Adobe Installation and Licensing

Blog to post all Installer and Licensing related info to users of Adobe products

Jan 12, 2010

Removing Deactivation Limit

Currently, activating Adobe software has a limit on the number of deactivations that can occur. For all Adobe activating software (including Acrobat-based products), that deactivation limit is 20. Starting January 15th, the deactivation limit will no longer be enforced.
Deactivations are useful when installing the software on a new system. Adobe’s license agreements stipulate that the software can be installed on two different systems at any one time. Activation is intended to enforce this license agreement. When installing on a new system it is often necessary to remove the software from older systems. That removal is tracked by deactivating the software on the old system prior to removing it.
The deactivation limit has caused numerous problems and I’m very happy to see it go. As stated above, we should go live on the a new activation server implementation on January 15th that completely removes the deactivation limit. Although deactivation is still necessary (which causes some other problems), there should no longer be any limit to the number of deactivations.
In email discussions with a couple of readers I mentioned that this implementation may go live as late as March. I’m happy to say that we were able to certify and post it earlier.
Note that this affects software as far back as Adobe Creative Suite 3 and Acrobat 8.
Update: Per one of the comments, here’s a URL for getting help from
Contacts at for support.



  • By Brian - 9:14 PM on January 12, 2010   Reply

    This is great news, thanks!!

  • By Mylenium - 9:00 AM on January 13, 2010   Reply

    Best news in years on that end. 😉 Thank you.

  • By David Buxton - 2:38 PM on January 14, 2010   Reply

    This is good news. Unfortunately the nature of any copy-protection system is that it will construct an additional barrier for a pirate while adding an inconvenience for a genuine customer. But every time you guys make it easier for us genuine customers it is much appreciated.
    Thank you,
    David B

  • By Eric Wilde - 10:31 PM on January 14, 2010   Reply

    OK, we’re live.

    • By Peter - 11:18 AM on September 17, 2013   Reply

      Installed Elements 11 but it doesn’t work. Want to remove and reinstall on PC but worry that the original installation counts against my limit in use on 3 computers. How do I deactivate since it doesn’t load before removal and reinstall, or do I need to worry about 3 computer limit?

      • By Eric Wilde - 1:19 PM on September 17, 2013   Reply


        You can deactivate by following the instructions here (under the correct answer on the forum):

        If all else fails, once you start getting overactivation errors send me a private note ( with your serial number and I can fix it up in our back end database.


        • By Susan Hare - 2:58 PM on September 21, 2013   Reply

          I’m using Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard. Had a hard drive crash and replaced with new drive. Now it tells me my re-installation of Adobe can’t be registered because of number of activiations (I never deactivated on old drive, never really knew to do this until now). Anyway, I need to get my Adobe software reactivated on this new drive. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. – susan

          • By Gerald Ee - 9:25 AM on November 27, 2013  


            I have an identical problems as those in the thread, do hope you can advise on whether I am able to deactivate my old authorizations.

            Similarly, I have tried the chat support function and have met with the frustrating feedback loop of “have you installed” and “please give me your this and this” which has wasted hours of my time… Please help.

            Product: Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium

          • By Merrick - 10:22 PM on October 8, 2015  

            Exactly the same problem after the computer crashed I can’t use Adobe Acrobat Pro 9.0 on my other computer. Any idea on how to reactive it again?

        • By Sydney - 10:40 AM on July 16, 2014   Reply

          I’m using Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and a few weeks ago it wouldn’t let me open it, saying I could buy an extension online.

          What should I do?

  • By Klaus Nordby - 10:22 AM on January 16, 2010   Reply

    Glad to hear this news, Eric! I’ve not personally had problems due to that 20 limit, but it’s reassuring to know it’s not lurking in the background, since I’m now soon about to install Win7 and deactivate/reactive/reinstall all my CS apps.

  • By MikeM - 7:12 AM on January 17, 2010   Reply

    Eric – great news.
    Adobe’s intransigence/lack of communication on this and other issues has caused the company to be viewed in a poor light by both domestic and business users.
    I suggest that Adobe round up the personnel involved in suggesting, authorising and implementing this first postive step … and then promote them to an independent group within Adobe, complete with wide ranging powers…. before Adobe’s image deteriorates to an uncrecoverable point.
    Thanks again

  • By Sandee Cohen - 6:54 AM on January 18, 2010   Reply

    Wonderful news! One of the best steps I’ve seen Adobe take in a few years.
    I know there’s a bean counter somewhere who still doubts the wisdom of this, but the users see it as a great benefit.

  • By Raymond - 1:47 PM on January 18, 2010   Reply

    Great news!

  • By Eric Wilde - 1:56 PM on January 18, 2010   Reply

    Hey, if anybody runs into bugs please let me know. I’d love to hear if it works for you or not.

