Why I cannot wait for Dongles to be a thing of the past

I arrive at the offices of a new client today, plug in my dongle, and this.

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Try another USB-slot.

Tried three. Maintenance fails at stage 4 “Cleaning up elicenser memory” step. Get this popup:

Application ‘LCC2’ has caused the following error:

Device returned error code:


  • Click to abort.


I guess its dead.

Have you tried a USB2 hub? Instead of a USB3 slot/hub?

Worth a try, but same error.

I feel your pain.

My workaround/failsafe/plan B is to keep both a soft e-licensed version of Baby Cubase on my laptop (ok for recording; not so much for full-fledged projects or editing, but whatever) and a copy of Audacity for if things really hit the fan. I guess if I were to be really “pro” about it I’d have two Nuendo licenses on separate dongles; I run redundant systems in the field for just about everything else. But still…

Learned that one the hard way (slowly!). After years of broken e-licenser hardware and worn-out USB ports, I also can’t wait for whatever new protection scheme comes along. May it arrive soon.


For some reason my dongle started working again the next day, just as I called support!

Have bought a new one and transferred the licenses. I suspect this dongle was actually VERY old, at least 10 years.

But yeah, I also have a Reaper license for cases like this. Just wish the UI wasn’t so unpleasant to look at in Reaper and it’s built in plugins so dreadful, as I probably would have completely switched already.

I have Avid and their system of licensing without dongles is INCREDIBLY bad. Their design has you go online and sign out of your tower before you can sign in on another computer and activate it. This means if you leave the office without signing out, you are screwed. It also means that Avid’s server has to be working perfectly 24/7 which it isn’t. On numerous occasions, I have turned on my editing tower only to find out that Avid doesn’t recognize the computer that I had been using for two weeks straight without sign out. I am then down for a day while I contact customer service to deactivate whatever non-existent ghost computer they have the license assigned to so i can reactivate it on mine. I really wish I was still on a dongle with them. I was always scared of losing or breaking the dongle, but it’s better than having a carp shoot on whether the system would work or not when the client showed up.

Adobe does it really well. What they do is they let you put the license on two computers at a time, so you don’t have to deactivate and activate. There are still the occasional problems where it misnames your laptop or tower and thinks you are trying to log into a third computer, but you can fix that within the system yourself in about 1 minute instead of losing an entire day waiting for tech support.


I’m crossing my fingers that the Steinberg folks are looking at those Avid/Adobe/RX etc protection scheme issues and assets and coming up with something even better. As much as I’ve complained about the dongle (and I still can’t wait for the next level, dongle-free), they sure did a good job with it considering the era when it was developed.


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I hope they go for the Reaper method and just do one online authorisation on as many machines as you like. Reaper seems to be doing fine, and Steinberg managed to eradicate piracy of their products for, what, 5 years? And that didn’t seem to make any difference to their bottom line.

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That would make companies with a few dozen machines very happy.


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It won’t make accounting and legal happy when they do their annual audit.

Group licenses are also a thing. I work with companies that do that with Reaper.

No offense, but you are a bit naive.
If you can install the application on unlimited machines, why in the world would a company buy a group license?


Did you miss my point about how most companies regularly are audited?

I’ve not worked for a game studio where they haven’t been super fastidious about all their software being fully licensed.

Maybe tell Adobe and Autodesk that they are apparently naive about their customers.

You forget that most (if not all) of the Adobe stuff gets watermarked.
They can check anything that is published if it is created with registered software.


Uhhh that’s the first I’ve heard of that, and I can’t seem to find anything on this when I google it.
I suspect this is not true at all.

I know for a fact that they do that with Photoshop.
That was -a few years ago- part of their anti piracy campagn (together with Filemaker and a few others).
They have bots scanning the internet for content created with illegal software.


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First of all the thread clearly isn’t about Reaper, and secondly since it’s tagged “Nuendo” it’ll take some time before Reaper gets close to having all the post-production features of Nuendo.