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Hardkey or Softkey? What you need to know about InduSoft Web Studio License Keys

There are two types of license keys for the InduSoft Web Studio HMI SCADA software. Hardkeys and Softkeys. The type of key you’re given will depend on how you intend to use your SCADA software, and whether you want to develop applications, or merely run them in industrial machines.

Hardkey Vs. Softkey

Hardkey Pros: Hardkey advantages are the portability, as well as the access to easy licensing for integrators and support technicians who may need to move from location to location to offer support on the go. Another benefit of the hardkey is that if your machine goes down, and you have a redundant machine with InduSoft, you can easily remove the hardkey and put it into the other machine.

Hardkey Cons: Hardkeys can be damaged or lost (though they are under warranty for two years). In addition, a hardkey can be kicked out or removed from a machine while using the software, which may cause issues for users. A hardkey in a production may mistakenly be seen as a USB memory stick and “accidently” taken home.

Softkey Pros: A softkey cannot become broken or damaged, because it is not a physical item. The softkey can also be delivered more quickly to the user. Softkeys can be deployed remotely to embedded targets using the built-in Remote Management tool.

Softkey Cons: A softkey is embedded into the Windows registry, and is therefore not portable.


When do you need a hardkey or softkey?

Hardkey licenses are often not used for runtime licensing because they can be removed or kicked out of a computer. Runtime licenses are transferrable between computers as well. Often hardkeys are used for development. Softkeys, meanwhile are often used for runtime because they cannot be removed easily from the computer.

Since v6.1 SP6 a USB hardkey can be used on WindowsCE (and now on v7.0 with EmbeddedView) when the hardware platform supports it. Contact us for details.

Can you split the license for runtime and development?

Yes, a popular thing to do is to license the development environment on a hardkey and license the runtime using a softkey on a given PC.

Softkeys and Virtual Machines

A virtual machine can use a softkey if it generates the same MAC address each time. If the VM uses different MAC addresses each time, this will invalidate the license.

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