    • By Paul - 11:42 AM on October 10, 2014   Reply

      I have Adobe9 standard that I received in an unopened envelope to install on my computer. I installed it a few years ago and it worked fine until six months ago. Now when I uninstall it and reinstall it I get a few uses/launches. On a launch the program will flash a message saying the licensing has stopped working and to see the IT administrator. I’m on a private computer.

      Why did this program work for so long then suddenly stop working?

  • By David Bonnici - 5:57 PM on January 23, 2010   Reply

    Still does not help those of us who can’t deactivate because the menu option is dimmed out. And of course, no live support available today on Saturday because of a system upgrade. So, we have a tight deadline and no joy here. I opened a complaint with the BBB and we have had it with Adobe products. We have original disks and activation codes and can’t use legitimate copies we have paid good money for. The solution for us will not be to buy new copies from an unethical company- we had to run out and buy 10 copies of Nitro today retail.

    • By Mike - 3:25 PM on October 18, 2011   Reply

      I agree with David. This is some time passed the original post, but I am STILL waiting for an email (almost 2 years now) from Adobe addressing the fact that there is only 1 way to deactivate a CS product so I can reinstall. I don’t know what happened, but Photoshop CS5 crashes at launch, and therefore I can’t go Photoshop>Help>Deactivate. Live chat, and phone-in customer support are full of high school drop outs that are still trying to figure out where the power button is on their computer. Eric, you seem like a knowledgeable person, or at least knowledgeable enough to fake it. Can I get a response from Adobe other than “1. Launch Photoshop. 2. Click Help>Deactivate. 3. Uninstall, and reinstall, and reactivate.” Apparently the dense skulls can’t figure out that step 1 is the problem I am having. If i could launch photoshop without it crashing, I wouldn’t be fighting this for the last 2 years.

      • By Eric Wilde - 3:50 PM on October 18, 2011   Reply


        We do still have on our backlog of work to do a means of deactivating machines from a web browser (either the machine used for browsing or other machines) and some progress is being made in that direction.

        That said, for the two issues you explicitly brought up here with your version of Photoshop:
        (1) Need to deactivate – If you can privately send me the version, language, platform and serial number (most importantly the serial number) then I can increase the activation limit for your serial number. This will allow you to install and execute Photoshop on a new machine. My email address is
        (2) Photoshop is crashing – If you want to investigate the crash, I can escalate to a Photoshop customer support specialist. You should find them very knowledgeable. This will involve some investment from you to help them isolate and debug the issue, so its up to you whether or not you want me to refer you.

        Please let me know.


  • By Eric Wilde - 3:39 PM on January 25, 2010   Reply

    no live support available today on Saturday because of a system upgrade
    I’m not sure what you mean here. We should have tech support available 24/7. Also, I’m not sure what problem is being encountered so I don’t know how else to respond. If you want to email me directly with some data about what problem is being encountered and on what systems I might be able to find someone to help.

  • By Sandy Young - 12:57 AM on January 28, 2010   Reply

    Adobe’s licensing system is a disgrace. I purchased Acrobat 9 Standard and it worked for a few hours until the Licensing System failed. The product was licensed and registered. Worse still, it took another Adobe licensed product down with it.
    I see the web is full of patches for this. Why? If I purchase a product I expect it to work and if it fails I expect the manufacturer to fix it, not supply me a tool kit and suggest I get started. Adobe has also failed to answer my Support Case request.
    Looks like I will be requesting a refund, which is sad because when it did work it worked well. Whoever thought up the licensing system needs to think again.
    Sandy Young.

  • By Spot - 7:10 PM on January 29, 2010   Reply

    Thanks for your open communication policy in this case. I respect your investment in time and the efforts you take to answer users about such unpleasant subjects!

  • By Kathleen R. Monday - 6:11 AM on February 4, 2010   Reply

    As a Newbie, I am always probing online for articles that can help me. Thank you

  • By Steave - 11:37 PM on February 11, 2010   Reply

    Interesting post as for me. I’d like to read something more concerning that theme. Thanx for giving that data.

  • By Schyler Jones - 9:59 AM on February 17, 2010   Reply

    I never had an issue with the limit but we do have problems with deactivation in general. Why in gawds name would the deactivation process need to be done from the computer to be deactivated, when a common reason for deactivation is due to a complete system crash, hard drive failure, etc. that renders the OS inaccessible? That’s always gotten me.

  • By Eric Wilde - 11:48 PM on February 17, 2010   Reply

    I hear you. It would be really helpful to have a way to deactivate other than on the system, which may now be unusable or inaccessible. We have a backlog item to try to provide an online way of deactivating an instance; but, there are plenty of other issues with a still higher priority. So I’m not sure when we’ll get to a web app that will deactivate.

