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A mechanical device used by software developers to prevent unlicenced use of their product. Typically, a Dongle is a small connector plug, supplied with the original software package, which fits into a socket on a PC - usually a parallel port, also known generally as the LPT1 Printer port. Without the Dongle present, the software will not run. Some older Dongles act as a terminator, effectively blocking the port for any other use, but later versions have a pass-through function, allowing a printer to be connected at the same time. Even though the PC can still communicate with the printer, there have been problems with more recent printers which use active two-way communications with the PC to notify printing status, ink levels, etc.

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