If you wonder how softwares protect themselves against getting copied, the secret is in their DLL files. That is where all the protection goes. With the optimal tools and techniques, you will be able to understand how programs work, not to mention learning more about copy protection. More importantly, such programs can be changed, so they will never have to be registered or purchased. All these things imply modifying DLL files. So, how do you do it?
Educate yourself a little
From many points of view, education is critical when learning how to crack software by modifying DLL files. You do not have to go to university or take a comprehensive course that will take years though. Instead, you have to learn how assembly programming works.
Anyone who cracks software is experienced with assembly programming – start with the basics and move on as you advance. Learn how to crack small programs before moving on to more comprehensive softwares.
Assembly is an entry level programming language – there is nothing too fancy about it, so it is easy to learn. It comes from machine language. Plus, assembly language is specific to the type of operating system and computer one might use. Most of it is done in binary and hexadecimal.
Since many programs are limited on Windows operating systems, you will need to become familiar with a program specifically designed for your computer. Fortunately, there are lots of materials available to learn over the Internet.
Get some tools
You cannot just open a DLL file with Notepad or other similar program and expect to have access to everything. Instead, you will need specialized tools for this operation – some of them are free of charge, while others are premium.
There are a few tools that dominate the market, yet most of them come with the same basics. Ideally, you should find a software disassembler. The primary goal is to split programs apart. You will also need a good text editor – something different than the classic and basic Notepad.
Perform a software analysis
To find out more about the software you want to crack, you will need to open the respective file with the tool you choose. The program will show you all the DLL files the respective program needs when it starts up.
In other words, every program out there calls on some specific functions. They vary widely based on what the program is about. However, some of them are common and can affect the limited time trial or demo version.
Locate the counter feature
This is the function you need to find in order to crack the program. Copy protection works in different ways, but most software developers rely on a timer. Basically, you can use the program for a specific period of time.
Once this timer is over, the program can no longer be used and you will have to purchase or register it. This is what the free trial is about. Locating this function is mandatory, as this is what you have to work on. Once you find it, the little education on assembly programming will tell you how to bypass it.
Now, the free trial version is not the only way to access a software. Some other developers rely on different types of protection. You need to understand what limits the software, then find the respective function in DLL files.
At first, you might struggle a little. With experience, you will go through more and more situations, the cracking further software will become a piece of cake. Based on how the software is protected, you might need some more research.
Break the counter
Since the counter is the most common way to prevent software from working for long periods of time, setting a breakpoint for it is the way to go. Once you find this function, you must isolate it. Each tool uses different ways to break it.
As you encounter it, you will notice that most programs allow selecting it and breaking it. This way, you can take a look at the specific code occurring when the respective time is reached by the user – you will understand how the software reacts when the timer is over.
Alter the counter code
This is the part where you will use all your experience in assembly programming. You have the code for the counter function and you know where it is. You can now alter that code. You cannot eliminate it – or at least not with basic experience in assembly programming.
Instead, alter it and ensure the respective software will never reach that point. In other words, the timer should go on forever – it will never reach the moment when the software is shut. There are more ways to do it though.
For instance, you could simply alter the code to ensure the counter will never be able to reach the limit. Break it down, come up with an impossible limit and use the software for as long as you wish. You can also bypass it – simply alter the code to jump over it. This second option requires a bit more experience.
The easy way
If learning assembly programming and getting headaches with codes is not really a thing for you, you can also try to find altered DLL files over the Internet – already modified for the cracking to occur, without you having to do anything.
It is highly recommended to avoid getting DLL files from random sources, such as looking for the file over the Internet and downloading it from an unknown source. You could expose yourself to malicious scripts.
In conclusion, this is how software usually gets cracked. DLL files are altered to ensure the trial will never run out. Further modifications might be required for more sophisticated programs. But generally speaking, you can reach quite a lot by modifying DLL files or downloading already modified DLL files from trustworthy sources. Downloading the file is the quicker option, but assembly programming could help in the future.