  • By gerald Cooper - 8:54 AM on March 12, 2010   Reply

    I agree with the NEED for a way to activate/deactivate on failed systems. I just completed a new mainboard and Hard Disk replacement after failures, now I encounter that my LEGAL Acrobat Standard software will die in 30 days. The telephone activation process demands prior activation data that died with the system and the reinstall apparently advises Adobe that there is a new system board, which Adobe chooses to believe is in another PC! HOW CAN YOU TREAT CUSTOMERS THIS WAY?
    Live chat is down. The wait on the customer support line is intolerable (our time costs money! Our telephone minutes cost money!)
    Can someone at Adobe send me the activation solution? If not please have Adobe advise how I can get a refund for all the investment I have in the liscense.
    Thank You.
    Can I get a refund?

  • By Eric Wilde - 11:30 AM on March 12, 2010   Reply

    Gerald, I’ll respond to you offline. This is pretty typical scenario and we do have a quick way to deal with it.

    • By SusieS - 11:01 AM on December 14, 2010   Reply


      My iMac’s hard drive cratered & Apple had to replace it. I remembered someone asking you about this sort of situation in this discussion…

      Can I go ahead & install CS4 on my home computer again, or does Adobe have to do something about the now defunct installation first?


      • By Eric Wilde - 2:12 PM on December 14, 2010   Reply


        Retail licenses can be installed on two separate systems. With CS4 (not CS5 or Acrobat 10), the change of a hard drive will trigger the licensing system to consider the computer as a different system. So you may run into the two limit. If that’s the case, you should call customer care and let them know what happened. They can then increase the limit to unblock you.

        Feel free to send me email directly if you run into further problems. Customer support is usually faster than I am when people run into the two limit, though.


    • By Terri Winter - 10:00 PM on April 7, 2011   Reply

      reactivation greyed out on my “old” machine. I only just got my new machine from apple, and now have only 2 days left to reactivate and live chat to adobe is busy…. I can’t deactivate on old machine if button is greyed out.

      How can I do it??? I am going os tomorrow so need to do this!

      Anyone from adobe that can help me now?

      • By Eric Wilde - 10:28 AM on April 8, 2011   Reply


        I’ll follow up in email as well…

        Privately send me your:
        serial number
        platform information (including OS version, e.g. Mac OS X 10.5.8)
        product name and version (e.g. Design Premium CS4)
        purchased language information (e.g. International English, US English, French, etc…)

        You can send it directly to I’ll then bump up the activation limit by one.


        • By Lori C - 1:49 PM on April 11, 2011   Reply

          Is there a way I can get this too? I purchased a computer on 2/22/11 and on 3/15/11 (less than a month later), it decided to catch on FIRE! I had to call Dell and get a replacement and there was no way I could deactivate. I have PSE9 on another one of my computers so it put me over the limit. I had it on my computer for less than a month and I had to have the entire computer sent back and replaced.


          • By Eric Wilde - 2:00 PM on April 11, 2011  

            As I mentioned to others in email: you’ll get a much faster response if you work with customer support. I can help; but, I’m just one person and this isn’t the focus of my job. I’ll send you a private email with the data I need.

            You’ll still get a faster response with tech support, though.

    • By Alisha Landreth - 10:10 AM on April 9, 2011   Reply

      I just had the similar situation with my pc. Yet the motherboard crashed and they took my old hard drive and put it in the new pc along with the other hard drive. Now I have the warning for 30 days and I bought and need this program for school. Can I send you my serial number and have the limit removed. My other system it was on was my laptop which will no longer turn on. So I have no way to deactivate it on either system. If I could have just one more limit that would help me out a ton. Thank you!
      -Alisha Landreth

      • By Eric Wilde - 1:22 PM on April 11, 2011   Reply

        Sent private email response.

    • By Cecilia - 12:50 PM on May 28, 2011   Reply

      I have the exact same problem as some of these people, that my old computer is now inaccessible. My cat peed on my laptop and although I was able to take it to an apple service person to pull the data off and transfer it to a new computer that I had to buy unexpectedly…, I do not have a way of accessing my old programs (the service technician forgot to deactivate, and then when he reconnected to my old drive to try, the deactivate button was greyed out, so I can’t deactivate. I have to have this up and running before Monday night, and have not been able to find any adobe support that is available on the weekend. I have a new computer and all my software is still residing in the same folders as before, but i cannot activate OR deactivate. If anyone can help me I would truly appreciate it. I see Eric Wilde says there is a way to do this so I will send you an email separately, as I see you gave your adobe address. I’m so glad to see someone from adobe is willng to help us. I spent close to an hour on the phone last night (most of it on hold with two different people, and when I had finally gotten to the point where it seemed like we were getting somewhere, we got cut off, and although he had taken my number in case that happened, he never called me back. And by the time I realized he was not going to call, it was too late and adobe was closed for the weekend. This is so unacceptable for a company that makes products for those of us who often work on weekends out of necessity. And if we are working on the weekend, it’s usually something hot.

