Remotely upgrading Dongles

As many of you know, when I spent 6 months in South America last year, I decided to do all my development work remotely. I left my Desktop machine in the USA with my dongles, installed. This is such a safer way to travel for me. If my laptop gets lost, damaged or stolen, I don’t have to worry about client databases. applications etc. being exposed. This arrangement worked out so well, that when I returned to the USA, I continued to work this way.

All I do is whenever I get where I am going, I just fire up the laptop and remote into my development machine and I am off and going. This does require a “decent” internet connection, but that isn’t an issue in most places these days. And with the ready availability of 4K TV’s cable of supporting Chroma 4:4:4 I am even able to connect to a 4K TV and use it as a remote monitor for the development machine. It all works so seamlessly that sometimes I get confused about which machine I am actually working on. For those curious, I currently use Chrome Remote Desktop to connect to my development machine, standard RDP doesn’t work well because of issues with the dongles.

Anyway, this article is about how I work remotely, although I am happy to share more about that if anyone is interested, just ask your questions on our Facebook group . This article is about how to remotely upgrade your dongles if you have the full development suite and 3 dongles to update.

The issue is as soon as you try to update your dongles you are going to get a message like this:

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Normally it isn’t a big deal. You just plug and unplug your dongles one at a time and upgrade them. But that is a bit of a challenge when your dongles are 5000 miles away! Or as is the case this year, my development machine is 3 1/2 hours away and of course, the entire country and world for that matter is in lockdown.

So I set out to figure out how to manage the dongle upgrade remotely. Since the dongles are USB devices I figured I could disable them via the Windows Device Manager so only 1 dongle at a time was active. It turns our that works perfectly. So without further delay here are the steps to upgrade your dongles if you are in a similar situation where you can access your dongles to upgrade them one at a time.

First, we look at the Universal Serial Bus (USB) controllers in the Windows Device Manger. And we see that there are several Sentinel devices. After some trial and error, I figured out that we want the ones that say Sentinel USB key.

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Now we simply need to disable 2 of USB Keys, so that only one of our dongles is visible to windows, by right-clicking on the device and selecting disable. Which of course gives you this very scary message that you need to answer Yes to.
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Once you have two of the dongles disabled like below you are ready to upgrade the remaining active dongle.

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The Dongle upgrade program is included in a folder called Hotline/Dongle Update of each of the upgrade installs. And is called WDMAJCIe.exe

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If you run it and there is only one dongle visible you will get a screen like below that will allow you to enter the update password that PC SOFT sent you. And after a minute or two it will have updated your dongle to version 25.

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Now all you need to do is go back and disable that dongle, and reenable one of the other dongles until you have all 3 updated. Although this process seemed to work well, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you absolutely have to do it this way. If my dongles were local to me, I would have followed the standard method described by PC SOFT and removed my dongles and updated them one at a time.

But it is good to know that there is a way for us to still manage to perform an upgrade even when your development machine is remote, especially as we all continue to find our way through new challenges this versus has brought to the world.

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