Correct eLicenser behaviour?

After recently upgrading both my PC and my Cubase (from SX2 to Pro 11) I started experiencing some problems with my USB eLicensers (I have two of them, since I bought SX2 and Hypersonic back in 2005 or so).
Sometimes, with no apparent reason, Cubase freezes during startup/closing (of the program or of a project file).

Trying to spot the problem I started keeping the eLicenser Control Center constantly open and so I discovered that while loading/unloading Cubase or a “.cpr” file the eLCC keeps “refreshing” and increasing/decreasing the number of “instances” associated with the Cubase license. When the loading/closing process is completed the refreshing stops. Nothing seems to change during the working session, unless for example I load some license protected VST instruments or plugins (which produces further refreshes and number increases).

Well, every now and then it happens that after one of those refreshes the program just freezes, with no messages at all (neither by eLCC nor by Cubase), forcing me to manually kill all Cubase and eLCC processes, unplug/replug the dongle and start everything again.

Moreover, since every single refresh lasts a couple of seconds and produces a single change (increase or decrease) in the instances number, the whole opening/closing of a Cubase working session takes a “long” amount of time, especially when compared with the objectively high speed of my new PC.

So I’d like to know, in the first place, whether such a… slow stepping is normal or not.
I also would like to know whether other users are experimenting any similar behaviours.

As to the possibility of a dongle malfunction, I think I can rule that out because both my dongles behave in the exact same way, despite one of them having been used very little (I kept it in a safe place as a spare). Also, I had never had any such problems before and I’m using, for the dongle in my new PC, an USB2 port like the one I used before. I also have updated the eLCC software to its latest release.

Thanks in advance for any help or advice.

Sounds like those 18 year old dongles are not up to the task. It’s actually a tiny computer in there. Later USB keys are magnitudes faster. Here’s a topic that discusses it:
Does a new eLicenser make Cubase faster?

Well, I was not expecting those “old dongles” to run faster with my new PC.
I just expected them to run, once connected to the USB2 ports of the new PC, at the very same speed at which they ran (and still run) when connected to the USB2 ports of the previous PC.

Moreover, Steinberg support told me that there are, to their knowledge, no actual compatibility issues between old USB eLicensers and newer PCs. They say some old and much used dongles can become faulty and stop working properly, but I find it quite hard to believe that’s my case, as I have two dongles which not only started behaving the same way at the same time (despite one of them being almost new in terms of working time) but also still work normally as soon as connected to my previous PC.

Furthermore, since these dongles are actually useful only to Steinberg itself, perhaps Steinberg itself should be concerned with providing any necessary hardware updates, without asking customers to pay for something that actually adds nothing to the product’s functionality.
Maybe this is one of the reasons why Steinberg recently announced that the dongle-based protection system will “soon” be replaced by an entirely software-based one.

That’s why I’m looking for other users having similar experiences.
I’d like to understand if I can do something to improve the situation, if I have to worry or just (safely) continue enduring the slow and precarious opening/closing phases, if I have to throw away my two eLicensers and… expand my dongle collection buying a third one, perhaps to see all of them become useless in a few months thanks to a major change in Steinberg’s protection system.

I know a dongle doesn’t cost very much, but I’m not a professional user and, on top of that, I admit I don’t like the idea of a customer being forced to buy something that is not needed by him but only, actually, by the manufacturer of the product he bought.

Thanks for your reply and for the interesting link.

That sounds like the common element that changes between ‘working’ and ‘not working’ is the USB interface on the two computers.

That is a reasonable expectation! I think @raino might have some ideas about this?

The fact is that Steinberg support said there are no (known) compatibility issues with newer PCs (as it should be, being USB a backward compatible standard). In other words, they say an old dongle should either be faulty or regularly working. Indeed, the Cubase pages of the Steinberg shop say that if you already have a USB eLicenser you don’t need to buy another one when you buy Cubase; they say a, not “a new.
Logic, however, suggests that a faulty, broken dongle should function badly not only when connected to a new PC; it should show malfunctions when connected to any PC.
I have many quite old USB devices (as many other people do, I guess) and all of them do run with my new PC, just as they are expected to; each one runs obviously at its own native speed, but they do run with no issues.

Maybe the problem lays somewhere in the (dongle) firmware, which could be investigated and upgraded only by Steinberg. Something maybe they should take care of…

Anyway, I’m starting to feel I’ll have just to carry on with these strange behaviours, hoping that they don’t get worse to the point of making Cubase sessions unstable and unsafe.