Dorico 3.5 Upgrade to 4 - BAD BAD TIME

Just purchased the upgrade to 4 this morning. Man that was easy and quick UNTIL you try to install it.

Download assistant starts up then “FAIL”:
“The system default download directory could not be found. Please fix this or define a directory via the ‘’ property in the ‘’ of the Steinberg Download Assistant”.

Wwwwhat??? I try to click on anything in the “frozen” assistant then receive another jewel:

“Error in” with a long list of java.lang.NullPointerException errors.

Can’t click “Enter your Download Access Code” because the whole thing is hung.

I recall issues like this back in the 90s installing misbehaved products but c’mon, in 2022 I receive these type of arcane errors???

EACH and EVERYTIME, without fail installing Dorico has been a nightmare. Just because the dev team and higher ups know what the issue is these type of errors are on par with Microsoft errors.

Can I get some satisfaction here please or a refund. I was trying to do a workout and install in between sets but on a Saturday morning, don’t need this type of hassle.

I have screen shots of each and every step in the install process.

EDIT: THe Assistant finally opened up and allowed me to enter my download code, THEN: ERROR e-license db is out of date or something to that effect, click to upgrade. Still waiting, stay tuned. :clock1130:

Ohhhh man. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: So after that wait, I install the activation code as requested then: “The currently installed version of the eLicenser Control (eLC) is too old. Please try again after downloading and installing the latest version of the eLicenser Control Software from <>.”
REALLY??? Isn’t modern software supposed to have all those checks and balances performed???

I’ll try that one last thing then, I’m done.

It sounds like the problem you are having is that the Steinberg Download Assistant can’t work out what directory to use to temporarily store the files it is downloading. When you run it, can you click on Settings here:

And then in the page this takes you to, can you set the Download directory to somewhere that you want the files to be downloaded, here:

It doesn’t matter where you download the files - it’s just used temporarily.

Hopefully once that value is set then it should then enable you to download the files you need.

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Tx Richard. Ya I think it’s a lot more than that. I couldn’t click on anything, the asst. was hung. It finally opened up and after several arcane steps an end user SHOULD NOT have to worry about, finally upgraded the license after taking a guess at which product button to push.

Says I am now able to use Dorico 4. Why thank-you oh lord.

Went to look to open it up, wait no Dorico 4. Hmm, went back to asst. Ohhhh I see, now I have yet to select what to install.

I’m >60 and have done IMIT for a federal government and done zillions of installs in my time. Dorico is the worst I’ve EVER encountered. It makes installing Sibelius look like using Notepad.

I tried clicking “Install All” but once again: Errors galore: Then tried changing the download directory as you advised:

Fun times!!

Here we go round and round. closed asst. tried to reopen and:

I always leave everything art default so I dont know what it’s issue is.
Those errors should be for dev NOT the end user!!!

I think there are two routes we can take here. Either we can try to get SDA running correctly or you can download the extra installers manually. The Dorico 4 installer and HSSE 3.5 installer, for example, can be downloaded from Dorico 4 Updates and Downloads | Steinberg

If you would like to try getting SDA to run then I’ll need to know some information about your system - in particular what OS you are using and what the path to your home directory is.

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I’ll try the SDA route ONCE. Then I’m done, this is nuts.

Win 10 64
For Dorico, very simple: C:\Program Files\Steinberg

I’ve even uninstalled it and reinstalled. Did I mention this is 2022?

If you are unable to change the downloads directory within SDA itself - because it has hung - then you can create a configuration file that will do the same job. This file will need to be a simple text file called (not and it just needs a single line saying:\Users\myusername\Downloads\Steinberg

Where “myusername” is replaced with your user name, or wherever you want to put the temporary downloads directory. Next you need to go to your %appdata% directory and create a new subdirectory within it called steinberg-download-assistant. Finally you can put the file in there and restart SDA.

I appreciate this is all very arcane, but it seems there is something about your system or your user account that means that SDA is unable to find the files and directories it normally uses.

