USB-eLicenser/Steinberg Key - Details, Tips and Troubleshooting
The USB-eLicenser is a small USB key (dongle, formerly Steinberg Key) on which music software licenses by different manufacturers can be stored. For licenses on an USB-eLicenser are independent from a specific computer, the corresponding software can be used on any computer to which the USB-eLicenser is connected. An USB-eLicenser can hold an virtually infinite number of licenses.
USB-eLicensers and licenses can be managed in the eLicenser Control Center, an utility that is automatically being installed along with the licensed software. Most issues that may occur when using an USB-eLicenser can easily be solved by updating the eLicenser Control Center. The latest version for your operating system is available here.
Please keep in mind: Licenses stored on an USB-eLicenser represent the entire value of the corresponding software!
Make sure to register your products and/or the USB-eLicenser with the respective manufacturer and keep in mind that losing an USB-eLicenser can mean losing the software!
Procedures for lost/defective USB-eLicensers
Additional information on USB-eLicensers
Software companies using USB-eLicensers
Technical troubleshooting for the USB-eLicenser
My USB-eLicenser is not recognised by the system or the eLicenser Control Center!
Most USB-eLicenser issues can be solved by installing the latest eLicenser Control Center, which also contains an USB-eLicenser driver update. The latest version for your operating system is available here.
After the installation has been completed, open the eLicenser Control Center and apply the "Maintenance & Online Synchronisation" by clicking on "Perform Maintenance Tasks" (or click on the "Maintenance" button if not shown).
If the USB-eLicenser still is not being recognised or in case the installation fails, please reinstall the eLicenser Control Center thoroughly, following these steps:
• Unplug the USB-eLicenser.
• Restart your computer.
• Uninstall the eLicenser Control Center.
▸ Windows: Control Panel > Programs and Features
▸ Mac OS X: The eLicenser Control Center installer contains an uninstaller, too.
• Install the latest eLicenser Control Center.
• Only after the installation of the eLicenser Control Center has been completed, re-connect the USB-eLicenser.
• Wait for the driver to be installed.
• Starten Sie das eLicenser Control Center.
• Apply the "Maintenance & Online Synchronisation" by clicking on "Perform Maintenance Tasks" (or click on the "Maintenance" button if not shown).
Further troubleshooting steps
- Connect the USB-eLicenser to a different USB port. Try all ports on your machine. Ports on the rear often work more reliably.
Windows: If it is the first time, a USB-eLicenser is connected to that port, the Windows Hardware Detection Wizard should come up. Do not cancel it. Instead, guide the Wizard to install the USB-eLicenser driver automatically.
- Normally, it is best to connect an USB-eLicenser directly with the computer. However, certain difficulties can be solved by using an USB hub. Self-powered USB hubs (those with an own power supply) are usually the best choice. USB ports on keybards tend to be less reliable, not least because they often do not provide sufficient power.
- Disconnect USB devices you don't need and/or uninstall drivers of unneeded devices.
- On some computers, USB 2.0 ports work more reliable than USB 3.0 ports.
Windows: Try if disabling USB 3.0 support (BIOS or UEFI settings) helps.
- Verify if the USB-eLicenser is working on a different computer. Running a function test is easy: Simply install the eLicenser Control Center on a second machine and connect the USB-eLicenser. If the USB-eLicenser is being recognised on the alternative computer, it is a system-specific issue and not a USB-eLicenser failure.
- On rare occasions, a manual uninstallation of eLicenser Control Centers might be necessary. A detailed explanation on how to remove eLicenser Control Center related files from your system can be found here.
- Mainly Windows: Virus scanners, internet security programs and tweaking tools can interfere with the installation of the eLicenser software and drivers by blocking system folders and files. Please disable these applications during the installation.
- Windows: Verify if a chipset driver update is available from the manufacturer of your mainboard/computer to make sure the USB controller works optimally with your operating system. If you are not sure where to find chipset driver updates for your computer, contact your dealer or the manufacturer of your computer or have a look at the manual of the mainboard.
- Windows: A note for users with nVidia nForce3 chipsets: Some old Steinberg Keys (key numbers are xxx 523 326 or lower) do not work with this specific chipset family and need to be replaced with a new eLicenser. USB-eLicensers are available from any Steinberg dealer and, of course, in our online shop. Alternativley, connect the USB-eLicenser to a USB hub. This will separate the problematic chipset from the USB-eLicenser.
Procedures for lost or defective USB-eLicensers
Do I get a replacement if my USB-eLicenser is defective or gets lost or stolen?
Yes, if the USB-eLicenser has been registered with a MySteinberg account, a replacement of the liceneses stored on the USB-eLicenser is basically possible.
Licenses on an unregistered USB-eLicenser cannot be replaced!
My newly bought USB-eLicenser does not work. How do I get it replaced?
Please contact our technical support via the support page. If you prefer to call our support team, please mind that you'll be asked to provide us with a proof of purchase and, where applicable, the Activation Code you've received. If you contact us by email or support request form, please name as many details as possible and attach the proof of purchase.
The box of my newly purchased product does not contain an Activation Code!
If your new software came with an USB-eLicenser, please attach it to the computer, start the eLicenser Control Center and check whether the license is already on the USB-eLicenser. If not, please verify that the so called Essential Product License Information sheet is actually missing. It might have slipped into the printed manual or could be stuck in the box.
If you cannot find the Activation Code, please contact our technical support. If you prefer to call our support team, please mind that you'll be asked to provide us with a proof of purchase. If you contact us by email or support request form, please name as many details as possible and attach the proof of purchase.
When I try to download a license in the eLicenser Control Center, an error message shows up stating the activation code has been used already.
- Please note that activation codes can only be used once for downloading a license. If you've already used your activation code, the license should be stored on an USB-eLicenser or Soft-eLicenser.
