Posted on Tue 10 July 2012 in entries

Steinberg KeyIf you've purchased a product that requires activation using a USB eLicenser and you're having trouble understanding exactly what you need to do to get everything working, then follow our simple step-by-step guide with diagrams...

Please note that within this article, when referring to the physical USB eLicenser, although there are other types of USB license devices on the market, we are talking about a Steinberg Key (USB Dongle), or variations of the Steinberg Key, such as the Vienna Symphonic Library Key.


If your product requires a USB eLicenser to work then it should indicate this fact in the product description on the manufacturer's website. Software that requires a USB e-licenser includes Cubase, Groove Agent, Halion, certain Arturia software, etc. Some software (such as the full version of Cubase) comes with a USB eLicenser when you buy it, so there is not always a need to purchase a separate USB eLicenser (or Steinberg Key/USB dongle as they are often called).

If you are unsure whether a piece of software requires a USB eLicenser to run, or whether a specific piece of software comes with a USB eLicenser, feel free to give us a call on 01202 597180 and we will be happy to help. Make sure to read the product description on our website first though as this should provide you with the relevant information.


To activate software that requires a USB eLicenser, make sure that you follow these steps. Of course, you will also need to own and have to hand a Steinberg Key (USB Dongle), or variation of the Steinberg Key.

1. Make sure that your computer has a working internet connection.

Access to the internet is essential because you need to be able to connect and register with the Steinberg license server.

If you do NOT have a working internet connection on the computer that you wish to use the USB eLicenser with, you should find a computer that does have internet access, install the eLicenser Control Center software (see step 2) on the internet computer and proceed with the following steps - there is no need to install the complete product on this computer. Once your license is successfully stored on the eLicenser, you can then plug the eLicenser into your non-internet computer to run your software. Please note that your product will also need to be installed on any computer that you wish to use it on - simply having a valid eLicenser plugged into a computer is not enough!

2. Make sure that you have the latest version of the eLicenser Control Center (eLCC) installed. Click here to download.

The eLicenser Control Center is the software that manages your licenses as well as connects with the Steinberg license server to activate your products.

Please note that some software comes with the eLicenser Control Center software on a disc. However, you should always check that it is the latest version, and download from the web if not. Not using the latest version of eLCC may cause activation problems, especially if you are re-installing older software.

If you are having activation problems then it is always worth checking that you are using the latest version of the eLicenser Control Center software, and downloading it from the web if you are not.

3. Start the eLicenser Control Center program/application.

If you are on a Windows computer, you will find the eLCC software here: Start menu -> Programs -> eLicenser.

If you are on a Mac, you will find the eLCC software in your Applications folder.

[caption id="attachment_4354" align="aligncenter" width="827" caption="eLicenser Application as you will see it on a Mac"]eLicenser Application Mac]([/caption]

4. When you start the eLicenser Control Center application (and assuming that your USB eLicenser key is not connected to your computer and that you don't have any soft eLicenses installed), the following screen should load up:

[caption id="attachment_4342" align="aligncenter" width="865" caption="eLicenser Control Centre (No Dongle)"]eLicenser Control Centre (No Dongle)]([/caption]

If you already have some licenses stored on your computer then these will show up in the right-hand column. If you have USB eLicenser keys connected, then these will show up in the left-hand column (underneath the keys icon and 'My Licenses' text):

[caption id="attachment_4412" align="aligncenter" width="795" caption="eLicensers"]eLicensers]([/caption]

Please note that in the image above and in all images in this article, the eLicenser serial numbers are blanked out. Instead of the 'Your Serial Number' text, you should see the actual serial numbers for your eLicensers!

5. Connect your eLicenser key to your computer by slotting it into a free USB port. Your eLicenser should show up in the left-hand column in the eLicenser Control Center application (see below).

[caption id="attachment_4413" align="aligncenter" width="811" caption="eLicenser Window (With Dongle)"]eLicenser Window (With Dongle)]([/caption]

If you have multiple eLicensers connected to your computer then they should all appear in the left-hand 'eLicensers' column. From here you can use your mouse to select an individual eLicenser and view all the licenses that are stored on it in the 'Licenses' column in the right-hand column within the application.

6. Locate the activation code(s) for the product(s) that you want to activate with the USB eLicenser. Activation codes are usually found somewhere within the boxed product (e.g. on the manual cover, on a CD case, on a card, etc.), although exactly where the code is will depend entirely on the specific product that you have. In some cases activation codes may even be sent to you via e-mail. Check your product's manual for details.

