ZeroShell Activation “Hack” / “Keygen”..

Important: The official free ZeroShell activation page is here…

The information below was an investigation into basing or bypassing the registration.

Update – 6th Feb 2015:
As pointed out by a comment on this article by a reader – the activation hack doesn’t actually get you anywhere. It might have enabled stuff like MRTG on the older versions, which already had the components installed but not on the newer versions.

Newer ZeroShell uses the activation codes to allow you to download updates and features. It looks like they also keep a record of activated MAC addresses on their server so making your local system think it is activated isn’t enough :(


Update – 1st Feb 2015:
Success… Although it requires you to modify the ISO contents (I’ve not tried the patch on the USB images).
Massive bonus… the activation seems like it won’t expire. The keys provided by the ZeroShell maintainer are only valid for a year.
I will post instructions when I can.. check on this page or post a comment if you are eager and it might make me bring that project forward.
In the mean time you might want to use some of the commands from this page to re-master the ZeroShell ISO. The trick / important change you need to make is to replace /bin/checkfeature with a blank file and mark it as executable.


I am also yet to discover what happens if you do a distro upgrade (for example 3.3.0 to 3.3.1), it potentially might un-do the modification.

Original post:

ZeroShell is a good linux based routing operating system which I prefer. It’s ability to make VPNs (especially VPNs over HTTP proxies!) possible with minimal fuss is great.  I also used to use it for VPN bonding back when I only had two slow ADSL lines.

Many of my customers use ZeroShell as VPN servers or fail over management.
I’ve also donated to the project multiple times.

The biggest problem with the system is “Activation”. Activation is by e-mail and is free (or essentially free, you are asked to donate or write a recommendation or add to the documentation). Several features require pointless activation codes to enable, the most stupid of which is the updates feature. If you want to install patches or security updates you need a feature activation code.

zeroshell activation annoying

This evening I searched for hacks… I’d rather have that option at my fingertips should I no longer be able to get activation codes from the author.

I found one post on the internet asking about hacks. This then linked to a dead website.

Luckily had a copy which I am going to mirror below.
I presume the wget file contains this:

rm /bin/checkfeature
echo "#!/bin/sh
mkdir -p /Database/var/register/system/\$1
" >/bin/checkfeature
chmod 755 /bin/checkfeature

and the installation instructions are in the “checkfeature patcher 1.0” section:

Update: Jan 2015 – I have a copy of the .tar.gz and will investigate if it still works and, if it does, post a mirror copy here. It does seem to do more than just the script above.

Update: 20th Jan 2015 – The file I’ve been sent doesn’t work on the current version of ZeroShell. One day I might see if anything can be done to make it work.

zeroshell mods

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7 Responses to ZeroShell Activation “Hack” / “Keygen”..

  1. Dani says:

    thank you for your article.
    Do you have the ” 0sh-mods-rsync-3.0.6-v1.0.tar.bz2 ” packet?
    Thank you.

  2. Sorry. No.. but some of the content (I presume, the script it writes to the drive / file it modifies) is in the post content as text.

  3. me says:

    Hello, please post instruction how to modifi ios file. Thanks :)

  4. sieuto says:

    i installed zs 3.3.1 and want to modify or delete checkfeature but it is read-only file system – so i cannot do vi or nano
    not working chmod 777 checkfeature
    have you have an idea how to solve this issue?
    maybe with mount?

  5. I modified the CD image then booted from it. I’m yet to work out more or better ways like editing an existing install.
    I have lots of other things to do in my life so this is very low priority.

  6. sieuto says:

    OK i understand that you are busy

    i just post my comment to improve this case ->

    i modified ZS 3.3.2 iso with ultraiso to empty /bin/checkfeature
    but when modifying with winiso or poweriso or magiciso – checksum error and cd won’t boot in vm

    then boot in a virtual machine – no error
    installed ZS 3.3.2 in vm – import my profile backup – success :
    The feature [LU080027a8041d] has been successfully activated.

    but when installing additionnal package – error :
    it seems that my machine ID 080027a8041d is checked on zeroshell website wether it is registered or not.
    So even if hack works on zeroshell locally, we cannot download updates.

    But when you paste the link in a browser, it downloads a file 40200.zsp (SQUID add-on) which size is only 1.8 mo instead of 130 mb :

    Checking for previous installed version of 40200:Add-On …
    No previous version installed

    Checking for incompatible packages for 40200:Add-On …
    No incompatible packages found

    Checking prerequisites for 40200:Add-On …
    All prerequisites satisfied

    Checking dependencies for 40200:Add-On …
    The package has no dependencies

    Downloading and extracting the package 40200:Add-On …
    => `-‘
    Resolving… tar: This does not look like a tar archive
    tar: Exiting with failure status due to previous errors
    Connecting to[]:80… connected.
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 200 OK
    Length: unspecified [text/html]

    0K 0.00 B/s

    Cannot write to `getpkg.php?ID=40200&HW=080027a8041d&SALT=’ (Broken pipe).

    >> ERROR: Downloading process has failed

    Good luck for you guys …

  7. sieuto, you are right. I’ve updated the post with this information. The checking of activated mac addresses at the server end renders “hacking the activation” pointless.

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