Dorico + Old Dongle = Trouble

I’m posting this for anyone using an old USB dongle, and have left a similar post on the Cubase side. I’ve been using Cubase since the mid 90’s, so my USB dongle was…old. I was thinking of migrating from Sibelius to Dorico, but couldn’t get version 2 or 3 to run smoothly, or at times even at all, with the license on the old dongle - it was unusable. Everything works fine after migrating the license to the newest USB dongle, so anyone with an experience similar to mine might want to give it a try.

You should replace the dongle every two years

Nothing worse than an old dongle.

In all honesty, is there actually an officially recommended replacement schedule? I searched but didn’t find anything. I leave mine plugged in virtually all the time. Mine is less than 2 years old so I’m not that worried, but I definitely would not want to run into a situation where I couldn’t get Dorico to open when needed.

Until version 10.5, Cubase was working fine with the old dongle, but Dorico hated it. I also wasn’t aware that there was a recommendation from Steinberg to replace the dongle periodically. Honestly, I wish they would use a different copy protection scheme.

Ouch. So basically a $14/year subscription fee for the mere ability to use software that you’ve already paid hundreds of dollars for on multiple computers? I’m fairly certain that, luckily, there’s not really a need to do that. If I’m not mistaken, there’s the old dongles (which are longer) and the new ones (the little stubby fellas); if you have an old one, you should replace it, but if you have a new one, there should be no reason. I can’t imagine a 2-year replacement recommendation would go over well with a community that’s already mostly just tolerating the current licensing scheme (if not outright using Dorico entirely in spite of it).

In any case, please don’t interpret my snark as directed at you; I mostly kid :wink: I promise it’s a very generalized or impersonal snark cultivated over the course of several years now by many of us that await with something of a messianic fervor the promised future licensing system. We will surely calm down after that :laughing:

Why? What wears out?


Truthfully, I don’t know the setup with Steinberg, but with VSL (which uses the same eLicenser) if the dongle fails and is less than 2 years old, they replace the dongle and all your licenses. If it’s older, you’re SOL.

Don’t all USB’s (or any SSD) have a limited number of cycles? How fast a USB may wear out would likely depend how it is used, and I suspect that would apply (eventually) to a USB eLicenser.

USB sticks typically work for 10,000 to 100,000 write cycles for each memory location. Reading data doesn’t cause any degradation. The physical life is typically 10 years or more.

But IIRC the Steinberg dongle contains a CPU chip as well as memory, so estimating the expected life is more complicated.

I guess part of the problem with the old style dongles is that USB speeds have increased by orders of magnitude, and modern computers might not support the original slow data speed correctly and “time out” before the dongle has responded.

I might be wrong, but I thought Daniel mentioned once that the dongle doesn’t actually have any memory. I think I was asking if there was room to store preferences, or key commands, or something to transfer between computers and he said there wasn’t any memory on it at all.

Since you don’t need an internet connection to activate software with a licence on a dongle, there must be some writeable memory that stores the licence information. (You only need an internet connection to install a new licence).

If the dongle contains a CPU there must be memory containing the program as well.

That doesn’t mean there is a memory area that can be used for arbitrary purposes, though.

I don’t think it’ll be that much - the previous one was around for quite a few years and I’m sure I’ve had the new shorter one for a couple of years at least.

But - it is annoying to have to pay for a copyright protection device - even though it’s very much in our interests to ensure that the product is well protected (development would soon stop if it wasn’t).

Thers’ been talk for a while about Steinberg introducing a new copyright system. Hopefully that’ll be even more secure and won’t involve dongles or costs to the consumer - win/win/win.

Oh, don’t worry, I don’t think it’ll be that much either :wink: I was merely offering up some… mildly salty verbal irony at the expense of poor wcreed. All in good fun, I hope.

And, fwiw, that does indeed seem to be the talk, that the new system won’t require dongles :smiley: :

Be careful what you wish for. Suppose the dongles were replaced by customized PCs which are only available direct from Steinberg dealers … :smiling_imp:

I’d suggest running Dorico on Acorn computers only :stuck_out_tongue:

Steinberg’s eLicenser failure policy:

Steinberg seems to have a more reasonable policy.

VSL’s Vienna Key Policies and Protection Plan:!Frequently_asked

VSL wants $70 every two years for a protection plan that covers everything including inadvertent damage or theft, but if you don’t have the plan and your dongle fails after 2 years you could very well be left holding the bag. It will cost you a whopping 50 percent of the full current cost of your licenses to replace them. Basically it’ either a protection plan at $35 a year or a Vienna Key at $12 a year. The additional $23 a year gives you much better protection, however. Still, having to fork over $70 when the time comes does stick in the craw, especially if you are not an industry professional.

I have gone VSL only for VSTi since 2015, but I have to admit if I find the right deal on the right non-VSL orchestral package I’m right on the edge of selling what I have at 50% off and leaving it behind (PM me if you might be interested in the details of what I have). Each developer has it’s strengths and weaknesses so I’m not kidding myself that instrument-wise the grass is greener on the other side. And it makes no sense given the total value of my VSL instruments to worry about $70, but my Protection Plan “renewal” is up in October.