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Covertly Erase AutoCAD From Computer

Bill Tillman

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I'm working for a manufacturing firm which:

  1. Has one foot in the bankruptcy court and the other foot on a banana peel.
  2. Is using no less than 5 copies of AutoCAD which are unlicensed
  3. Is using no less than 3 copies of Revit which are also not licensed
  4. Is in deep do-do with the Tekla company for using unlicensed copies of their software in another division.


I'm convinced that I will be parting company with them within the next 30 days. In my time there I installed one and only one legal copy of AutoCAD 2023 which I legally own. I'm certain when I give my notice, they will require me to leave without touching my computer. Of course this will leave my copy of AutoCAD on their computer. So, when the time comes is there a quick, down and dirty method for invalidating the legitimate license on this desktop? I know I could prepare a batch file that will trash the ACAD.EXE file but I really want to be sure I don't leave them a quick way to repair it. My worries are there will be little time as we may all be required to leave the premises unexpectedly, so I need a quick mouse click and be out the door. Again, I could uninstall it but that takes several minutes of which I may not have when the time comes.


I really hate this kind of stuff, but the more I work in this industry, the more dirty tricks and not-so-honest people I run into.


BTW, could it be possible to achieve this by just changing my AutoDesk login password which would leave the copy on their computer but the next time ACAD is opened it will fail due to the invalid password. Like I said, I hate to even have to be planning this kind of exit, but I don't think I'll have much choice when the time comes.

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Sounds like the sooner your out the better, dont forget you could become implicit as a 3rd party knowing the unlicensed status of software being used, Autodesk are very agressive when it comes to this subject, ex Autocad reseller know of similar situation. 


I really dont know but can you install Autocad 2023 on a USB just grab it and go, all the exe stuff hopefully is on the stick so the PC version no longer works. My Acad is 4GB etc well within usb size. It may slow down but may still be worthwhile. When you install make sure click on Configure option been a while, that allows say drive selection. If I do a new in future it will go on D:.

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TBH I'd be uninstalling today - OK wait till you've got the money on payday, then saying goodbye, and looking for a new job.
I'd do it before the brown stuff hits the fan.


Other than that:

It's the licence info that you don't want them to have, the exe doesn't matter.

Without that info it's just another unlicenced Autocad (to go with the ones that they already have).


Altough there may be an issue there with the licence being associated with the computers hardware these days?
And if they make regular network backups, a good company does, then it may still be on a backup.


Can you write a batch file that will secure delete the licence info at a single click and save it to the desktop?

Of course that doesn't help if you turn up one day and can't get into the building.
Maybe delete the licence info before you go home each day and copy it back from a stick next day?


I'm not sure where the licence info is stored for 2023, they changed it, you'd need to look that up.
This might help (TLDR): https://www.augi.com/articles/detail/autodesk-licensing

Edited by nukecad
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Do a complete uninstall of all Autodesk and download and use the 30 day trial version before you leave. 


I believe you should just be able to logout and they would need the password for your account to use the license, you could easily test that.



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11 hours ago, Bill Tillman said:

In my time there I installed one and only one legal copy of AutoCAD 2023 which I legally own.

By "own" don't you mean "have a current license to use"? That's how it works these days, isn't it?


If the worst comes to pass, can't you revoke that license or change the password? That way your client can't use it. At any given point in time, the decision about whether that particular block of code can execute is up to Autodesk, right?

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Thanks all for the replies. This situation is one that calls for a fast response. If it goes down as usual, the day will come when the IT people come and ask the affected parties to please follow them into the conference room and no one will be allowed to touch their keyboard, monitor, mouse, etc... and then once informed of our termination we will be ceremoniously escorted to the building exits. Heck back in the late 1998 I worked for a place that had armed guards escort us outside. 


I was thinking the password change to my AutoDesk login will most likely do the trick. But that means once I'm summoned they will be observing that I don't touch the computer. I guess changing the password any time after I leave should do it and I could do that from my home. If anyone tries to run this copy of AutoCAD 2023, and they most certainly will, it will fail when the old password is passed to AutoDesk.


Someone asked if I meant I owned this copy of AutoCAD. I guess I should rephrase that to say I have a valid 1-year subscription that I paid for out of my own pocket for it. And if I'm not mistaken, this copy of AutoCAD logs into AutoDesk each time I run it. If the password passed is correct, I'm allowed to continue. If not, it prints up the License Manager error and exits.

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Sounds like a plan to change the password from home.


But even better would be to ask Autodesk to cancel the subscription/licence and issue a new licence, (or refund you and then you just get a new one).

Of course telling them exactly why you want them to do that should also start them investigating the company's use of unlicenced Acad.

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