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Find out more about X-Ways Forensics X-Ways Forensics
Integrated computer forensics software
Find out more about X-Ways Investigator X-Ways Investigator
Investigator version of X-Ways Forensics
Find out more about WinHex! WinHex
Hex editor, disk editor, RAM editor
Find out more about X-Ways Imager X-Ways Imager
Disk imaging
Find out more about X-Ways Capture X-Ways Capture
Seize evidence
Find out more about X-Ways Trace X-Ways Trace
User activity
Find out more about Davory Davory
Data recovery
Find out more about X-Ways Security X-Ways Security
Permanent erasure

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  X-Ways Software Technology AG


As a genuinely licensed user of our dongle-based software product variants, you are provided with a small sophisticated USB hardware device that unlocks the software and that is required for execution of the software.

Our dongles have the following advantages:

  • A dongle driver does not need to be installed. No reboot is required after attaching the dongle. Since X-Ways Forensics does not need to be installed either, that means you can run X-Ways Forensics directly on a live machine from media such as a CD or USB stick, without unnecessarily destroying data by overwriting free space on the subject drive, without unnecessary changes to the system registry, etc.

  • The dongle does not act as a USB mass storage device, but as a human interface device (HID), just like a USB mouse. Like that, the dongle usually is not affected by USB port security locks enforced by administration.

  • The software may be installed on several of your computers at the same time even if you only own a single license, for your convenience. Attaching the dongle renders an installation executable. A dongle can be quickly exchanged between different computers.

  • Your license is represented by a physical object. It is easy to connect to your system. Install or simply execute X-Ways Forensics, plug in the dongle, and everything works.

  • You can store textual information inside the dongle from within X-Ways Forensics. Use this to have notes always available when working with X-Ways Forensics or simply to personalize your dongle with your name and address. The dongle could thus be a good place to store some hints, best-practice procedures or the like you wish to keep handy when using X-Ways Forensics.

  • The dongle helps us to protect against software piracy and consequently to keep prices reasonably low.

  • It can be insured against loss or theft, free of charge. (Otherwise lost means lost and no replacement. Yes, really.)

  • The software does not need Internet access to authenticate the license.

  • Works in virtual machines.

  • Up to 16 dongles can be attached to the same computer at the same time. (However, you may want to consider a single multi-user dongle instead, see below.)

Weight: approx. 7 g ~ 110 grains ~ 1/4 ounce
Dimensions: 5.3 1.7 0.7 cm or 2.07 0.62 0.37 inches
Operating temperature: 0C ~ 70C
Storage temperature: -10C ~ 80C
Humidity: 20% ~ 80%
Certifications: CE, FCC

Material value declared when mailing the dongle overseas: EUR 7
Delivery time overseas by postal mail: 4 days - 3 weeks (varies greatly, no shipping charges, no tracking number)
Delivery time overseas via FedEx Int'l Priority: 1-3 working days (for a surcharge, please specify your phone number in the order form!)


An alternative to dongles that may be available for certain license types is BYOD. With BYOD there is no waiting time before you can use the software!

Please note that we will replace malfunctioning dongles (i.e. errors not related to a loose connection at the USB port) at no cost if sent back to us. Physically damaged dongles can usually be replaced for a nominal fee if sent back to us. Important: Please note that we do not replace lost, misplaced or stolen dongles except if they were insured (which is free), for a higher fee. If not insured, to receive more dongles you would need to purchase new licenses, and in that case we may be able to offer you a discount and apply the calculatory value of any outstanding update maintenance that was programmed into the lost dongles (and blacklist those dongles in future versions).

Dongles have a serial number printed on the outer case or engraved in the metallic plug, starting with the letter R. However, we do not use that number to reference dongles. We use the so-called hardware ID instead, which is displayed in the program if the dongle is attached, in the Help | Dongle dialog. You can easily copy the ID from there. The first 8 digits are constant and sufficient to identify a dongle.


There are different types of dongles:

  • Regular dongles (color: green) represent 1 license each and allow 1 user to execute X-Ways Forensics on 1 computer at a time each, locally, even multiple instances of the program. Multiple dongles attached to the same computer (e.g. terminal server) are supported as of v16.5 to allow for multiple simultaneous users. The new "Smart" dongles are supported by v17.7 SR-13, v17.8 SR-16, v17.9 SR-9, and v18.0 and later.

  • Multi-user dongles (color: green) represent more than 1 license each and allow x users (but no more than 50) to execute X-Ways Forensics on 1 computer (e.g. terminal server) at a time, locally.

  • Network dongles (color: red) can represent 1 or more licenses (depends on how many licenses you order/have) and can be accessed by the software on the network. A dongle server program (alternatively available as a service program) that we supply must be run on the machine with the dongle so that the dongle can be found. Supported by v16.8 SR-10, v16.9 SR-4, and v17.0 and later. If a network dongle with no more than 50 licenses is attached locally, it works exactly like a regular or multi-user dongle (depends on the number of licenses). With more than 50 licenses, it can only be used through the network interface (i.e. the dongle server program must be running on that computer). Multiple network dongles on the same or different machines on the same network can be used at the same time, and if more than 1 network dongle is found by the program, the user can choose one (if any of the dongles are fully utilized already by as many users as possible based on the number of licenses that they represent, this is shown).

How many simultaneous users a dongle supports, i.e. how many licenses it represents, can be verified in X-Ways Forensics at Help | Dongle. When multiple users at the same time share a regular dongle (which in fact must not be shared) or a multi-user dongle and they exceed the maximum number of allowed simultaneous uses (1 for a regular dongle), then the new user will push aside a previous user, i.e. a previous user will be requested by the software to save and stop his work and will eventually be kicked out. The behavior may change at any time. With a network dongle if the maximum number of allowed simultaneous uses has been reached, new users have to wait until the session(s) of a previous user terminates.

If you would like to exchange regular dongles that you already have for 1 network dongle, you can find pricing and an order form here (pricing subject to change). All the dongles that you wish to swap must still be functional and returned to us upon receipt of the network dongle, and they must actually reach us (you can request deactivation codes for them and apply them to at least make them useless when you send them out).

Important: If you wish to order your licenses with anything other than regular dongles, you must select that with your online order/must specify that on a purchase order sent to us, or else you will get regular dongles!

Network dongles are sent out in an inactive or only temporarily usable state and once received must be activated with an activation code. All dongles remain our property. If you are interested in a multi-user dongle when buying multiple licenses, please ask first.

Four more dongle subtypes can be distinguished:

  • XWF: Dongles for X-Ways Forensics unlock the full functionality of X-Ways Forensics.

  • IMG: Dongles for X-Ways Imager unlock only certain functions of X-Ways Forensics, those for disk imaging, sector copying and internal RAID reconstruction.

  • INV/CTR: On request, organizations that already use X-Ways Forensics, may order licenses for X-Ways Investigator or X-Ways Investigator CTR with dongles (regular dongles, multi-user dongles or network dongles). Those dongles unlock X-Ways Forensics with the functionality and user interface of X-Ways Investigator or X-Ways Investigator CTR, respectively. Useful if you do not run any license management software and wish to ensure using dongles that X-Ways Investigator cannot be used more often simultaneously than allowed by the number of licenses that you have. The customer is responsible for ensuring that the users get an installation of X-Ways Forensics, not X-Ways Investigator, so that the software gets unlocked by the dongles.

Returning dongles