To update license issues from old to new

Many years ago I purchased Cubase from a retailer. Installation from CD and the need of a USB-License-stick present. I also installed the first WaveLab software. Didn’t use it much though, even if I upgraded up to Cubase SX. Anyway, both programs worked with the stick and when I bought a new computer it still worked by moving the stick. End of that story.

2014 I purchased WaveLab Elements 8 and installed it. My old WL was that old no kind of ‘upgrade’ was involved. That computer had Cubase SX installed and therefore the USB-stick as well. I didn’t reflect that much on that old stick that had been inserted in all my computers since my first Cubase installation. I got an activation code for WaveLab Elements and can’t remember exactly the installation procedure. It worked and that was that so to speak.

Now I’ve configured a new computer, without installing the old Cubase SX and therefore I didn’t insert the USB-stick this time. I have plans leaving the old Cubase behind and will probably install the latest Cubase Elements instead. But WaveLab Elements was installed and now there’s some issues related to my licence. Would reallt appreciate som advice here as I didn’t use Cubase for many years and haven’t followed any changes of the Licensing methods.

I visited MySteinberg and checked ‘My products’ and got this list:

Cubase SX 1
USB-eLicenser 318954 7D0104
Activation status:Product activated on 01/03/2012

WaveLab Elements 8
USB-eLicenser 318954 7D0104
Activation status:Product activated on 12/06/2014

MP3 Upgrade Patch
USB-eLicenser 318954 7D0104
Activation status:Product activated on 31/03/2015

Haven’t thought of it but it seems ALL those License Keys seems to be rely on the USB-stick inserted? Even though I have 32 char Licence Keys available for WaveLab and the MP3 patch.


I can use the old USB (didn’t throw it away) and check things out BUT I would like to hear your advice of how to proceed in this.

I guess the USB Licence method is outdated by now and a more web-adapted approach used instead.

If my intention NOT is to install the old Cubase SX at all and instead install the latest Cubase Elements version AND my WaveLab Elements and the MP3 patch, what is best here?


Can I somehow cancel the latest activations of WL and MP3Patch and get an activation by register with the help of my keys instead? Guess you would prefer not to rely on the function of some old USB-stick and problems related to the function of that one in the future.

Would really appreciate if someone could give me step-by-step advice of how to proceed in the case. Right now I can check if my WaveLab will run if I insert the USB-stick but I’ll wait doing that. You never know if some setting by doing that will conflict with the solution I want instead.

BUT IF my only choice is to use the USB, I guess my fresh WaveLab installation will read that and start without further questions? And when I later install Cubase Elements, will that be connected to the USB as well?

AND, if I can’t skip the demand of USB, how do Steinberg handle situations when that stick fails? Guess there are cases around that but I haven’t followed the development.

You need to understand the difference between a 32-character activation code and a license that sits on the USB-key. Your USB-key contains the WL and MP3 product license because they were activated on it. This system is still valid and fully functional - no web involved, except for activating a new license. The activation code can only be used once.

So just insert your USB-key, install the eLicenser software on your new computer and install WL Elements and MP3 Upgrade. As you start WL, it will look for a valid license and find it on the USB-key through the e-Licenser software. If you don’t trust your old USB-key, you can buy a new empty one and transfer your licenses from the old one to it.

Thank’s. I fully understand the difference but my guess was that later Steinberg software didn’t use the USB-method to activate. Therefore I wondered if I, as I will not use the old Cubase SX anylonger, had any option to change to a later licence procedure.

Your answer don’t say anything about that, but it can’t be that customers buying WaveLab or Cubase from the web have to require an USB-stick as well? Perhaps, I thought, I could update my licences outside the USB-option? As I said, I probably will install a Cubase Elements later on.

Is the answer that I HAVE to use the USB and it’s NOT possible to obtain Another solution? If so I guess my Cubase installation will use the USB as well.

Have I got it right?

