What Is a Dongle Driver?

By Kevin Caron

A dongle typically fits in a USB slot.
i usb dongle image by Madrider from Fotolia.com

A dongle is a small device that typically fits in a computer's universal serial bus port to ensure that only the legal owner of a software program is using the program. Dongle drivers allow the computer to recognize the dongle.

Use of Dongles

Some high-end software applications come with a USB dongle device that must be inserted in the computer for the program to run. This ensures that illegal copies of the program are not made, as the program will not work without the dongle.

About Dongle Drivers

Most USB devices install a small application called a driver on your computer when you first insert them. These allow the computer to recognize and form a connection with the USB device. Any program that requires a dongle will install a dongle driver on your system.

Dongle Emulation

Although dongles were designed so that programs could not be illegally copied, dongle emulator software is now being produced that "tricks" your computer and the dongle drivers into believing that the dongle is present. Despite its potential for abuse, dongle emulators are perfectly legal.