Many game companies think that it is a good idea to limit the number of installations of their games on customer computers.
This limit ranges between 3 and 5 installations usually, and if the limit is reached, the game cannot be installed anymore. This procedure is part of copy protection schemes that are supposed to block unrighteous installations of the games.
Companies seem to cling to those schemes although it has been proven that they are not helping fight software piracy. Games are usually available without copy protection on the Internet before or soon after they are released.
This essentially means that someone downloading those games does not have to cope with installation limits and other copy protection schemes like CD checks, while the people who bought the game do.
It was common in the past that customers had to call the game company or publisher if they reached a game's installation limit in order to have it reset so that they could install the game again.
Update: The tools cover older EA games only. Most recent games for which tools are provided date back six or more years at the time of writing (June 2017)
EA, a company that made, and is making, heavy use of such copy protection schemes, has released a portable tool for Windows systems called EA De-Authorization Management Tool which will automatically scan a computer system for selected EA games, and notifes the user about the number of authorizations available.
The computer software program will recognize many of the latest games that have been released by EA. Among them Crysis Warhead, Read Alert 3, Fifa Manager 09, Fifa Soccer 09 and Mass Effect. A website is opened after the scan the lists the scan results.
The results include links to de-authorization tools for supported EA games if they have been found on the computer system. Downloading and running those tools on your system will then allow you to free up a slot so that the game can be installed again.
The de-authorization management tools have their uses, even though they cover only old games and not new releases. The core reason for that is that users who play these older games may use them just as they have done six or more years ago.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.