Dorico won't start; Steinberg Activation Manager shows no license or "verification pending"

When you update to Dorico 4 from Dorico 3.5 or earlier, a multi-stage process occurs to update your old eLicenser license to a new Steinberg Licensing license. The process is supposed to work like this:

  • You receive a Download Access Code by email when you purchase the update.
  • You enter the Download Access Code into Steinberg Download Assistant.
  • At this point, behind the scenes you are granted a 30-day Dorico 4 license – this is the one that appears in Steinberg Activation Manager as “pending verification”. You can now run Dorico 4, but only for 30 days.
  • Steinberg Download Assistant informs you that your existing Dorico 3.5 or earlier license will be upgraded, and prompts you to confirm the upgrade.
  • When you confirm the upgrade, your existing eLicenser-based license for Dorico 3.5 or earlier is marked as “(Not Upgradeable)”, and behind the scenes, the temporary 30-day Dorico 4 license you were granted is removed, and replaced with your permanent Dorico 4 license.

All of this is intended to happen before you ever run Dorico 4, so by the time you run Dorico 4 for the first time, you only have a permanent Dorico 4 license associated with your Steinberg ID, and when you run for the first time, Steinberg Activation Manager appears and shows you that Dorico Pro 4 is successfully activated.

However, if the process of upgrading your existing eLicenser-based license is unable to complete for some reason, then you will only have a 30-day license for Dorico 4, and it will show “pending verification” in Steinberg Activation Manager.

At the time of writing, we are now 30 days on from the launch of Dorico 4, so users who bought an update on the first day of Dorico 4’s availability may now find that they can no longer run Dorico 4, because their 30-day temporary license has expired.

Here’s what to do, in order.

Step 1: Update Steinberg Activation Manager (SAM)

First, ensure you are running the latest version of SAM. The easiest way to do this is simply to run Steinberg Download Assistant, which will automatically install the latest available versions of SAM, eLicenser Control Center, and Steinberg Library Manager when it starts up.

Step 2: Try signing out of and back into SAM

If you have been running with a “verification pending” license but have since completed the update procedure, it may simply be that SAM needs to obtain its permanent license. To do this:

  • First quit Dorico 4.
  • Run SAM.
  • Click the account menu at the top right, and choose Sign Out from the bottom of the menu. Confirm that you wish to sign out.
  • Quit SAM.
  • Wait 20 seconds. (This ensures that the background process used to handle Steinberg Licensing requests by apps like Dorico and SAM itself has time to shut down.)
  • Run SAM again.
  • Sign in.

If your account has a permanent license, SAM should now pick it up and the text “verification pending” should no longer appear, so you can now click Activate to permanently activate Dorico 4.

If this doesn’t help, proceed to step 3.

Step 3: Check your eLicenser license has been successfully upgraded

If you still see “verification pending” in SAM, then there is an issue with your existing eLicenser-based license: until your update eligibility has been confirmed by “trading in” your existing eLicenser license, you won’t have a permanent Dorico 4 license.

You need to check the eLicenser where your Dorico 3.5 or earlier license resides. If you use the USB-eLicenser, connect that USB-eLicenser to your computer. If you use the Soft-eLicenser, go to the computer on which you have been running Dorico 3.5 or earlier. You must have access to your existing Dorico 3.5 or earlier license to successfully obtain a permanent Dorico 4 license.

Once you have your USB-eLicenser connected or are using the computer on which the Soft-eLicenser for your existing Dorico license is located:

  • Run eLicenser Control Center.
  • Look for your existing Dorico 3.5 or earlier license.
  • Check that it says (Not Upgradeable) after its name.

If it does not, then your license has not been traded in, and that’s what you now need to do. First, find the email containing the Download Access Code that you received when you purchased your Dorico 4 update. Then:

  • Run Steinberg Download Assistant.
  • Click Enter your Download Access Code in the top left.
  • Enter the Download Access Code you received for your Dorico 4 update.
  • You will be informed that your Dorico 3.5 or earlier license will be upgraded. Confirm this.

If this works successfully, now go back to Step 2 to sign out of SAM and sign back in again to activate your permanent license.

If you are told that there is no existing license available to upgrade:

  • If you are using the USB-eLicenser, verify that it is connected to your computer, appears in eLicenser Control Center if you run that application, and shows your Dorico 3.5 or earlier license.
  • If you are using the Soft-eLicenser, verify that it shows your Dorico 3.5 or earlier license.

Once you see your Dorico 3.5 or earlier license in eLCC, try entering your Download Access Code into SDA once more.

Step 4: Contact support

If following these steps work, please go to the Steinberg ID self-service area and click Create support request to raise a support ticket. Please include:

  • Your registered Steinberg ID email address
  • Your Dorico 4 update Download Access Code (found in the email you received from the Steinberg online shop)
  • The serial number of the eLicenser on which your Dorico 3.5 or earlier license is located (found in the left-hand panel in eLicenser Control Center)

Give a brief description of the problem you are having. Our support team will get back to you as soon as they are able to.


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