    • By kathleen - 9:25 AM on July 24, 2013   Reply

      Re: I installed all creative suite /cloud products (CS6 and CC master collection) on my main hard drive which has just failed. I can’t deactivate the products on the dead drive. I tried installing on the new drive but they won’t activate because I did not deactivate/deauthorize on the previous drive, which were mac and pc installs on different partitions. I wrote to another member on a private message, Millenium, because he seemed to know something about the procedure. I got this response from Ankit at Adobe who does not seem to know what a dead drive is, or what it means not to be able to deactivate/deauthorize. Since you offered to help Gerald, I thought you might give me a suggestion.

      created by Ankit Khurana in Downloading, Installing, Setting Up – View the full discussion
      Hi there,

      Unfortunately we cannot deactivate the products without accessing them however if you have a Creative cloud membership then it is possible to install and activate on a new machine.

      While activating it will ask you to De-activate previous machine (if the software is already installed on 2 machines) or else it will activate without any problems.



      • By Eric Wilde - 11:21 AM on July 24, 2013   Reply


        I’ll follow up in more detail in private email; but, for subscribers this worry about overactivation should be far less – particularly for the use case you site here. It is possible to install on another machine and remotely (or in this case, without the original hardware) deactivate the original system.

        The way its designed to behave for subscriptions is that if you install on a third system and don’t have an available activation you will get a message asking if you want to remotely deactivate the other systems. It seems you’re not seeing this behavior.

        I’ll follow up in private email to get the exact error message you do see.


  • By Jon Williams - 1:06 PM on March 16, 2010   Reply

    You said you’d respond to Gerald offline but since this a typical scenario why not post it where everyone can benefit? I too have the same issue with our purchases of Adobe products where after an inevitable system crash we are left with one less activation with no ability to deactivate. No refund needed here since other than lost activations the Adobe products work like a champ. Ok, on our Mac’s. PC’s not so much.

  • By Eric Wilde - 2:03 PM on March 16, 2010   Reply

    There isn’t a very good solution for customers to help themselves at this point. So I don’t have a good solution to share. The general approach is to interact with customer care. Customer care is well trained on this common issue.
    Long term what I want to do is one of two things:
    (1) Dramatically change the current activation policy. Its causing all sort of difficulties (such as this one) for customers. This is my preferred approach.
    (2) For the current activation policy provide a self-help tool. I’d really love to do this now; but, other priorities are consuming the engineering team.

  • By Jack - 5:39 PM on March 29, 2010   Reply

    Does the deactivation limit removal apply to Photoshop and Premiere Elements 8 as well?

  • By Eric Wilde - 10:31 PM on March 29, 2010   Reply


  • By byron sanders - 3:33 PM on April 12, 2010   Reply

    Hi Eric,
    I’m having the same reactivation problem as Gerald. I just replaced hard drive on a laptop and didn’t know about deactivation/activation and couldn’t have deactivated anyway as the drive died and I couldn’t save any info or boot up the device. I just reloaded from my OEM backup disk and was informed that the software has reached its activation limit. This is not a new device, just a reinstallation after hard drive replacement. Your help appreciated. Thanks.

  • By Eric Wilde - 3:37 PM on April 12, 2010   Reply

    I need some information from you specifically and will follow up in email.

  • By Steven Shippee - 8:25 PM on April 13, 2010   Reply

    What Adobe should look at is what SmartDraw does – I have SmartDraw software which can also be on any two computers.
    However, rather than deactivate/activate, I can FROM ANY COMPUTER connected to the internet, remove the activations myself, to allow the software to be installed on other computers.
    The SmartDraw server remembers the machines it has been installed upon, and if I am working between 5 or 6 (or 10 or 20) machines or virtual machines, I can eventually just manage which 2 PC’s are active via checkboxes. Much easier and no frustrated calls to tech support.
    It is worth a look perhaps?
    Steven Shippee
    Olympia, Washington

  • By Eric Wilde - 10:41 PM on April 13, 2010   Reply

    Yes, that is an approach we’ve considered. I also like what iTunes does around being able to turn off all machines through an online interface.
    That said, there are various piracy considerations with such an approach. In addition, I really want our business folks to take a good hard look at activation in general (I’m strictly in engineering.)

