Applies To:
  • CitectSCADA

The 'Software Protection Failure' error can be caused by various factors. For instance, if there is a third-party application trying to access the key at the same time as Citect. This error does NOT necessarily mean that the key is defective and needs to be replaced, as the CIUSafe.exe program in the C:\Citect\Bin directory often times is able to read the key despite Citect's inability to do so. 

Try the following suggestions, keeping in mind that some of these can only be implemented on certain operating systems:

All Operating Systems:

(1) If the error(s) occur(s) immediately on startup, this usually is an indication that Internet Explorer is either not installed on the system, or that it needs to be upgraded. Make sure you are running Internet Explorer v4.01 or higher. If Internet Explorer did not come with the system, the latest version can be found at the following Microsoft web site:  The reason is that Citect uses the same cryptography as Internet Explorer uses in order to detect the licenses on the key.

(2) Upgrade the Sentinel driver: The latest version is provided by SafeNet, Inc. and can be downloaded at the following web site:  If you are using a USB (Universal Serial Bus) Citect key, it is recommended that you have Sentinel Protection Installer v7.0  or later installed. After installing the driver, it is important that you reboot the operating system immediately.

(3) Make sure nothing is plugged into the back of the key, such as a printer cable or another license key. If the device goes offline for any reason, then Citect can no longer detect the key. In the case of printer devices, I recommend that you use a network printer or another parallel port (if one is available or can be purchased).

(4) Make sure you have installed the latest Service Pack release for your operating system and Citect version.

After you have installed the latest Service Pack, restart the system, reinstall the latest Sentinel driver and immediately reboot Windows again. If you have Windows NT or 2000, then please try the suggestions in the following section only if the above has not fixed the problem:

Windows NT and Windows 2000 ONLY:

Raise the Sentinel driver's priority: Please go to the C:\Program Files\Rainbow Technologies\Sentinel System Driver directory and run the SetupSysDriver.exe program. Click on the Configure Driver button and then the Edit button. Under the Port Ownership Method section, unselect the Auto check box and change the Acquisition Timeout from 10000 to -1. By default, Citect tries to detect the key for a period of 10 seconds. If it cannot detect it within this period, it then returns the 'Software Protection Failure' error. Setting the Acquisition Timeout to -1 forces Citect to locate the key until it finds it.

Windows 2000 ONLY:

Modify the parallel port settings: (Note: To do this, you must be logged in as a system administrator.) Please go to Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Computer Management and click on Device Manager. Expand the Ports (COM & LPT) section, right-click on ECP Printer Port (LPT1) and click on Properties. Click on the Port Settings tab and select the 'Use any interrupt assigned to the port' option box. Also verify that the LPT Port Number corresponds correctly to the LPT Port the key is plugged into - in most cases this will be LPT1. Finally, restart the operating system.

For other articles pertaining to these key-related issues, please see KB articles Q1777, Q3014, Q3029, Q3120 and Q3395.