or dive through print-outs anymore.
It may not sound like such a big deal in itself, but everyone who has needed to reinstall an operating system or set up a new machine will understand how much time and nerves can be saved by just opening one application and having everything at your fingertips.
Once installed, you need to get your licensed apps into LicenseKeeper. There are multiple ways to achieve that: you can import applications by manually selecting them or by just dragging and dropping them onto the LicenseKeeper window. You can also manually enter information for an application if you don’t have it currently installed:
Conveniently, LicenseKeeper fetches the application icon and version automatically. The latter is especially useful if there are updates to your apps that require you to have a certain version to be eligible for a free update. If you don’t have an app currently installed or don’t know where to find the version information, LicenseKeeper can help you out with that.
Importing License Information
The functionality of importing licenses automatically from emails is very convenient and surprisingly simple to use. You can finally skip all the copy and pasting or even manual typing of serial information. All you have to do is to find the one email that contains your license information and select it in your email client – LicenseKeeper supports Apple Mail, Entourage and PowerMail.
Once you have the email itself selected – really, just the email, no text within the email – switch over to LicenseKeeper, make sure the correct app is highlighted, and click the “Attach Email” button. LicenseKeeper scans the email for you and automatically extracts the serial number and inserts it into the appropriate field. Very sweet!
If you have purchased bundles, for example through MacHeist or other sites, and your serials arrive all in one single email, LicenseKeeper will select the first serial it reads.
Apart from this option, you can also import license information from other sources (including Yojimbo), as long as you can export it from there in a tab-delimited or comma-separated format. As a long-time 1Password user I tried to export my information from there, but failed to provide LicenseKeeper with a format it could read properly.
When importing information by email, LicenseKeeper not only adds the serial information, but it also updates your registration information, the publisher data and the purchase info. Updating means that if the email address you used when buying an app is different from the email that is stored in your address book, LicenseKeeper will automatically add the correct one in the registration information.
It does not automatically pull the price for the app, that you have to add yourself. Very welcome is the option to change the currency – so if you’ve purchased in Euros, you are no longer forced to have the $ sign sitting in front of the price.
Some application provide a dedicated license file, which will unlock the app. You can store this file as well in LicenseKeeper. Either use the “Attach Document” option or just drag and drop the file into the attachments area. You can attach pretty much any document type you like; text, PDF, or even the application itself as a DMG or ZIP file.
All the information is stored in a library file in your Application Support folder in your Library (~/Library/Application Support/LicenseKeeper). When you right click the library file and select “Show package contents” you can access the attachments this way as well.
If you are looking for a dedicated software license management app, then LicenseKeeper is definitely worth a look. It’s very easy to use and focuses on what it promises to do without burdening you or your system with too many additional options.
Especially convenient is the option to store files as attachments alongside the serial information. This way, you could theoretically keep your software and the licenses all in one place.
The downside? For an extra $20, you could pick up 1Password. This is able to handle storing your software serial codes, as well as automatically dealing with all your online passwords. Certainly worth considering if you don’t mind spending a little more.