Disable and Remove Protexis Licensing Service

Extracting Protexis

Extracting Protexis

WTF is Protexis Licensing Service?

I was doing my regular semi-annual bi-weekly checkup of my computer today – looking through all the things that I have running, trying to find out which ones I need, which ones I don’t need, which ones Microsoft put there without adequate documentation, which ones I might need, which ones might be malware unless I installed them, etc… and I found the Protexis Licensing Service.  So if you’ve arrived here by searching for Protexis and no nothing about it except that it is a licensing service, then you’re not alone.  If you’re like me, you don’t recall intentionally downloading and installing the cool Licensing System called Protexis, and you don’t remember using it for anything specific… in fact, you don’t even remember anything asking you to install it.  It’s because if you’ve ever installed a Corel Product before finding out that it sucked, you probably uninstalled the Corel product and didn’t notice that it installed it’s own licensing service.  That’s because, like many applications, it wasn’t nice enough to tell you about the garbage it was installing along with what you wanted to install.  Have no fear however, we can get rid of this little bugger and stop it from collecting information on us and sending it to big brother.  In fact, even if you didn’t uninstall the Corel product, you can disable the service until you are actually using the software.  In any case, it’s probably not doing you any good, and it could be doing you some harm, so let’s go over what it is and what to do about it.

The Bottom Line about Protexis

The Protexis licensing service is most likely showing up in your system as PSIService – still no more descriptive than Protexis, I know.  PSIService is part of Protexis copy protection DRM (digital rights management) and license management software.  Its purpose is to insure a computer is licensed to use the software installed.  This Protexis licensing service is included as part of a variety of software packages that use this type of license distribution and enforcement.  So if you have the PSI service on your computer, it was installed with another program such as Corel Paint Shop Pro or Corel Draw.  The service gathers information on your system and software (very much like spyware) to verify that you are using a genuine version of the program.  Technically, it’s not considered spyware, but technically, it never asked for your permission to install itself either.  The good news is that, while the software uses this service for licensing, it doesn’t usually require it for the software to be installed and used.  It’s a strange way of enforcing a license, I know, but I didn’t design it – I just found it on my computer.  And for a service that doesn’t seem to do anything, the Protexis Licensing service can be a little intrusive.

Why Get Rid of it?

The service can be a drag on system resources and slow down your boot time.  However, removing it if you are using software that relies on it will result in warnings of running non-licensed version of software.  So before you remove it completely, make sure you don’t have software that you use regularly, that depends on this service.  Even if you do and you don’t mind it telling you that it’s not genuine, you can uninstall the service and still run the software (yes, stupid).  For most users, that means Corel Products.  However, if you have uninstalled a Corel product, it doesn’t usually uninstall the Protexis Licensing service.  Why it doesn’t is anybody’s guess.  In other words, if you had a Corel Product some time between when you originally setup your computer and now, and you’ve uninstalled it since then, chances are the Protexis Licensing Services is still on your computer.  In this case, it’s clear that there is no reason not to get rid of it, so don’t even think about it – just do it.  If you aren’t sure if you have software that still uses Protexis Licensing, then you can remove the service, and if you find that a certain piece of software gives you a problem after that, you should only have to repair or reinstall that software to get the Protexis Licensing service installed again.  So there is very little risk in removing it.

How to Get Rid of it

Getting rid of Protexis is pretty easy.  There is more than one version of Protexis Licensing, and the way you remove each of them is very slightly different – actually, removing it completely is the same for both, but if you only want to disable it temporarily, then you will want to check for both Version 1 of Protexis and Version 2 of Protexis.  It is possible to have both versions of Protexis Licensing on your computer at the same time, so to get the full benefit of disabling it, make sure you disable both if they are present.

If you are certain that no applications using PSIService are still installed on your system, and this service is still running, you can remove it manually by following these instructions:

 

  1. Remove the following registry entry:[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesProtexisLicensing]
  2. Reboot your computer.
  3. Delete the following files:
    %windir%System32PSIService.exe
    %windir%System32PSIKey.exe

 

If you want to keep the service installed, but would like to keep it on standby for use only when running software that uses it, you can use the following process to keep it off until you need it.

These instructions are slightly different depending on whether the licensing service is version 1 or version 2.

 Protexis Licensing Service Version 1

  1. Open Services either from the control panel or clicking on the start menu and typing services.msc and pressing enter.
  2. Locate ProtexisLicensing or Protexis Licensing service.
  3. Stop the service and then set the Startup Type to Disabled.
  4. Bowse to %SystemDrive%WindowsSystem32 folder.
  5. Copy original PSIKey.dll to program folder of application that relies on Protexis, e.g. %SystemDrive%Program FilesCorelCorel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI.
  6. Rename PsiClient.dll to PsiClient.bak, or simply delete it.
  7. Rename PSIKey.dll to PsiClient.dll
  8.  Rename PSIService.exe to PSIService.bak, or simply delete it.

Protexis Licensing Service Version 2

If you  Protexis DRM softare installed on your system is of version 2, follow these steps instead:

  1. Open Services either from the control panel or clicking on the start menu and typing services.msc and pressing enter.
  2. Locate Protexis Licensing V2 service. Stop the service and then set the Startup Type to Disabled.
  3. Bowse to %SystemDrive%Program FilesCommon FilesProtexisLicense Service folder.
  4. Copy original PSIKey_2.dll to program folder of application that relies on Protexis, e.g. %SystemDrive%Program FilesCorelCorel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2.
  5. Rename PsiClient.dll to PsiClient.bak, or simply delete it.
  6. Rename PSIKey_2.dll to PsiClient.dll
  7. Rename PSIService_2.exe to PSIService_2.bak, or simply delete it.

 

  • Kanomi

    Thanks for the info. I was thinking, “I never installed any Corel products, why would I install a Corel product?” and then, “Some other fiendish program must have done it, I wonder who.” Apparently it is pre-installed on some Sony Vaio laptops. Totally unacceptable and profoundly useless.

  • Kanomi

    Thanks for the info. I was thinking, “I never installed any Corel products, why would I install a Corel product?” and then, “Some other fiendish program must have done it, I wonder who.” Apparently it is pre-installed on some Sony Vaio laptops. Totally unacceptable and profoundly useless.

  • It appears here on my PC, but I don’t have any Corel program, just Adobe, where it can possibly be?

    • It will still be in the same place in the registry. The information is in the article.