Verify the Sentinel Key is attached and responding correctly

Last Published: April 25, 2020


The Sentinel Key is a parallel or USB port hardware dongle that provides a unique number used in the generation of the users' licenses. The Sentinel Key returns its number only when the Sentinel Key and the Sentinel Key Driver are communicating properly.


  • To verify the Sentinel Key and Sentinel Driver are installed and running correctly, click Start > Programs > ArcGIS > License Manager > Display Hardware Key Status. A window appears with the message:
The Sentinel driver is installed and running.
Sentinel Driver Version: PD-5.39


If this message appears, the Sentinel Driver and Key are functioning properly.

If no window, a blank window, or a window with the following message appears:

The SuperPro driver appears to be installed and running. However, the hardware key does not appear to be plugged into a parallel port on this system.

Verify that the key is plugged securely into the back of the computer and remove any devices, such as Zip drive, printer, or other Sentinel Keys that are plugged into the back of the key. After removing these devices, recheck the Sentinel Key status to see if the key is now recognized.

  • ArcGIS 8.x uses Sentinel Key Driver version PD 5.38 or above. Download and install the latest version of the sentinel driver.
  1. Download the latest Sentinel Driver from SafeNet Inc.
  2. Run the downloaded setup program. When prompted, select Upgrade. Be sure to select a 'custom' installation when prompted.
  • If the Sentinel Driver is version PPD 5.38 or later and the Sentinel Key is conflicting with another device, one option is to install a second parallel port card to add a second parallel port or to use a USB key. Make sure that the ESRI hardware key is attached to the primary parallel port.
  • If multiple hardware keys are plugged into the parallel port, try placing the ESRI Sentinel Key as the first in the chain and recheck the Sentinel Key status.
  • If a printer is plugged into the back of the parallel Sentinel Key, turn the printer on and recheck the Sentinel Key status.
  • If there are no devices attached to the parallel Sentinel Key, and the Display Hardware Key Status window still doesn't return the Sentinel Key number and driver version, try printing through the parallel port without the Sentinel Key attached. If it does not print, the parallel port is misconfigured or bad. Contact a System Administrator for help to correct the parallel port communication.
  • A final test of the key would be to install the key and the License Manager on another Windows system. Once the License Manager has been installed, run Display Hardware Key Status. If the Sentinel Key number is not displayed, the Sentinel key may be defective. Contact Customer Service to exchange your key for a new one. Once the new key is received, contact Customer Service for a new license file based on the new Sentinel Key's number.

Article ID:000001800

  • ArcMap 8 x
  • ArcMap 9 x
  • Legacy Products

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