  • By Abdul Qabiz - 3:58 PM on April 17, 2010   Reply

    I upgraded my OSX from leopard to SnowLeopard, it was upgrade not clean install. After upgrade, I am not able to run Macromedia Flash 8 Professional. It says, a problem has been detected and please reinstall your software.
    I can see, it’s Macromedia Activation in title of windows. I also have CS4 version, it threw error first time and when I launched it again it works.
    How can I fix it? And why did it happen? I just upgraded the OS, it was not clean-install or something.

  • By Eric Wilde - 11:45 PM on April 18, 2010   Reply

    I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to help you. Macromedia Flash 8 was released many years ago and before Adobe acquired Macromedia. There have been multiple versions of the product released in the intervening years. Nobody on my engineering team has ever worked with Macromedia Flash 8. I suspect the real problem will be that the OS has indeed changed substantially (particularly with respect to security issues) over the years.
    That said, one area of which I’ve seen similar problems a more recent version (though still a couple of years old) of Adobe software is when the serial number on the Mac hardware is bogus. This only effects CS3 versions of Adobe software. The Macromedia Flash 8 licensing solution was closer to the CS3 versions of Adobe software than anything else in Adobe at this point. So it has a slim chance of being the same issue:
    Other than that, I think your best bet is to interact with customer service.

  • By Marijn Kampf - 1:52 AM on April 20, 2010   Reply

    I’ve got the same problem as several people stated above. Replaced HD in laptop and reinstalled CS3. States I need to deactive before I can reactivate. Should be able to do this without having to contact support or post on a forum…

  • By Eric Wilde - 2:49 PM on April 20, 2010   Reply

    This generally does need a customer support case to be resolved. I’ve sent you an email privately to speed things along a bit.

  • By Adam Hair - 5:12 PM on April 24, 2010   Reply

    I agree that this is a step in the right direction. Well done.
    However I would encourage adobe to seriously look at other issues that others have mentioned that need to be seriously dealt with too.
    I would suggest that while software piracy prevention needs to be considered – it’s been used way over the top which causes more problems for genuine users than it does pirates.
    There are always going to be the “what if’s” and loopholes in product activation but let’s face it – these are the exceptions and not the general rule.
    If someone is really trying to get around software piracy, they’re simply going to use a crack. It’s only the genuine users that most of these ‘additional traps / what if’s, etc’ are going to cause problems for.
    By all means have product activation / piracy prevention – but I urge you to make it simple, and have any decisions and functions err towards favoring the legitimate user instead of stopping the devious pirate.
    At the end of the day pirates will always find a way around the activation, but legitimate users will at the very least get annoyed and have an unpleasant experience, if not get fed up and find alternative solutions.
    I’m a developer myself, and my policy is that the customer should always come first – not the pirates.

  • By Eric Wilde - 10:00 PM on April 25, 2010   Reply

    I absolutely love your comments here. This is exactly the approach I’m trying to take. With CS5 coming out you’ll see the first of the changes in activation technology from my team (except for removing the deactivation limit.) In addition, the idea that we need to step back and review the business policies around activation are spot on.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  • By Simon Cooper - 3:29 PM on May 10, 2010   Reply

    I have a G5 PowerMac with Creative Suit 2 Standard. I now have a new Mac Pro Intel computer and will be upgrading to Creative Suit 5 Standard. Must I deactivate on my G5 Powermac or not?

  • By Eric Wilde - 3:45 PM on May 10, 2010   Reply

    No, you do not need to deactivate Creative Suite 2.

  • By Howard Scivinsky - 4:23 AM on May 14, 2010   Reply

    I have Adobe Design Premium CS4 and wasn’t aware of the Activation/Deactivation process. I had trouble with with my desktop pc and had to have my operating system reinstalled then I reinstalled the adobe software. Recently purchased a laptop and installed Adobe Premium CS4 on it and it said I already have it installed on two computers when actually I don’t but it was installed on the same desktop pc twice, but I failed to do the Deactivation process. What can I do to correct this problem and how do I go about it? Sorry about the long post. – Thank You – Howard

  • By Eric Wilde - 4:42 PM on May 14, 2010   Reply

    I’ll follow up with you in email.
    This is a common problem that we hope to have a made a significant dent on with CS5 and will continue to try to improve going forward by taking a good, hard look at our activation policies.

  • By Timothy Meyer - 3:57 PM on May 21, 2010   Reply

    Thanks for the post on the removal of activation limits. I had also run into the hardware failure problem last August.(Bad motherboard).
    Customer service did take care of the issue, but at the cost of over 2 hours of my time.
    So, I am glad to see that deactivation limits at least are now lifted, as this will allow me to more easily transition to Windows 7 platform without work interruption.

