I'm so sick of this BS licensing crap!I've got an Altera USB dongle, and I just installed 8.1 on another pc in the lab. I copied the .dat file from my first machine to this one, and upon launching Quartus, I get a licensing error dialog. The 3rd radio button says "If you have a valid license file, specify the location of your license file." I do it, and the tool runs fine, until the next time I have to launch it. When I quit and re-launch it, the problem repeats. So, maybe the .dat file needs to be specific to each machine, so I apply for another dat file for THIS pc. Wait...get the email...put the dat file where it belongs, and re-launch Quartus. Same crap. I point it to the .dat file (which is also properly located in the system environment variable, and the tool runs fine...until the next time! WHY WHY WHY do I need a licensing file when I have this damn USB key?? I should just be able to stick the key in the PC and have Altera tools work.
The license file location entered in the GUI is saved at "C:\Documents and Settings\$USERNAME\quartus2.ini". Maybe Quartus isn't able to update that file for some reason.I would expect you to have write access to that directory even if you don't have administrator privileges, but using a login without administrator privileges can be a problem for Quartus. My quartus2.ini has this:
LICENSE_FILE = C:\flexlm\license.dat
Also note that the reason for a license file is for subscriptions. If all versions of Quartus ran perpetually with just a dongle, then it would be a "lifetime license". (And I agree there's nothing worse than struggling to get a license to work, since it's the last thing you want to be dealing with...)