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Recently, the term “dongle” (pronounced DONG-uhl) has been making its way around our office. Some of my co-workers have been seeing it on certain Web sites, but they weren’t really sure what it meant, so they’ve been asking me to look it up and write a tip on it. Plus, I figured some of you have probably heard it before as well, but maybe you don’t know what it is either. Either way, I’m going to take care of everyone’s curiosity today. Let’s take a look!

A dongle is a basic hardware device that was created to ensure that no unauthorized users are able to copy or use specific software programs, especially high-end applications. Some of the more common dongles are hardware keys, special key diskettes and registration numbers. Most of them are mainly put in place to require verification from users before they can access certain software programs. The dongles are kept intact until the verification is confirmed. Otherwise, the user won’t be able to continue on with using the software.

For example, if you’ve ever purchased a piece of software that required a serial number (and I know a lot of you have, because we sell several programs like that here at WorldStart), you have come in contact with one type of dongle. Now, just for some extra information, dongles are not used very often, because a lot of manufacturers don’t like having that type of limit on their products, but as I said earlier, they are used a lot with the more expensive software applications. So, if you’ve been wondering what a dongle is, now you know all about it!

~ Erin