  • By Matt Pileggi - 10:58 AM on May 25, 2010   Reply

    I, too, have run into the de/activation issue after having lost my environment due to hard disk failure. I believe you that this is a frequent occurrence yet the first hit on google of the issue is this thread. Since I also understand engineering resources being tied up, could you provide a dedicated number or chat line for this type of issue? Or at least a page on’s support that leads people suffering from this issue to a quick resolution. I don’t mind making a call but I don’t like having to search all over for the answer, and then having to spend time locked up among customer service transfers.
    Thanks for the info, btw.

  • By David Goldstein - 7:04 AM on June 3, 2010   Reply

    Like so many others, I have a problem because of a computer crash so I cannot deactivate Photoshop Elements 8 on one computer because that computer no longer works. This is all a big pain for legitimate users.

  • By J Donovan - 5:12 PM on June 5, 2010   Reply

    Eric-I am an adjunct professor for a local university and use my personal PC for teaching. It recently crashed and I purchased a new one. I have Photoshop on one other personal PC in my home and tried to reinstall Photoshop on the new pc that I use for teaching. It is telling me to deactivate my other pc. I have no way to do this because it crashed and could not be saved. How can I resolve this?

  • By Eric Wilde - 12:59 AM on June 6, 2010   Reply

    Professor Donovan,
    You’d do best by contacting customer service and explain the situation to them. They should be able to quickly resolve the situation for you (copy/paste from
    call at 800-833-6687 and follow the prompt for “installing” to talk to an agent or have an agent call you back.
    For faster service:
    Have your serial number ready (found on the product box or on your order email) and make sure you have access to the computer on which you are installing.

  • By J Donovan - 6:20 AM on June 6, 2010   Reply

    Thank you for your quick response Eric! I called the number you gave me and they helped me reactivate!

  • By Terry MIller - 2:38 PM on June 30, 2010   Reply

    I also have CS4 extended and I can’t deactivate the program. I want to put this on a new computer but the deactivate is gray out. I have removed all other adobe products except bridge. I’m log in as aministor so thats not the problem.

  • By Eric Wilde - 9:38 PM on July 1, 2010   Reply

    If you reinstall on the same system you should be able to deactivate. If not, or if the reinstall fails for some reason, send me an email with your:
    precise product name
    serial number
    I’ll up the activation limit for that serial number.

  • By Bill Ledoux - 7:03 PM on July 21, 2010   Reply

    I too have a problem where a system failure forced me to replace the computer system. My Photoshop CS4 and Acrobat 8 Pro cannot be reinstalled on my new system because of too many installs. Do I have any recourse or will I need to repurchase the software? I ran across this forum and I see where other legitimate users had similar problems. How can I resolve this problem? I still have the disks with the product key and can provide those idf requested. I appreciate anything Adobe can do for me!

    • By Eric Wilde - 7:37 PM on July 21, 2010   Reply


      The way to most quickly address this problem is to call customer care. You can do so through finding the right telephone number for your locale at:

      If you run into a dead end there, drop me a line privately and include your:
      Product and Version
      Serial Number


  • By Bill Ledoux - 12:14 PM on July 22, 2010   Reply

    Thanks Eric, customer support helped me out and the problem is resolved…..

  • By GriffJ - 8:10 AM on September 17, 2010   Reply

    It has been too many years with this infuriating activation system. I’ve been battling it since purchasing CS3. With me, being a computer technician / IT person at the time CS3 came out I was flip-flopping between XP and Vista and never knew you had to deactivate.

    Within 2 or 3 months of purchasing CS3, so proud that I could afford it. (basically no average Joe can afford to buy CS in any flavour..) I was slapped in the face with “Too Many Activations” and have been battling it ever since.. Having to call up customer support every few months and even though in the end they activate my product, I feel like I am on the phone with them explaining 5 times, “I formatted my computer without deactivating.” like I am being interrogated.

    CS5 has been out a little while now and I have contemplated buying it but….. Every time I remember how poorly implemented the activation system is. I change my mind.

    Adobe, it’s easier to pirate your software, that use it legitimately…. Just saying.

    • By Eric Wilde - 11:54 AM on September 17, 2010   Reply

      With CS5 I became responsible for the activation solution. I had the same opinion as you. Now with CS5 its been completely reimplemented on the desktop side. Since CS5 shipped the number of customer support calls around activation have dramatically reduced (no escalations all the way to engineering yet.) So I’m happy with what the team has accomplished around activation for CS5. If you do end up giving CS5 a try please feel free to contact me about any activation problems. (

  • By Jackie - 2:00 AM on September 24, 2010   Reply

    I’m glad to see the 20 activation limit gone. Because I like to reinstall Windows often. But I still think there should be a online way to deactivate the software. Just in case you can’t get to the hard drive. Do you think that’s possible? I think Apple Itunes has a online deactivating way. Good news anyway.