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Just to clarify, this is not the directory where you want Dorico etc to be installed, it is just the directory that SDA is going to download the installers to, temporarily. Once it has downloaded the installers it will run them itself, and that will put the program files into their final locations.

As I say, if this is all too arcane it may be as easy to download and run the installers yourself.

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I’m restarting it and says it’s Updating Steinberg Application Manager
Running msft redistributable…

Updating …things

That’s all as expected: Steinberg Download Assistant will be ensuring you have the most up to date version of a number of other essential apps, including the Steinberg Activation Manager, the Steinberg Library Assistant and (for backwards compatibility) the eLicenser Control Center. It needs those for whatever you are going to install - whether it be Dorico or Cubase or any other Steinberg application.

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Tx. Yes it would’ve been nice to have it that way from square one.

NOW. It seems finished but want to check a few things. There’s a few install buttons. The HALion Sonic SE 3.5.0 - Instrument (recommended) for example. What about this content from 3.5? Am I going to have a bunch od reundancy on my system now?

When I choose to install “All” will I have two versions of Docico?

Now I’m even afraid to install it.

I’m not sure about the “system” thing. Microsoft even installed the update of Win 10 for me remotely so it’s not like there’s a bunch of bad 3rd party software…

Anyway. I clicked “Install All”. It’s downloading/installing now.

Thanks for your assistance Richard, it is MUCH APPRECIATED!

Hopefully, it’ll install successfully. :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers:

You do need HSSE 3.5.0 even if you are upgrading from Dorico 3.5 - HSSE 3.5.0 is a new version of the plugin that plays the samples. You are right that you don’t need all of the sample content, though, because you have almost all of it already. If you are upgrading from Dorico 3.5 you can choose the “Dorico Pro 4 Update” category in SDA:


And the sample content listed there contains only a single patch which has changed from v3.5 to v4.

Well after 1.5 hours of this, time for lunch.

Thanks again. I’ll check in on install later.

Is there anything I should uninstall? It would be nice of the program to make suggestions.

It depends whether you want to keep v3.5 on your system. Some people like to be able to run old versions, and that’s entirely supported (as long as you don’t run different versions simultaneously). If you don’t then you can uninstall that from within Windows’ “Apps & Features” list in Settings.

What you may well want to do is to delete the temporary installer files that SDA uses, as once you’re happy that the installation is complete then they won’t be of any further use, so they’re just taking up disk space.


No I only need one. I haven’t even gone through all my purchased Dorico video tutorials and am still relying on Sibelius. So don’t know how to use it effectively yet.

Hallelujah, finally got it installed.

Farrrrrrr too many checks and balances. Sorry, but the installation process really needs an overhaul!!! This pops up with this and that error, led down another rabbit hole, this fails, that fails. You really never know where you are. Things open up behind you’re not aware of you think you’ve done everything right then ohh no, fail, you need to upgrade this and that.

I haven’t even used it yet and I’m already turned off. If my comments hurt anyone’s feelings, drag, I’m speaking from an end user’s point of view. You may want to be made aware of these things.

Once again, Steinberg, please ditch the Steinberg Download Assistant [sic]. Is it really worth all the support issues? Just take a look at the threads here…

What about the many thousands of us that have no issue at all?



Welllllll, then why are you here? This isn’t obviously about you then.

I know that but you’re moaning at people for writing ‘bad’ software that isn’t…


And your point? Did you write it? Is everyone supposed to be as fantastic as you? And while I’m at it, how is it any of your you know what kind of business???
If you don’t like that someone says the install process is too convoluted, go read an article that applies to you. I came here for help, Richard helped a great deal, it’s done.
Did I hurt your feelings complaining about the elephant in the room?


I’m glad you got helped. I’m glad you got Dorico working, another person helped, as I have been many times by this great community.

Doesn’t change the fact that you were ranting about bad software that didn’t work for you, when, as it works incredibly simply for the huge majority of people that use it absolutely fine, maybe it’s not the software that’s the issue.

So, please get off your high horse, I was merely pointing out that calling the software bad because of your issues with it, is at best innacurate.