Elements versions and lower can use a soft eLicenser, versions above use a USB key.

OK. Would be nice if someone could deliver the definite answer.

I will own WaveLab 8 Elements, MP3 Upgrade Patch and Cubase Elements.

Is there any chance I can transform the former USB-licences of the two first to a ‘soft’ eLicenser and then install Cubase Elements with the same?
THIS is the question I try to ask.

No there isn’ t.

You can install a new Elements title to the Soft e-Licenser and maybe later transfer once to a USB key, but once the license is there it cannot be transferred to the Soft e-Licenser again. Only to a different USB-key (if needed).

Ok. Let’s see if I got all right and will proceed as this:


  1. The USB holds all my licenses (Cubase SX, WaveLab Elements and the MP3 upgrade patch) and I can install all of them on both Machines and use them IF I move the USB-stick to the one I prefer to use at the moment?

  2. If I buy Cubase Elements I can choose USB or Soft eLicencer BUT as I read it it would be stupid if I don’t include Cubase Elements on the USB as well?

  3. If my USB somehow crash I can order a new one from Steinberg and somehow my valid licences can be transfered to the new stick. Guess I can’t just copy the stick and save it as backup. But there must be some more than that, otherwise you could get away with use of mulitiple licence?

    As I bought my first Cubase so long ago I just guessed that the USB-licencer was outdated. That’s why I started the discussion. Now I can see that it’s an advantage IF it’s possible to change computer but use the same licence.

    Please just confirm my 3 statements anyone. Then I know what I need Before I order Cubase Elements. Have a couple of quests around old arrangements fron Cubase SX as well but start Another thread around that. Thank’s for info anyway.

Yes, correct.

Well, if you want to use Cubase Elements on both machines, you’ll need to put the license on the USB indeed.

Licenses can be transferred between 2 functioning USB license keys. If one fails, you’ll need to contact Steinberg and they’ll send you new activation codes to put the licenses on the new one. But there will be some way you’ll have to prove the old one has failed or something like that. I don’t exactly know how that works but I’m sure it’s written on the website somewhere.

There is no way to copy the USB key for backup reasons, but make sure your licenses on the USB key match the software titles in your ‘My Steinberg’ page with your USB key number. Also, Steinberg has a ‘Zero Downtime’ service that helps in case your original USB-key gets lost or stolen or fails. Read more here:

Thank’s a lot. About the installation of Cubase Elements there´s no reson I will use Cubase on other Machines as all my gear is connected here. My thought was more like ‘might as well have all Steinberg licences in one place’.

I would do so myself, also because a possible hard drive issue (or OS update) can give problems with your soft e-Licenser. I would think the USB-key is a safer place to keep the licenses.

That’s it. All activations and installations done. A lot of routines in between but now both WaveLab E and Cubase E runs.

I just want to take the opportunity to check a couple of things related to the installation.

First dump below from ‘eLicenser Control Centre’ show two instances around the MP3 plug for some reason.
No representation from the ‘MyProducts’ web-page so if anyone have any guess and recommendation. Just leave it perhaps?

Some reflections around the Cubase start screen. A lot of suggestions but it seems like those are deafult and not related to my present installation. I’ve already installed Cubase 9.5.40 upgrade but is listed here as well as upgrades below. Some ‘offers’ as well that seems to have been outdated in april 2018 so this list in general is not what the program see as things missing?

Latest TOOLS updates for audio interfaces - if it is some regular check around connected hradware and driver versions it might perhaps be something I should download?

HALion - VST manufactor perhaps?

Oh, I forgot. In addition: The reason I worry a bit about the double MP3 instance in the eLicencer-screen is naturally the ‘Expiration date’ expressed with the last record. If some ‘out date’ function starts at that date I’m worried that my licenced version will be affected?

…or don’t bother. I’ve found the customer support part of MySteinberg so I’ve passed the MP3-quest to them…