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Boot managers that conflict with N3 security

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:43 pm
by NothanUmber
Hello Notion supportteam,

please note that this mail was also posted to the support forums in order to alert people with special bootloaders or partition setups to pay attention and at least make a full backup before installing Notion 3.

I am using the "Bootit Next Generation" Bootloader ( ... ration.htm) in order to be able to maintain and backup various operating systems on my pc (Vista64, WinXP, different Linux distributions etc.).

Bootit NG uses a special partition at the end of the partition table of the first harddrive to store it's application data. Now it seems to me as if the Notion3 copy protection performs some modifications to the partition table: Each time I start Notion 3 my PC does not boot anymore as the Bootmanager can't find it's data partition. Fortunately I have the Bootmanager on a bootable CD so I was able to restore it again. This is absolutely reproducable, if I do not start Notion between starting and shutting down the PC then it boots next time, if I started Notion3 in between the PC does not boot anymore.

Please try to verify this and consider it as very serious, if this really turns out to be a side effect of the Notion3 copy protection.
Probably it would be good to inform all your customers to be extremely careful with installing Notion 3 on computers with custom bootloaders or special partition setups in that case, until a fix is available.


Re: can the N3 copyprotection make a PC unbootable?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:52 am
by chon
I'm considering getting Notion, but the above post has worried me, because the PC I would put Notion on has two WXP partitions - one for music/audio, and one for other stuff.

I use a very basic way of switching between the two partitions. The PC will boot into the previously-booted partition until (from within WXP) I run a utility ("PQBoot") and then restart the PC. The utility changes which partition is set as the active one (nothing else AFAIK).

Can the mods confirm that Notion's copy protection wouldn't prevent a PC booting when multi-booting is implemented in this very basic way?

Re: can the N3 copyprotection make a PC unbootable?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:59 pm
by astinov
Hello everyone,

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles, I just wanted to address those concerns.
I am currently running Windows XP, Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64 all on separate partitions and all running NOTION3 without a problem. I do not use any Boot Manager or any other 3rd party software. I used Partition Magic or the built in partition tool to separate those partitions and then simply installed the OS.

Thus, I can confirm that NOTION3 can work just fine on a partitioned drive with multiple OS's. Unfortunately, I'm sure there will be software out there that would cause problems. It is entirely possible that Bootit NG does not play well with Nalpeiron (copy protection), however, if you simply partition your drive and install a different OS there should be no problem running NOTION3 on this machine.


Lubo Astinov

Re: can the N3 copyprotection make a PC unbootable

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:18 pm
by NothanUmber
Hello Lubo, thanks for your feedback!

I had a look at the homepage of the copy protection producer and found this statement:

"[...]However, in cases where the user tries to make a full copy of a drive including the Master Boot record (MBR) we have developed a further way to prevent copying.[...]"

This sentence implies that the Notion 3 copy protection really modifies the Master Boot Record of the harddisk.

Sorry, a notation software is NOT intended to do anything with the MBR, especially if it obviously does not seem to have the slightest clue what it is destroying in the process.

I consider a "copy protection solution" like that as malware that should not be allowed to be sold (to you) or distributed (to us).

If the situation does not change I'll have to ask for a refund. It's a pity, such a nice piece of software does not deserve such an intrusive "usage prevention system".


Re: Boot managers that conflict with N3 security

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:02 pm
by astinov
Hello NothanUmber,

I'm sorry to hear you are disappointed with the fact that Bootit NG and Nalpeiron which is used in NOTION do not work well together. I understand that it must be frustrating for you to not be able to use your software of choice. However, I edited the title of your post to more accurately represent the problem that you are having, rather than have a general title that may lead to much confusion into less technically savvy users.

I'd like to point out again, that NOTION3 can run fine on multiple partitions as I am running it right now on 3 operating systems residing on a single machine both 64 bit and 32 bit. I am not sure of the details, but I think Nalpeiron may use the MBR to protect from unauthorized cloning of a hard-drive, thus preventing "ghosting" of licenses. Whether or not this is the best solution is irrelevant to this forum and again, I'm not really sure if this is what is happening.

Really, people in here are coming in to find out how best to use NOTION3 and do not need to be engaged in a technical argument over what needs to be the copy protection of choice. I'd like to keep the forum in that direction. I would love to help you reach a goal, in a constructive manner. Please pm me for further discussions on this.

Let's keep this constructive and trying to reach for a solution.


Lubo Astinov

Re: Boot managers that conflict with N3 security

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:50 am
by NothanUmber
Hello Lubo,

I really try to be constructive here.

"Really, people [...] do not need to be engaged in a technical argument over what needs to be the copy protection of choice."

I think this misses the point here. I really don't care which copy protection is "best", I just pointed out that your current one is destroying certain bootloaders in a way that the computer does not boot any more. And imo this information IS important especially to your "less technically savvy users" as those won't be able to get their computer working on their own when the MBR was destroyed.
I think it is better for your company if people with non-standard bootloaders are careful with installing Notion beforehand instead of starting a lawsuit after they were not able to access their computer during an important contract work because they might consider further distribution of the software in it's current state with full knowledge of the "unfortunate side effects" on your side as computer sabotage.

I will write a private mail to you after work.

Thanks for your understanding,