USB Dongle life span


I have a USB Dongle that is around 10 years old (Cubase 7 Artist, upgraded to 8 Artist).

Should I worry about the dongle suddenly dying on me?

Anyone seen this happen?

And in this case, what can I do to make sure that I don’t lose the license stored on the dongle, so I can continue using older versions of Cubase?

Thank you

EDIT: I’ve read a bit about Steinberg Zero Downtime, but it’s a little confusing and I’d like to hear it from the users, themselves.

If the dongle (and therefore the licenses on it) is registered in your MySteinberg account, you are on the safe side. If the dongle were to break, Steinberg Support would certainly help to transfer the licenses to another dongle. However, you can only get such a USB eLicenser on the second hand market, and you don’t know how old it is…
BTW: My current dongle, which I still need for a few programs, is much older than 10 years.

Maybe you should also consider updating to C13 :wink:

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I’m in Los Angeles and that’s not correct for the US. If I click onto Amazon, there are several resellers listing brand new-in-the-box elicensers, showing dozens in stock.

I haven’t bought an extra one yet, but will at some point as I still often pull up Cubase 6…Nuendo 4 etc on my older machines.

My existing dongle is registered and I can see its sequence of numbers online. As I understand things, I can buy and register an empty spare. With that on file…should my main dongle go defective…Steinberg will issue temporary licenses to the registered spare.

Or something like that.

I’m hoping Steinberg is looking at a plan for giving access to the early programs once the elicenser server is shut down.

I’d hate to lose Cubase 9 :slight_smile:

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One thing to note is that the license server isn’t needed except for transferring licenses to another dongle.

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Sorry, you are of course right. I just checked: You can still buy the USB dongle here in Europe. That wasn’t clear to me because I don’t know of any software that is still protected with it today.
But they are still in demand as a replacement for defective dongles
Thanks for the correction!

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I have two dongles, ~25 and ~20 years old. Both work nicely. I also treat them well (ie. I don’t spill beer over them).


My dongle is around 10 years old, its never moved once plugged in so its lasted so far, but i did get myself a spare one just in case.

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I appreciate all the replies. I have decided to buy myself an extra dongle just in case my current one decides to stop working (I would also hate to lose access to the older versions of Cubase).

What is the best place to buy one in Europe that has a decent price and solid quality?

The place to buy depends on where you are in Europe. The quality is the same in all stores, because it is the same device.

One place that is available everywhere is Amazon, others depend on country. In Germany I would buy at

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Thank you :slight_smile: I think I will buy from Thomann, since I live in Denmark, which is close

EDIT: I am assuming this is the right product: Steinberg Key USB eLicenser – Thomann Ireland

EDIT2: No idea why it says “Thomann Ireland”

I just got Cubase 13 with no dongle and that’s great but I’m stuck using the dongle from 10.5 because I still use some “older” steinberg vst plugins (Loopmash, prologue, mystic and spector) (And even to use those, you need to copy paste from older vst3 folders and stuff) Anyways, I find that it’s a cheap shot from Steinberg to cripple what people have already paid for. Any body got any idea if i get a new elicenser key from amazon for this purpose, can I keep using the dongle only to run these plugins? Or my license dongle is gonna be crushed by the version 13, rendering the use of the said plugins impossible??

With your e-licenser disconnected from the computer, do your preferred older vst plugins currently work in Cubase 13? You imply the dongle is neccessary…but I’m asking in order to be clear.

If the plugs only work when the elicenser is plugged in…you have about 8 months or so left…not in relation to using the plugins…but 8 months left for your dongle to break…and you actually having a way to activate a new dongle to replace it.

If your elicenser lasts another decade, great.

The only dead-end I now understand is…when the elicenser server is switched off in January or whatever… and subsequently then if/when your dongle dies, that’s the end of the show.

No server…no replacing of broken/lost dongles.

I own Cubase13/Nuendo13…as well as older stuff that use licenses on my elicenser.

I sometimes like to fire up old cb versions on Winxp and win7. Once my elicenser dies in 2027 or whatever, guess that idea is history :slight_smile:

These are the considerations re buy/not buy a spare elicenser. Having two of them will be useless…after the server goes down.

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I have a computer that i use offline at my studio and i need the dongle to use older plugins or they don’t work. This is a work around and it’s not supposed to be. But if you copy and paste some files from older versions vst3 folder into 13 folder, it’s kinda working… but you need the dongle. I like current vsts but i also like the older ones. And we all paid for them if i can remind you.

Anyways, thanks for you take in it.

This. It is my understanding that when the eLicenser server is switched off whatever you currently have is it. It is continuing to work until the dongle breaks. Or maybe until you change the computer and would need to re-install the eLicenser software? Not sure about that.

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Can anyone confirm if following upgrading Cubase (or other Steinberg products) whether they can still move the preserved old eLicenser license marked as “upgraded to Steinberg Licensing” to a new eLicenser (registered to the same account) without issue? (ie. can we move our old licenses to a fresh eLicenser prior to the server shutdowns to maximize the longevity of the legacy licenses)

This is possible as long as the eLicense Servers are active. After the shutdown beginning of next year no change to eLicensers is possible anymore.

It is documented in the announcement from Steinberg.


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