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We have a niche program running on a Win2K laptop that uses a security dongle connected to a parallel port for authentication. The laptop is getting creaky and I spent a frustrating night last night shopping various websites for a new laptop that had a parallel port. Seems I'm about three years late [G]. The question I have, is, if I buy a new(ish) laptop and use a USB-to-Parallel Port adapter, will the security dongle work?

I know I'm not being specific about the app, but it's one most people wouldn't have heard of anyways. I've been guessing the answer to my question is no, since the app won't know to send a request out to the non-existent port. But, if the process actually is that the dongle sends a message INTO the computer every now and then, then it might work. And, I'm not sure whether the dongle is only needed at program startup time or randomly. The dongle is a 'permanent' addition to the old laptop.

This is all about the money. We can have a newly-updated version of the program (which won't add any features we need) for the princely sum of $2700. Or we can spend $500 on a refurbed laptop still running WinXP, add a 30 buck adapter and keep the same solid, stolid performance we've come to appreciate. But it all comes down to the dongle behaviour.

Oh, and a dock won't work. The whole laptop issue is about moving about the various nooks and crannies of the building with laptop in hand.

Thanks for any suggestions/guidance. GM

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Depends on the hardware is this an Aladdin HASP or Rainbow? What software are you trying to run? –  user10547 Mar 12 '10 at 17:07
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Suggest you buy a dongle and try it on the existing laptop (assuming it has USB) before upgrading. If it doesn't work then you may be able to buy a used laptop on ebay that fits your requirements but is newer than your dinosaur. –  Chris Nava Mar 12 '10 at 17:19
    
It's a HASP type. We are looking for the software floppies (did I mention it's an antique app?). I grabbed an adapter, as has been suggested, and will give it a try over the weekend on my family laptop. If it works, we'll go with the new purchase. Otherwise, it's haunting eBay for a relic of slightly newer vintage. –  Gary M. Mugford Mar 13 '10 at 0:29
    
The test didn't work. eBay is being scoured now, but I've asked the CEO to seriously consider the upgrade. An eBay computer is only going to die in a year or two on average. Might as well get the upgrade, the charm of which, is that it will run in something beyond WinXP. No new features we need, but sometimes you discover you need things you never knew existed. Thanks to all for your help. GM –  Gary M. Mugford Mar 14 '10 at 16:24
    
Depending on the laptop model, a portable port replicator may be available. For example, Dell's Latitude E series has a legacy port replicator that plugs into the docking slot, but the system remains portable. –  DHayes Sep 17 '10 at 21:33

3 Answers 3

It should do if the parallel<->USB adaptor claims to support bidirectional communication, unless the software is doing something unusual when talking to the dongle (and if it is doing anything that unusual there would be compatability problems with some none-USB parallel ports too).

Though the only ways to be sure though are to buy one and test it, or as the software supplier for advice.

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If your laptop has a PCMCIA or ExpressCard slot, look into a parallel port card. It may have more luck than your USB adapter.

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Link to buy that somewhere? –  Urda Apr 16 '10 at 12:46
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@Urda: Newegg has them, or Google "pcmcia parallel port" to find other sites that sell them. Super User is not a shopping site so i won't post store links except to show example products. –  quack quixote Apr 16 '10 at 12:58
    
was just curious, thanks for the tip –  Urda Apr 24 '10 at 19:38

I have the same problem myself. I've been told that there have been some that could work but not what they were. Most USB to printer port adapters convert the printer to USB so the computer thinks that it has a USB printer. Thus it can not see the dongle as the software is looking for a parallel port.

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