E-licenser guarantee

Hello !

From my first license recovery experience after a lost key, I believe I understood correctly by email that if something still happened to the key, nothing would be guaranteed and I would have to buy a full license of Dorico.

It is not so pleasant to work with such uncertainty and the stress of monitoring and taking care of the key all the time.

Could you advise me of the procedures to ensure the Dorico license / e-licenser key while waiting for the new licensing system which we do not know or the date of implementation, whatever.

I am not left out for having invested in Steinberg software since I was a teenager, I have always believed in this company, so I expect guarantees in order to take full advantage of the functionalities of your software.

If I encounter a disaster or have my key stolen from my home tomorrow, buying Dorico is not an option and I will have to switch to other scoring software now.

Looking forward to reading you!

Ch. B

P.S. : https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Product_Overview/Vienna_Protection_Plan

As long as your Dorico license is registered in My Steinberg then it is entirely guaranteed. Details here: https://helpcenter.steinberg.de/hc/en-us/articles/206532304-Steinberg-Zero-Downtime

The only thing you’d need to pay out for is a new dongle. I don’t know what country you’re in but here they’re £23 (roughly €27) - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steinberg-Key-Copy-Protection-Device/dp/B000DZBFJM

I don’t know where you got the idea you’d need to buy a new Dorico license.

unlike Dorico, VSL who still also use this licensing system do require insurance to be taken out to the tune of €35 a year to guarantee all the VSL software and I certainly have enough to make it worth it. Both Steinberg and VSL are in the process of replacing the eLicenser system though so this will all be irrelevant before too long.

this is surely from the VSL site but it’s only referring to its own software stored on the eLicenser. They have nothing to do with Steinberg’s software

@pianoleo From support ticket from Steinberg :

Please let me answer your questions.


“In case of another incident with the new USB-eLicenser, please contact us directly to discuss the options available. We reserve the right to decline another license replacement in that case.”

What does that mean ?

In case of another incident with the new USB-eLicenser, please contact us directly to discuss the options available.

In such cases, individual decisions are required.

Should I pay 560 again (very unwelcome) ?

This can be one of the options.

In the case of another incident, do I have to pay half of the price or something else ?

If Steinberg refuses to replace a license, there would be no special offers.

What are the conditions (context, documents, time periods between two issues…) for a second license replacement ?

This depends on the individual case.

What could you garantee for sure and what are your conditions ?

Steinberg Zero Downtime is only based on good will and handled individually.

and from https://helpcenter.steinberg.de/hc/en-us/articles/206532304-Steinberg-Zero-Downtime :

  • Steinberg Zero Downtime can currently only be provided once. If multiple USB-eLicensers are affected or the spare USB-eLicenser is no longer usable, please contact our Support Team directly.
  • We reserve the right to decline license replacements for repeated claims.

Under these conditions, how can you work peacefully with software that you cannot afford to pay for again, even though you can lose it from one day to the next? While waiting for the new licensing system, I could very well have a claim or have the key stolen from me in the studio or on the road. I’m going to have to consider Dorico as Plan B and invest in software that I can’t lose investment in overnight. (This is not what I want.)

Hence my question : how to insure the key with or without the help of Steinberg ?

Ch. B

How can one possibly own a car when the key could be lost or stolen tomorrow? I’ve had to replace a lost car key (remote fob), and it was both more expensive and more hassle than replacing an eLicenser (which I’ve also done, albeit due to wear and tear rather than loss).

Steinberg have to cover themselves with Ts&Cs in order to prevent fraudulent claims. The reality is that these forums aren’t full of people complaining that their Zero Downtime request has been turned down, which would seem to suggest that either people take good care of their dongles or Steinberg are reasonable about Zero Downtime.


@pianoleo I understand but did you know if there are other means of insurance just in case ?
When the new licensing system is deployed, this problem will not exist. But when ?

Good to you,
Ch. B

There will be some more news about the new licensing system in the next couple of weeks. Lots more information is coming, so please be patient.


Hello Daniel,

Thanks for your reply.

To resume :

a. have the possibility to transfer my Dorico license to the new system at no cost or at 59,99 ?

  • new licensing system will only come along a new version of Dorico then it’s a paid update;

b. still be abble to run Dorico 3.5 on High Sierra with my e-licenser key and / or the new licensing system (could a Dorico update using the new system break my Dorico 3.5 license on my e-licenser) ?

  • the new licensing system will come along a new version of Dorico;
  • as a consequence, Dorico 3.5 on High Sierra is working only if nothing happens to my key (again), in the other case I have 1/2 chance to backup my license.

c. after license transfer to the new system, updatable / registered Dorico version is now tied to my Steinberg account; as a consequence I shouldn’t have to worry about the key anymore, just have internet connexion and hope the servers hosting the new licensing system to be fully reliable, right ?

d. However, what happen if I my eLicenser dongle is lost or broken before I decided to pay a Dorico update (with new system) in the situation where Steinberg would refuse to replace my Dorico 3.5 license ?

  • I’ve to pay the full license again, 559,99 for instance, or :
  • Having registered Dorico 3.5 in MySteinberg, I’m abble to just buy the latest update which allows me to use any previous versions, including Dorico 4.x (in a VM with Windows 10) ?
  • …including 3.5, 2, 1 also (assuming the liense control center at that time is compatible with Windows 10) ?

