A conundrum - about new versions and new licences, as well as a new computer

I realise that this is probably not the date for asking such a complicated situation (sorry Daniel !). but D4 has brought to light a few problems.

Let me explain. I have a copy of D 3.5 Pro on my computer, and it is on a elicenser. However, it was only yesterday (11th Jan) that I found out that the system requirements for D3.5 include an i5 processor. My computer has an i3 processor, and this may explain why I sometimes get problems with playing back music - it is too much for the processor to manage.

I have yet to find out the spec for Dorico 4, but it is bound to be i5 , i7 or four core processor. This means a new computer, which I will be able to buy in a month or two, so I will have to carry on with the present situation.

When I want to go to D4 on my new computer, will I have to install D3.5 first, as I will be thinking of an upgrade, not a new install (price !).? Will this affect my present computer ? Will I then have two licences, one on the new computer for D4, and the existing licence on my present computer ?

Any suggestions/advice would be most welcome : I did not see this problem coming !

It says “i5 recommended”, but some modern i3 CPUs are more powerful than older i5s. (It’s really just an Intel marketing badge, rather than an indication of any technical ability.)

I doubt that you’ll need 3.5 installed – after all, new customers will be able to install D4. But obivously to get the upgrade pricing, you’ll need a valid 3.5 licence.

It shouldn’t be too complicated, I would hope! You need to redeem the Download Access Code on the computer on which your existing license is found. So if you’re using the Soft-eLicenser, you can buy the update now (or whenever you’re ready, of course) and use Steinberg Download Assistant to activate your update. You don’t need to actually download and install Dorico 4 at that point if you don’t want to, but you can.

Dorico 4 is a bit more RAM-hungry than Dorico 3.5 but otherwise you should find that it runs about as well (or as badly) on your current computer, so if you’re interested to try it out, you don’t have anything too much to lose. And you should be able to mitigate the weakness of your CPU a bit by using a larger buffer size in Device Setup.

You have already had some excellent guidance from @benwiggy and @dspreadbury. I wanted to add some details on the upgrade process from a user perspective.

When you buy your Dorico 4 Pro upgrade, you get a Download Access Code. When you redeem that code through Steinberg Download Assistant, eLicenser Control Center ‘upgrades’ your existing Dorico to a “not upgradable” licence for the same version, which allows you to continue using eLicenser versions of Dorico, but cannot be upgraded again. After the eLicenser transaction has taken place, you can activate Dorico 4 via Steinberg Licensing. You do not need to have Dorico 3.5 installed to upgrade - merely have the eLicenser licence for 3.5 on your system.

The easiest way ahead is to buy the upgrade and activate it on your existing computer. If Dorico 4 works acceptably, great - you can defer a hardware upgrade. If you want to upgrade to a new computer, you can have both computers activated via Steinberg Licensing. If you stop using Steinberg Licensing software on your old computer, deactivate the licenses to free up the activations.

Thank you David, I can now continue with all options clearly given.


I apologize if I do not understand correctly, but the new access code must still be registered in the e licenser? Or I can bypass this step and activate Dorico 4.0 without using the elicenser (since in theory it is not needed for the 4.0 version).

You have to use your eLicenser license one last time to update to Dorico 4. That’s how the system knows you are eligible for the update pricing.


The eLicenser stage is for those who are upgrading from a previous version. It marks the eLicenser licence as ‘not upgradable’. Until you have completed that step, you won’t be able to use your new Dorico 4 upgrade licence. It is a one-time thing - from then on, you are on Steinberg Licensing.

If you buy Dorico 4 outright or activate a Dorico 4 SE licence, you simply get a dialog saying you are authorised to use the application - eLicenser is not involved.

I have spent some time trying to go from 3.5 to 4, but the Steinberg Download Assistant does not give me the download access code. I have purchased the upgrade, but can find no trace or reference to it anywhere.

I did not realise just how opaque the upgrading would be. Sorry to ask for help again.

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Sorry to hear that you’ve found the process less than clear, Bill! You should have received an email from the Steinberg online shop containing your Download Access Code. The email might look like a regular purchase receipt, but it will have the Download Access Code included in there.

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Yep, I have the DAC, but I cannot use the Download Assistant to enter it. All seems more clear up to this point, but I am asked which program I should use to connect to the internet - most confusing. !

(I am sure you will be so pleased when today has finally finished, and all are connected/updated etc. )


That’s interesting. Is the computer you’re using to use the forum here the same one that you use with Dorico? If so, I guess it’s connected to the internet, so you should be able to run Steinberg Download Assistant. Maybe it would be worth reinstalling the latest version of Steinberg Download Assistant from here, to see if that helps.

Thanks @David_W for that very clear and concise explanation of the upgrade process. Having a MacBook Pro that’s too old to run D4 but happy enough with 3.5, and a MacPro that will run D4 I’m now not concerned about having my 3.5 licence revoked! Not sure if the process has been explained as clearly on Steinberg site but perhaps it ought to be. You also saved me posting an unnecessary question during pandemonium week for the Dorico team.

Thanks David. I did eventually manage to use the download assistant, but have had to repeatedly re-download the parts of the D4 program. It is still not completed, and I have been trying all day.

Another thing I do not understand. The ‘Download the DAC’ is of a different format to the activation code, but it is not being accepted (4 x 5 characters and 5 x 4 characters ) .

Try again tomorrow. (Yes, the computer I am using is the same as the one for Dorico)


Perhaps you could send me the Download Access Code you’re trying to enter into Steinberg Download Assistant by private message here, so I can check it’s the right thing.

Hello! I have recently purchased Dorico 3.5 this past December, and was told that I would be able to upgrade to Dorico 4.0 for free. How can I access it?

Welcome to the forum, @babbu018. If you bought and first activated in December, I would hope and expect that you would be prompted to go online to claim your free update after running eLicenser Control Center and letting it perform the default maintenance task. Please let me know if you find this not to be the case.