Problematic licensing arrangements

I have a license for PGP Desktop software through work. When I’m away, I need to use Windows for work and whole disk encryption is essential when you’re travelling. I just returned from several months abroad, I re-installed my laptop including PGP Desktop 9.9 as usual and ran the licensing agent. There was an error message:

An error has occurred: bad parameters.

Super descriptive. I Googled it and learned a couple of things:

  • Symantec now owns the software and the only advice online is that a firewall is probably blocking the activation.
  • Rather than a firewall blocking the connection it appears that this version of PGP’s update and licensing server is no longer active.
  • The open source alternatives will accept my PGP keyring but not decrypt a virtual hard disk.
  • PGP 6.02i is still available free from this site. It doesn’t play nicely with 64 bit Windows and it can’t decrypt a drive from a newer version of PGP.
  • As it’s a corporate license, my employer didn’t tell us (or doesn’t know).

Fortunately, the licence is valid for Symantec PGP Desktop 10.2.1. Its just a shame you have to register to download the trial copy to enter your license agreement again.