In August 2013 I bought an Academic License, and I was given the option to choose either the Academic 2012-13 or the Academic 2013-14.
Using a Windows XP machine which is not supported by the more recent license, I was forced to acquire the Academic 2012-13, but this license issued a warning a few days ago, saying that it was about to expire at the end of the solar year 2013.
I was worried by this message, but I thought that the "academic" period 2012-13 was extended to cover usability of the Windows XP machines during the whole academic period 2013-14, which in my opinion is ending after Summer 2014!
This Sunday morning I tried to start the program at home, and I discovered that the license is effectively EXPIRED.
Worst of all, being a "student/academic" user, I am not entitled to have any direct support, and I am not allowed to see the results for SR/bugs related to "activation".
This is at least RIDICULOUS: you can have support about "activation failures" only if you have an "activated" service support...
Being unable to have any support, I tried to reinstall the software, hoping that the license problem could be solved, but this wasn't the case.
I also tried to start the Academic version 2011-12, which was previously installed. But it exhibited the same behaviour, and I uninstalled it. Actually I discovered that the activation transaction process of Academic 2012-13 was using the previous license number of Academic 2011-12 when it tried to connect to the server, and I had to change the number manually, using the "Change" feature in the "Add or Remove Program" of the Windows application wizard.
So I'm stucked to this warning message:
Despite the apologies reported in "Correct Answer by Nick Birkett-Smith on Jan 3, 2014 3:35 AM" in the forum thread for <Cannot load up SolidWorks as "This limited life version of SolidWorks has expired">, the problem still exists, and could have been foreseen by the SolidWorks team early before December 31st, 2013, just simply setting the system date into the future during the past year! What should have happened if the same approach had been taken for the Millenium Bug?
Why wasn't it possible to extend immediately the validity of the expired but legitimate serial numbers for at least a few weeks, with a grace period granted by the activation server, and waiting for the distribution of a software patch?
At this point, after having wasted quite a few hours of my time to analyze and try to solve unsuccessfully a problem caused by the SolidWorks Product Activation process, I have a few general considerations:
1) the SolidWorks application is probably the best CAD application, but it's better that you don't use it for a serious work, because it can be disabled automatically and unpredictably from the remote ativation server, and you do not have any clue or support to re-enable it (and it doesn't make any difference either if you are using a student license or a professional one, when you cannot "contact your reseller" VAR because it's off-duty or on a holiday...);
2) it's not necessary to contact a VAR, when the "correct answer" for the problem is fixed in the forum with "We are aware of this issue with the SDK version of SolidWorks" (are you aware because it was discovered but not published, or because it's not a bug but an intended feature specified for the application?);
3) student/academic works have only little consideration by the SolidWorks management, because users in the education sector are not granted any support, and they are not even entitled to download service packs or software updates for solved bugs: they are just used as silent beta test, forced to change every year the installed application software (how will I get the patch for the issue in the SDK, as soon as available?);
4) there is an evident misunderstanding for the meaning of "academic" vs. "solar", referred to the legal value for a contractual year interval;
5) the application software is totally dependent for its functionality from an on-line connection to the "product activation server", which is not exactly a robust implementation for a tool dedicated to a hard working (...not only studying) arena, which will let me suspect that it's unreliable and unfit for the future tasks, because it may suffer catastrofically for a malfunction of the Internet connection, which is not exactly available 100% of the time;
6) if you are not a "commercial" user, if you're a student, or a tutor/parent trying to help a student, if you have an obsolete machine or an obsolete operating system and you don't want to change it soon, it's better that you don't use SolidWorks, because you won't be able to complete your task with your system in the assigned timeframe.
If at the end I buy a commercial license, shall I be entitled to a "perpetual duration" with the HW and SW configuration that I currently have, or for any arguable reason, including the detection of an "obsolete" operating system like Windows XP, the "activation server" will decide, after just a while, to shut it down? How many re-activation will be necessary in the future years?
I'm sorry to post this flaming message here, but I searched the whole My.SolidWorks site, and in the "One Place To Connect, Discover and Share Everything SolidWorks" there is not a single place with a contact address to send feedback about the user experiences, or to ask clarifications about the policy adopted for the planned obsolescence!
Thank you for your support!