Cubase Element activation not working

I recently bought myself a new laptop (Windows 10/Ryzen 5) and unfortunately my (very) old copy of Cubase LE won’t work on it. It installs but won’t turn on. Ah well, nevermind. I thought it was worth the £42 to upgrade to Elements, so I bought direct from the Steinberg site. However… The activation code doesn’t work as it doesn’t recognise that I have any old version of Cubase installed. I’ve emailed customer services 4 times and they’ve not responded to my last two emails. I’ve sent them screenshots and proof that I own a legitimate copy of LE. All I want is an activation code that works, any suggestions? I’m on the verge of trying to force a refund though PayPal.

Hi and welcome,

Activate your old Cubase LE to the new computer. You can do so without installing it. As you have probably used this Cubase LE license on other computer, go thru the Reactivation process, please.

Once you have your Cubase LE license activated at the system, you can activate the upgrade.

I think the problem is I can’t activate the old copy of LE to my computer (or it just isn’t compatible). It’s a really old version that came on a CD-ROM bundled with a Yamaha keyboard (V 1.0.9). I’ve installed it. Entered the serial number and tried to register it, but it won’t work and the eLicencer doesn’t recognise it.

Ok. So it looks like nothing earlier than V 7.8.80 is compatible with Windows 10.
My issue is this. I have a legitimate copy of Cubase LE (I’ve sent proof of this to Steinberg).
I’ve purchased a new upgraded version that will work on Windows 10 (latest version of Elements)
But eLicencer won’t register the software as it won’t recognise my version of LE that is installed (but that fails to open)
Steinberg are ignoring my emails and currently I’m out of pocket.
What are the options?
Simplest option would be for Steinberg to send me a new code that does work or refund me if they’re unwilling to do this (which still leaves me unable to record music, which is the whole point of this).


As I said, you don’t have to install the old Cubase LE version. Just (re)activate in the eLCC application.

The old version of LE only came with a CD- ROM and a small piece of paper with a serial number one it. When you install it asks for the serial number. Nothing else. All other documents are contained in PDF on the disc. There’s no activation code or anything else. I’ve tried to reinstall it once and it didn’t work. It will install on but won’t load up properly, I suspect because it’s 14 year olds software and isn’t compatible with Windows 10

The software was bundled with a Yamaha MM6 and wasn’t purchased independently (not that it should make difference)


There is a process, how to activate an old Cubase LE.

Login to your MySteinberg account. Enter the Serial Number there to get an Activation Code. In the eLCC application enter the Activation Code to download the license. Now you can activate the upgrade license.

Thanks for the reply Martin. I’ve looked into that and unfortunately it doesn’t work.
I went to:
My Steinburg - My products - Register e-licence/software

It won’t accept the 9 digit serial number that came with the software (that is the only code provided). If I click on the ‘where do I find this information’ it says there might be a download code in the Yamaha manual, but there isn’t (presumably because it came on a CD-ROM with the serial number provided in with the disc so no download is required). So I’m at a loss how I’m supposed to get the e-licenser to recognise that I have a valid copy of LE to update. I’ve tried reinstalling LE from the disc again. It appears like it’s working but won’t boot up following installation. I still think the issue is that the software pre-dates the e-licenser (it’s V1 dated 2006!) so there may have been different security protocols back then. I’ve tried escalating within Steinburg - I just want a code that works otherwise I’ll have to go down the refund route and look at alternative software. It’s frustrating, but it’s not helped by the lack of response by customer service. They could provide me with a code as if I’d bought it full version, rather than the upgrade (I’ve provided them proof) because I don’t think e-licenser is ever going to recognise old software that I can’t get to run on my machine. I paid for the software 2 weeks ago and I still can’t use it. It’s very frustrating.

Ah… I think I may have found the problem. It looks like the upgrade is only valid for V4 and above of LE. I didn’t notice that bit when purchasing… Guess I should have upgraded my old version sooner. I’ll see what they say - I’m doubtful they’ll provide a code through goodwill but I can live in hope. Otherwise I push for a refund and decide whether to spend the full amount of Elements or look at alternatives to Cubase. Thanks for your help though Martin.