- If you've already stored the license on an USB-eLicenser, simply connect it after the licensed software has been installed. In case the USB-eLicenser or the license is not being recognized, please follow the USB-eLicenser troubleshooting instructions above.
- If the license had been stored in a Soft-eLicenser (on the hard disk), please note the instructions on software activation & reactivation.
- If you've received a product box that is not shrink-wrapped, the activation code actually might have been used already. In this case, please contact our technical support. If you prefer to call our support team, please mind that you'll be asked to provide us with the proof of purchase and the already used activation code. If you contact us by email or support request form, please name the activation code, add as many details as possible and attach the proof of purchase.
The Activation Code I've entered appears to be unknown.
Please try again after having installed the latest eLicenser Control Center. The latest version for your operating system is available here. After the installation has been completed, open the eLicenser Control Center and apply the "Maintenance & Online Synchronisation" by clicking on "Perform Maintenance Tasks" (or click on the "Maintenance" button if not shown). If the problem persists, please contact our technical support. Please name as many details as possible and tell us the activation code.
My USB key is displayed in the eLicenser Control Center but all licenses are suddenly gone.
Transferring licenses from USB-eLicenser to USB-eLicenser
Licenses can be transferred from USB-eLicenser to USB-eLicenser if the following requirements are met:
- The latest eLicenser Control Center has been installed.
- The USB-eLicensers are connected to the same computer.
- The computer is connected to the internet.
To transfer a license, open the eLicenser Control Center, click on a displayed license and drag it to the target USB-eLicenser. As soon as you release the mouse button, the license will be transferred.
Transferring licenses from Soft-eLicenser to USB-eLicenser
Detailed information on how to transfer a license from Soft-eLicenser (hard disk) to USB-eLicenser can be found here:
How to transfer a license from Soft-eLicenser to USB-eLicenser
Limitations of license transfers
- The eLicenser Control Center only allows transferring licenses to USB-eLicensers. Other license dongles (e.g. iLok) and ordinary USB flash drives are not supported.
- It is not possible to transfer licenses from an USB-eLicenser to a Soft-eLicenser (hard disk).
- It is not possible to transfer licenses online between different computers.
I have an empty USB-eLicenser. What can I do with it?
Just keep it to have a replacement at hand. If your USB-eLicenser gets damaged, lost or stolen, a spare USB-eLicenser allows for a simple and swift license replacement. Read more on our license replacement service Steinberg Zero Downtime here...
I still have a line printer port (LPT) dongle holding a license for Cubase VST 5, Nuendo 1.x, Nuendo Surround Edition or Nuendo Dolby Digital Encoder. Can these licenses be transferred to a USB-eLicenser?
Yes, they can! This article describes the license transfer from a LPT dongle to USB-eLicenser in detail:
How to use Cubase VST 5 on a computer without printer port
There are four generations of USB-eLicensers. They are compatible with each other.
The first model introduced in April 2002 is 6.7 cm long. In 2003 it has been replaced by a 1.5 cm shorter variant that is equipped with a faster processor. The serial number of the 1st and 2nd generation USB-eLicensers is printed on a small label on the printed circuit board.
The four generations of USB-eLicensers in chronological order from left to right.
The third USB-eLicenser revision came out in mid 2008. It is technically identical, only the housing is slightly darker coloured.
Since mid 2015 the fourth generation is in production. With a length of 3.8 cm, this model is even more compact thus more solid.
When using a 1st generation USB-eLicenser, the graphical user interface of licensed software may feel less responsive. In this case, we recommend replacing the USB-eLicenser with the latest model. New USB-eLicensers are available from any Steinberg dealer and, of course, in our online shop.
Additional information on USB-eLicensers
How can I retrieve the number (ID) of an USB-eLicenser?
Please attach the USB-eLicenser to your computer and open the eLicenser Control Center (Mac: Applications, Windows: Programs). It will show all detected USB-eLicensers with a 12 or 13 digit number. Possibly, an installed Soft-eLicenser (a virtual license container on the hard disk) with a 20 digit number will be shown, too. The numbers can be used to register all licensed programs with a MySteinberg account.
If you don't know the number of a defective/lost/stolen USB-eLicenser, you have the following options:
- Use an activation code with which you've downloaded a license onto the USB-eLicenser to register with your MySteinberg account.
- Send us an eLicenser Control Center support file:
- Install the latest eLicenser Control Center.
- Open the eLicenser Control Center. (Mac: Applications, Windows: Programs)
- Select 'Create Suppor File...' from the 'Support' menu.
- The USB-eLicenser number also might have been captured in a log file from which our support team can retrieve the ID. If applicable, the log file can be found here:
- Mac OS X, macOS
- Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10
- Window XP
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\eLicenser\Logs\POS_Used_eLicenser_Serialnumbers.log
- Mac OS X, macOS
Why do I need an internet connection for downloading and activating a license or for transferring them to another USB-eLicenser?
Any use of eLicenser Control Center functions that affects licenses (downloading, transferring or deleting licenses) is being logged by our license server. Since USB-eLicensers have unique numbers (IDs), the license server logs allow for determing any license any USB-eLicenser is holding at any time.
Therefore, given that your USB-eLicenser has been registered with a MySteinberg account, we are able to provide replacement licenses via our Steinberg Zero Downtime service in case your USB-eLicenser gets damaged, lost or stolen.
All transactions logged by the license server are encrypted and do not contain any private or personal data. Only a few authorized Steinberg employees have access to the license database, for example, in order to be able to verify registrations on the basis of USB-eLicenser numbers or activation codes.
Software companies using USB-eLicensers
Software by the following companies requires licenses to be stored on an USB-eLicenser:
Real Sound Lab
Vienna Symphonic Library
VirSyn Software Synthesizer