Power Line Systems, Inc. 610 N. Whitney Way, Suite 160
Madison, WI 53705, U.S.A.
Phone: (608) 238-2171, Fax: (608) 238-9241
Email: info@powline.com
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This technical note describes how to resolve the "Can't Find Hardware Key" error messages which can occur even when the hardware key is properly connected.

Important note for PLS-CADD, PLS-POLE and TOWER version 10.03 and newer:

If your hardware key was found before upgrading to this version or a newer version, but can no longer be found then please follow the instructions in the Upgrading the Sentinel Driver for New Versions section below.


Installing hardware key drivers

Our software requires that the hardware key driver be installed before it will be able to locate the hardware key. The driver is included on your Setup CD, but if for some reason you do not have it you may download it by following the Internet installation instructions below. If you have already installed the driver and the hardware key is not found, skip to the Troubleshooting section below. The installation procedure is described below:

CD installation

  1. Unplug any hardware keys that may be attached to your computer.
  2. Login to an account with Administrator privileges (Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 require this to install drivers).
  3. Run the setup.exe program in the root directory of the CD. If your computer supports Autoplay this will be run automatically for you.
  4. Check the "Install hardware key driver" checkbox and then press the Install button. You do not need to check any other options or programs unless you have not already installed those programs.
  5. Follow any instructions given.
  6. Restart your system if prompted.
  7. Plug in your hardware key.
  8. Run the program which initially gave you the "Can't find hardware key" error. In the unlikely event that the error still appears please see the Troubleshooting section below.

Internet installation

  1. Download the latest tested hardware key driver installation software from http://www.powline.com/files/sentinel.exe.
  2. Unplug any hardware keys that may be attached to your computer.
  3. Login to an account with Administrator privileges
  4. Now run the Sentinel installation software (sentinel.exe) that you downloaded in the previous step and follow these steps:
    1. Click Next
    2. Click Next again
    3. Select I accept followed by Next
    4. Select Complete followed by Next
    5. Click Install
    6. Click Finish
  5. Restart your system if asked to do so.
  6. Plug in your hardware key.
  7. Run the program which initially gave you the "Can't find hardware key" error. In the unlikely event that the error still appears please see the Troubleshooting section below.

Troubleshooting Hardware Key Issues

If your program is displaying a "Can't Find Hardware Key" error message, you should check and/or try the following:

  1. Run the Sentinel Setup Software located by default in C:\Program Files\Common Files\SafeNet Sentinel\Sentinel System Driver\SetupSysDriver.exe
    Sentinel System Driver
  2. The installed driver version should be at least 7.5. If a lesser version is installed (as shown above) then follow the instruction in Internet installation to upgrade it.

If you have a parallel port hardware key contact Power Line Systems technical support by email to obtain a replacement.

If the above steps do not solve the problem, contact Power Line Systems technical support by email for assistance. Please include a screen capture showing the About dialog and a second screen capture showing the error message you receive when you try to run the software (screen captures can be made by pressing the Print Screen key and then using Edit/Paste to paste the resulting image into email or an image editing program).


Upgrading the Sentinel Driver for New Versions

Versions 10.03 of PLS-CADD, PLS-POLE and TOWER require a new hardware key driver version. If you have an older driver version installed (versions prior to Sentinel System Driver 7.5 which were distributed prior to March 2009) then you will need to upgrade the hardware key driver. You can download the new driver from our web site at http://www.powline.com/files/sentinel.exe. Once the file is on your computer, unplug all hardware keys, run the "sentinel.exe" installer and select the "Upgrade" and "Complete" installation options when prompted. You will need administrative privledges to complete this procedure. Once done you may need to reboot your computer, plug your hardware key(s) back in and then your hardware key should be found.

If you encounter an error message similiar to this one
Sentinel System Driver Uninstall Error then download and run this utility from our web site at http://www.powline.com/files/SSDCleanup.exe (or http://www.powline.com/files/SSDCleanupx64.exe if you have a computer running an x64 edition of Windows). After running the SSDCleanup utility, reboot your computer and resume following the Internet Installation instructions above.


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