How to recover your legally purchased license after a VeloSSD crash & re-activate without internet access
VeloSSD by itself appears to be stable. However, it's very sensitive to external factors such as minor filesystem corruption. Although Chkdsk can easily repair most damage, VeloSSD sometimes responds by crashing, leaving your system unbootable.
Making your system bootable again
The first step is to offline-deactivate VeloSSD. EliteBytes Support published a procedure for that:
The procedure described by Elitebytes Support works for both Windows 7 and 8.1. On top of the Elibytes procedure I advise to disconnect all disks, except the one you need to repair. Either disconnect the SATA cables or disable the SATA slot(s) in the BIOS. After repairing you can re-connect your disks. This is a safety precaution: it prevents bootrec /fixboot from fixing the wrong disk. Although this by itself is rarely fatal, it will prevent VeloSSD from de-activating. Also, the Windows recovery disk often leaves you on the Z: drive, making it hard to find the offline registry files. These can be found on the C: drive, which is the only one left after disconnecting all other disks. If you don't/can't disconnect your disks, you'll have to figure out yourself which drive letter to use. Just follow EliteBytes' instructions and it will work, making your system bootable again (unless there is more, VeloSSD-unrelated damage).
Although I haven't tried, I guess it might also work for VeloRAM and MaxVeloSSD. Just substitute the correct name of the product you need to deactivate. For example: anywhere it reads "VeloSSD", you substitute "MaxVeloSSD" or "VeloRAM" both in the EliteBytes document and in my manual below.
Saving your license before re-installing
Once your system boots again, you need to uninstall VeloSSD and re-install it later on.
- Before doing anything else, FIRST make a backup copy of your license file (C:\Program Data\VeloSSD\VeloSSD.config). Copy it to a safe place.
- Run Chkdsk. If errors show up, run Chkdsk /f and reboot. Windows will repair your disk.
- Uninstall VeloSSD the normal way via Windows' Programs and Features. Reboot! This will remove any drivers left.
Re-installing and offline re-licensing your product
- Install VeloSSD. Use the install key, NOT your license key. You can get the install key from the Elitebytes.com site.
- After installing, reboot. You now have the Trial version back. Expired or not, makes no difference.
- Now shut down the VeloSSD Tray utility, if running. You must do this, or re-licensing will not work.
- Copy your saved license file (VeloSSD.config) back to its original location (C:\Program Data\VeloSSD). Overwrite the existing .config file.
- Shutdown and re-connect all disks. Re-connect all cables or enable all SATA slots in the BIOS again.
- Restart. VeloSSD is now fully licensed again with your original license code; no internet activation is necessary.
Offline re-licensing only works if you apply your own VeloSSD.config file. This file was created when you first activated your legally purchased license via the internet. Once created, it holds your license and you no longer need internet re-activation. This only works if you re-install VeloSSD to its original disk on the original machine. Trying to move your license to another machine will definitely not work. You still need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to do that. However, being able to re-install and offline re-license YOUR legally purchased license is a big step forward. Should Elitebytes go out of business in the future, all is not lost. You can always recover! Well at least if you still use the original hardware, that is.
Re-licensing after an update
It's obvious that re-licensing via the internet after an update can go wrong in certain cases. Copying back your saved license file will solve the problem, unless Elitebytes changes the licensing mechanism. Using the method above, you can simply re-license and/or go back to your previous version. Note that Elitebytes may block this anytime, so make sure your recovery set consists of three items: 1) The current install file; 2) Your license file; 3) The install key for your install file. Make sure those three items match and re-create your set after each successful update. Should the licensing mechanism have changed and a new version rejects your license, it will automatically default to the trial license (which will have expired by then). You will still need to re-activate online, then.
"Cannot install driver"
This common problem is caused by left-over locked registry keys. The uninstaller is a bit sloppy and forgets to remove certain items, like the locked driver key and the "Run" key. This can be solved by following Elitebyte's procedure. Simply remove all registry keys. De-activate, uninstall, re-install, re-license.
Hopefully Elitebytes will agree that being able to independently recover from disaster is not only a right, but also a necessity. I need to keep my system going at all times an I can only hope that Elitebytes themselves will provide a better, more straightforward way to quickly recover.