  • By SusieS - 12:01 PM on September 30, 2010   Reply


    I am feeling a little paranoid, having just read all the responses here, so I thought I’d ask you…

    I used to have Illustrator10 installed on my work computer & my home computer, per the licensing agreement. It was wonderful & simple!

    We upgraded to CS4 some months back, but our tech at work told me I could no longer have a copy on my home computer without a major hassle (Activate/Deactivate).

    Is it a hassle to activate & reactivate each day or maybe 1-2 times a week.? Or is it a quick & simple switching process?

    I just need to know, because if I were to somehow screw things up & not be able to access Illustrator/Photoshop here at work, my manager would not be happy!

    Thanks in advance for the info! ~ Susie

    • By Eric Wilde - 12:48 PM on September 30, 2010   Reply


      Technologically you still have two activations on different machines available with CS4. So it should still work at your home. However, you may have company policies about home use that is outside the Adobe licensing technology. I suggest trying to be very clear with your manager and IT personnel about what you want to do. You can direct them to me if they have any technical questions (

      • By SusieS - 7:00 AM on December 21, 2010   Reply

        Thank you, once again, Eric. You are an excellent source of (timely!) information!

        Adobe – Treat this man RIGHT. He deserves it!!

  • By CathieP - 1:35 PM on October 12, 2010   Reply

    I have been a legitimate Adobe software user since the very early releases, but I must say I am now walking on eggshells when it comes to installing/using your software.

    I downloaded and installed the trial version of CS5 when it was first released, which caused all of my existing software (CS3 & CS4) to stop working. I had to spend several wasted hours of work time trying to fix it. (Support told me I had to remove the CS5 trial and everything else.)

    Finally got things working again and now a couple of months later, for no reason CS3 is giving me the dreaded “Licensing for this product has stopped working”. I am just retiring CS3, rather than trying to fix it for fear that the “fix” will cause my functioning CS4 version to stop working.

    After 20 years of keeping up to date with every new release, I will not be purchasing CS5 any time soon, if at all, for fear it will screw things up even further (and I never did get a chance to try it out). Such unnecessary stress for your long standing customers!

    (Glad you got rid of the deactivation limit, however, that’s a step in the right direction.)

    • By Eric Wilde - 1:58 PM on October 12, 2010   Reply


      We extensively tested coexistence of CS3 and CS5 on the same system. It should work just fine. I’m not sure what caused the issues you experienced. If you’re willing to work with us, we can try to debug your system and figure out the source of the problem.

  • By SusieS - 6:39 AM on October 13, 2010   Reply

    Eric ~

    I finally got around to installing my work copy of CS4 onto my home computer. As you know, I was a bit paranoid, given some of the stuff I’d read in this thread. My opinion?


    Went smooth as silk! All I have to do is remember to deactivate when I move back & forth. That shouldn’t be TOO difficult! Thanks again for all your help. Easy Peasy! 😉


  • By Tony Sleep - 6:45 PM on October 22, 2010   Reply

    Not being psychic I was unable to deactivate PSE CS3 just before my motherboard failed. The rebuild has entailed new disks (no PATA), CPU and RAM, so restore from a backup image wasn’t possible.

    So as indicated in this thread, I called UK customer support. Guess what? Lines too busy and I was robotically offered a callback “within 5-7minutes”. That was 9 hours ago.

    It’s now 2.30 am Saturday. I have a backlog of work to do and deliver, and no idea when I shall be able to do it thanks to Adobe protecting their product from legitimate use.. I am freelance, and am being forced to let clients down because of Adobe’s punitive, idiotic de/activation system. As if making a living as a photographer isn’t fragile enough already.

    Eric Wilde agreed that this is all unsatisfactory, back in February, but said there are “other issues of higher priority”. Not to Adobe’s poor unfortunate customers there aren’t.

  • By TOM MELOY - 5:40 AM on November 2, 2010   Reply

    I am having a deactivation issue. I need to discard one machine and install Acrobat 9 on another. I cannot deactivate the first one. It is dimmed out.

    Help please!

  • By Don Miles - 9:50 PM on December 12, 2010   Reply

    I am wanting to learn how to use Photoshop. I have an opportunity to buy CS3 or CS4. My first question is “Can I legally buy and use this software used?” If that is true what documentation do I need from the seller to legally install it onto my machine?
    P.S. It seems to me that my questions are tied to the activation/deactivation talked about in this thread.

    • By Eric Wilde - 11:19 PM on December 12, 2010   Reply


      It is generally acceptable for a retail customer to resell their CS3 or CS4 product. Proof of purchase, such as a receipt, should be adequate. Note that I’m an engineer, not a legal expert in any way.

