5 Ways to Extend Trial Periods of Shareware Software

3. Time Stopper

Time Stopper is a program that behaves in a similar way to RunAsDate and fools the expired application into thinking it’s still within the trial period. This tool does differ slightly though because you don’t have the option to directly run the expired program from Time Stopper, but instead it is designed specifically to run from a desktop shortcut with the new time and date injected when you run the program from the shortcut.

Time Stopper

Simply run Time Stopper and locate the trial software executable with the Browse button. Choose the new time and date from the pop-out calender, and then give the shortcut icon a name and finish by clicking the create button. Like Nirsoft RunAsDate, this tool will work on some shareware programs and not others but is easy enough to try.

Download Time Stopper


4. Using a Software Installation Monitor

This method may not seem that obvious at first, but actually can work quite well in many circumstances. The theory is simple in that you use a standard piece of installation monitor software which watches the files and registry entries that a program creates when it installs, and then can completely uninstall the software including everything that doesn’t get removed by the standard uninstaller. This often has the effect of also removing registry entries shareware might leave behind to watch its trial expiry status.

As an example, this can be achieved for the Internet Download Manager shareware program when its 30 day trial expires. We happen to know that the trial status of IDM is stored in the registry key “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\CLSID\{07999AC3-058B-40BF-984F-69EB1E554CA7}”, but IDM doesn’t remove this key when you uninstall through its own uninstaller and the time/date trick doesn’t work. Therefore once the trial period expires, the information remains on your computer and it will stay expired even if you re-install the program again in future.

Complete Uninstall

To demonstrate, we installed Comodo Programs Manager which is one of the better installation monitor’s around, and let it automatically monitor the install of IDM. Then once the trial period for IDM has expired, we simply select it for a “Complete Uninstall” in Comodo Programs Manager. After the standard uninstaller has finished, Programs Manager will show the extra files and registry entries that have been left behind. Expand the Registry tree and looking at the keys, we can see the IDM key which controls the trial period status is listed for removal. Continue the removal and if you re-install Internet Download Manager, its trial status will be reset to 30 days.

registry key left intact after uninstallation

This method is obviously not foolproof but if you can install the trial software for the first time after installing the installation monitor, and the trial information is kept in the registry or a data file, one of these programs has a chance of picking it up and removing it which will reset the trial period.


5. Registry Trash Keys Finder

This might be a better solution these days because it is up-to-date. Unlike the Trial-Reset program which was last updated more than 2 years ago, it may not work on shareware that uses a newer version protector. Although Registry Trash Keys Finder is free, there are some limitations where some of the protection keys are not shown. The full version of Registry Trash Keys Finder is only available after donating to the author of this tool and it removes the limit.

Registry Trash Keys Finder Free

As you can see at the screenshot above, there are 3 registry keys that shows {FREEWARE-VERSION-CAN’T-SHOW-THIS-KEY} for the Armadillo protector which cannot be seen nor deleted. We wanted to test the full version so badly that we donated to get it. From the “what’s new” area, we read that they’ve recently added a search routine for the latest Alawar.com games keys so we decided to put Alawar games to the test.

We downloaded a game from Alawar called Sticky Linky and played the whole free 60 minutes. Once the 60 minutes free play time is up, it shows 0 minutes game time left and we can no longer play the game until we purchase the game.

0 minutes game time left

We ran Registry Trash Keys Finder full version and Alawar came up in the search results.

Registry Trash Keys Finder Full version

The Alawar key is deleted and running Sticky Linky now gives us another 60 minutes of free game time!

Alawar Play for Free

The Registry Trash Keys Finder full version has successfully extended the trial period of a game and it should also work for other software too. Other than just resetting the trial period, it also acts as a registry cleaner/optimizer where it detects obsolete registry keys of uninstall/app paths/SharedDLLs/Installer/MUICache/Help, unused file extensions, empty CLSID and TypeLib key, invalid name of CLSID and many more.

Download Registry Trash Keys Finder

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