For my current project, I was looking for some way to generate a unique machine ID from the running computer's hardware so that I could use it for license purposes.
I looked everywhere, but I couldn't find any information as to how to do that. I did find a couple of third party controls that looked OK. One of them was TheScarms AppSentinel component (http://www.thescarms.com/AppSentinel/default.aspx), but unfortunately, that was written in VB6, and required distributing the VB6 runtime files. I didn't want to do that. The other was Ionworx' Machine ID component (http://www.ionworx.com/machineid.html). That looked OK, so I purchased the control. But, due to a lot of complications, I didn't get the license key from Ionworx until two weeks later.
Now, what does a person do in the meantime? I continued looking around the net, but with little luck. Until I happened to stumble over a page in another forum. A guy named Brian Hawley had done an absolutely brilliant piece of code. It was precisely what I was looking for - and simply too good to pass up.
I cannot take credit for the idea itself - all credit goes to Brian. But, I did convert the code from C#.NET to VB.NET (2005 - Framework 2.0), and I added some extra functionality. I hope Brian doesn't mind, because the code is simply too good not to share with others.
What the code does is that it gets the ID from the computer's CPU, BIOS, hard disk, motherboard, video card, and network adapter. It mixes it all together and generates an ID.
I added the possibility of selecting exactly what parts should be included in the test. You can use all, but I strongly recommend skipping the CPU ID, because it takes a really long time.
I also added the possibility of selecting the number of characters the result should consist of. More than 8 is really not necessary, because the number normally doesn't get any longer than that, but you might want to write your own routine to utilize the data and generate the machine ID from some other algorithm.
If you're interested, the original C# code is here (6.64 KB), and a C# demo program can be found here (18.2 KB).
The direct translation to VB.NET done by me can be found here (13.7 KB). It is identical to the C# code above.
And of course, the enhanced code and VB demo programs can be downloaded from the links at the top.
Using the code
You simply need to instantiate the class and set the required properties. Then, you query the
Value property - et voila!
Private fp As JCS.FingerPrint = New JCS.FingerPrint
fp.UseCpuID = False
fp.UseBiosID = True
fp.UseBaseID = True
fp.UseDiskID = True
fp.UseVideoID = True
fp.UseMacID = True
fp.ReturnLength = 8
MsgBox("Finger Print is: " & fp.Value)