While I’ll be patient to know all the details, could you confirm some points in a, b, c or d if you please ? Thank you in advance !

Have a good day !


Ch_B, I think it might a good idea to relax and be a little patient in this case.
there is only one thing guarantied in this world - and it is the same for everybody.


I thought there were two… death and taxes…

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not for the very rich… :wink:

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completely forgot about the latter - as I just did mine for 2020 yesterday…

You will not be able to transfer your existing Dorico 3.5 license to the new licensing system: each product will transition to the new licensing system at the time of a major version update, and your license will transition onto the new system as and when you decide to update to a version that uses the new licensing system. You will not pay anything to transition your license: you will simply pay for the update as normal.

You will be able to continue running Dorico 3.5 using your eLicenser indefinitely. If you are currently using the Soft-eLicenser and want to ensure that you can run the software for as long as possible into the future, you should consider moving your license to the USB-eLicenser, as this is more reliable than the Soft-eLicenser.

If you lose or break your USB-eLicenser either now or in the future, provided we or our network of resellers still have stock, you can buy a replacement USB-eLicenser and benefit from the Steinberg Zero Downtime process to obtain new licenses for your replacement USB-eLicenser.


Thank you Daniel for your response.

I will not insist however I find it a little sad that purchased and registered e-licenser keys cannot be recovered unconditionally.

" * Nous nous réservons le droit de refuser un remplacement de licence pour des demandes répétées." https://helpcenter.steinberg.de/hc/fr/articles/206532304-Steinberg-Zero-Downtime

I just don’t want to let chance decide whether to pay for a new license or upgrade overnight.

That’s all!

Good development for Dorico 4 and thank you for listening.
All the Best

I really think you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill here.

You aren’t in the habit of losing your key. Steinberg isn’t in the habit of turning people away. They simply have to legally reserve the right to say ‘no’ just in case. Further still, you know that within ~60 days, the whole old system will be scrapped and replaced with one that doesn’t require a dongle anyway.

Just relax a little bit.


I appreciate more information is coming shortly, @dspreadbury, but I hope for some clarification on this policy. The reasons why I ask this question are below, but the question is “Will Steinberg move away from only major (paid) version updates triggering a transition to the new licensing system once the new system has matured, especially if the product has recently had a major version update or is rarely/never updated?”. I expect all that you can say now is “wait for the announcement”, but wanted to raise my concern nevertheless.

It is clear from what you say that products stay on eLicenser unless and until Steinberg issues an update moving them to the new licensing system. It makes sense not to have an eLicenser compatibility layer in the new system as this would increase fragility, mean a sensitive subsystem has a broader attack surface and fail to eliminate technical debt.

Understandably, the rollout of the new system will start with products that are about to undergo a major version transition - presumably Dorico 4, as well as paid updates to Cubase and Nuendo that will likely arrive in the next couple of months. Perhaps Dorico 4 will be the first product on the new system, limiting the initial rollout to a smaller number of customers than a Cubase update. Once the new system launches, presumably all new Steinberg releases will use the new licensing system.

However, other Steinberg products on less regular release cycles have recently undergone a major version transition - notably WaveLab 11 and Absolute 5. Spectralayers undergoes fairly frequent major version updates, though Spectralayers 8 is also a fairly recent release. I asked the question about transition other than at a major version update particularly with these products in mind.

I own numerous Steinberg licenses on my system, including WaveLab Pro 11, Absolute 5 and Spectralayers Pro 8. I understand I will likely have licences on both the old and new systems during the transitional period. However, I hope that I can move these products to the new licensing system within six months of its launch, rather than having to wait perhaps eighteen to twenty-four months for a new WaveLab major release.

In particular, I was hoping to use the very recently released WaveLab Pro 11 on my main system and my Surface Pro without the current requirement to move a USB eLicenser between the two systems once the new licensing system arrives.

Some products rarely, if ever, undergo a paid major version change, especially extensions. Presumably, licences for extension products will transition to the new licensing system at the same time as the parent application, so, for example, Iconica and TGuitar licences will move systems when HALion / HALion Sonic move to the new system.

John Barron already told me that Dorico 4 will be sans-eLicenser.

P.S.: You can attend Dorico beta program to see what is going on with the license system of Dorico 4. However, everthing, every piece of intel offered there is confidential under the NDA.

@ShikiSuen, in fact it is not possible to apply to join the Dorico 4 beta programme, and even if it were, simply applying to join the programme is no guarantee of acceptance into the programme.

@David_W, I do understand your concerns. It will be up to each product team in the company to determine the point at which they feel it is best to move to the new licensing system, and it may well end up being more nuanced than my assertion that products will move to the new system at the time of a paid release; of course it will be possible for each product team to transition at whatever time makes sense for them. However, I think it is natural to tie this up with a major version update, since changing the license system is not a small task for the engineering and testing teams. It is certainly in our interests, and the interests of our users, to transition our main applications and plug-ins over to the new system as quickly as possible, but there are many factors that go into determining what that definition of “possible” is for each team and each product.


Are you telling us the release time for Dorico 4?

James is going off the assumption that Dorico 4 will be released before the end of 2021, which aligns with what I’ve said previously. There will be some news about this next week.