7. Click the 'Enter Activation Code' button.

[caption id="attachment_4415" align="aligncenter" width="1115" caption="Enter Activation Code Button"]Enter Activation Code Button]([/caption]

8. In the window that appears, enter the activation code (or the first of your activation codes if you have multiple licenses to download). The code should contain 32 symbols, made up of letters and numbers and it should be broken up into 8 chunks of 4 symbols to make it easier to read.

E.g. the activation code should look something like this:

1358 11TU BVCX QWER ASDF HH73 190G 7H0K

You can either manually enter or copy and paste an activation code (if you have received it via e-mail). If you are copying and pasting a code, make sure that you click in the left-most field before you paste it.

[caption id="attachment_4345" align="aligncenter" width="532" caption="Activation Pane"]Activation Pane]([/caption]

9. Once you have entered your activation code, the details of your product/license should show up in the large field below the activation code fields. Check that it is correct and hit 'Continue'.

The 'Continue' button will only become available to click once a full code has been entered in the fields - if the 'Continue' button is still greyed out (and there are no license details in the lower field), go back and check that you have entered your code correctly.

10. The eLicenser Control Center should then prompt you to select the eLicenser that you want to download your license to. Again, you should be able to see two columns, one with a list of your connected USB eLicensers (and soft eLicensers if applicable) and the other that lists all the licenses on the selected eLicenser. This will help you to organise licenses between multiple USB eLicensers. For example, you may want to organise your licenses by manufacturer, software type, etc, and use different USB keys for different categories.

Use your mouse to select the USB eLicenser that you want to download the license to, using the left-hand 'eLicensers' column and then click 'Download License'.

Remember that an internet connection is required for this process.

[caption id="attachment_4414" align="aligncenter" width="749" caption="Select eLicenser"]Select eLicenser]([/caption]

11. The eLicenser Control Center should then inform you that the license is being downloaded to your USB eLicenser. This can take a few minutes so please be patient and whatever you do, do NOT remove the USB eLicenser from your computer during this process.

If you had any problems at all getting to this stage, you may also want to check out the 'Help' section in the eLicenser Control Center software (selectable from the eLCC menu bar or from the top-right of the main eLCC window).

[caption id="attachment_4348" align="aligncenter" width="604" caption="Licence being downloaded"]Licence being downloaded]([/caption]

12. Once the progress bar has reached the end, the eLicenser Control Center software will inform you that your license has been downloaded successfully. Hit the 'Close' button.

[caption id="attachment_4349" align="aligncenter" width="604" caption="Licence downloaded"]Licence downloaded]([/caption]

13. IF DOWNLOADING A DEMO LICENSE there will be an additional stage to this process. In this case, once the license has successfully downloaded, the eLicenser Control Center software will ask you whether you want to start the license period immediately. This is useful because trial licenses usually expire after a fixed period of time, and so it allows you to plan the best time to begin using it so that you will get maximum time to try it out. After all, it would be pretty pointless to activate a 2 week demo license the day before you go on holiday for a fortnight!

If you would like to activate the demo license immediately, select the 'Start Usage Period' button. Again, an internet connection is required for this process.

If you do not want to activate the demo license just yet, hit 'Cancel'. When you decide that you want to start making use of the demo license, simply load up the eLicenser Control Center software with the relevant eLicenser attached to your computer, select the eLicenser with the demo license on (from the left-hand 'eLicensers' column) with your mouse, select the demo license that you want to activate with your mouse (from the right-hand 'Licenses' column), select 'Actions' from the menu bar and then select 'Start License Usage Period...'

[caption id="attachment_4351" align="aligncenter" width="604" caption="Start Licence Period (for Demo Licenses)"]Start Licence Period (for Demo Licenses)]([/caption]

14. Once your license has downloaded, the new license should be displayed in the 'Licenses' list (right-hand column) on the main screen of the eLicenser Control Center software. Make sure that you have selected the correct eLicenser in the left-hand column to view your newly downloaded license.

15. To activate other licenses, simply repeat the steps listed above.

If you have any further questions about activating licenses using a USB eLicenser, then feel free to leave a comment or give us a call on 01202 597180.

For further information on the Steinberg Key USB eLicenser, click the link below or give us a call!

Steinberg Key - More Info/Buy