      Updated: Note that there is a process for transferring ownership. See:


  • By shelly wynecoop - 11:16 AM on December 14, 2010   Reply

    Hi Eric,

    I just lost my hard drive. Can you drop me a line, please, to get me on the fast track to not losing my installs. CS3 Suite and PS CS5.

  • By Richard Clement - 3:15 AM on January 17, 2011   Reply

    Hi. I use CS5 Master for my work on Mac. I am a constant hardware fiddler, going from 5400 to 7200 to hybrid to finally SSD. Now I have changed my system to a new iMac and have finally run into activation issues after cloning my MacBook Pro HD onto the new machine. I will be using my “old” MacBook Pro for working from home occasionally. Just to clarify, When I do so can I suspend activation on the work machine, activate it on the home machine for the day then suspend that activation and so on indefinitely?

    • By Eric Wilde - 7:49 PM on January 17, 2011   Reply

      Yes, you should be able to swap unlimited times as you suggest.

  • By kpatterson - 8:38 PM on January 19, 2011   Reply

    I have Acrobat 8 Pro and am trying to move it from an old machine that is being junked to a new machine. But the option to deactivate is greyed out! Installing to the new machine in 30-day trial mode for now, but cannot activate since I’m at the limit for activations on our serial. (until I can free one up by deactivating). How can I deactivate software that won’t deactivate???

    • By Eric Wilde - 10:25 PM on January 20, 2011   Reply

      Usually this means the product isn’t actually activated. What platform is this? Note that Acrobat 8 Pro on Mac does not activate.

  • By Noah - 11:41 AM on January 23, 2011   Reply

    I have a desktop at work and a laptop for home and travel…do I have to deactivate the software every time? Does this mean even though I am the only user I cannot keep two machines running, e.g. if I get called out from work without deactivating or shutting down I can’t use the software on the laptop?

    • By Eric Wilde - 12:12 AM on January 24, 2011   Reply

      Yes; but, you’ll be able to do it with any two machines active at one time.

  • By Jeff Hooper - 2:13 PM on February 10, 2011   Reply

    Hi Eric –
    I am getting an activation limit reached warning from PSE 9 on one of my laptops.
    I would prefer to permanently deativate this installation and uninstall it, leaving the
    installations on the other two machines intact.
    (These are not giving the activation limit warning).
    The offending installation’s deactivate option is grayed out, however.
    Please advise . . .

    • By Eric Wilde - 2:34 PM on February 10, 2011   Reply

      I’ll respond in email directly.

      • By David Brown - 4:23 AM on February 28, 2013   Reply

        Eric, I have the same problem as Jeff above.

        I need to deactivate Adobe Premiere Elements 10 from one of my PCs, but the option to do so is grayed out and therefore not available.

        Please advise.

  • By Melissa - 10:03 PM on February 18, 2011   Reply

    My hard drive crashed on my old computer, meaning I was not able to deactivate my Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. I had it installed on that computer as well as my work computer. Now I am trying to install it on my new home computer, and it won’t let me. Says I only have 2 installs available. How might I deactivate a computer that no longer exists? I just purchased this software 6 months ago, and use it to edit all my photography. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


    • By Eric Wilde - 1:00 AM on February 21, 2011   Reply


      The best thing to do is contact Adobe customer support. I can also handle this issue; but, I’m a little slower than customer support since handling such issues isn’t my normal task. I’ll send you email privately to close.

  • By Barry - 9:04 AM on March 9, 2011   Reply

    I recently came in as a temp in a position at Vanderbilt University. I had been using trial versions for Adobe products because none appeared to be active. However, the assignments is lasting longer than the trial period. I just found CS3 software disks at my desk. The download completed. But now I’m getting “too many activations” whenever I try to use any application in the suite. Any suggestions?

    • By Eric Wilde - 11:33 AM on March 9, 2011   Reply


      That error message comes up when Adobe’s servers believe the software is already in use on two systems.

      The software must be activated on a system in order to use it. Each time the software is activated on new hardware the activation count is incremented. Our implementation of the wording in the End User License Agreement stipulates that a retail license can only be activated on any two systems at once. Odds are that this serial number has been activated on at least two systems already. If those systems were decommissioned without deactivating, then the Adobe servers still believe the software is in use.

  • By Robert - 7:05 PM on March 29, 2011   Reply

    Adobe Licensing is a huge PITA. It creates pain for legit users. I have purchased LEGITIMATE Adobe software yet I have resorted to using PIRATED Adobe software just so I can avoid the activation hassles! That, my friend, is a sad state of affairs.

    And now, I cannot reinstall my Adobe Acrobat 8 Standard, for which I have an original legit Adobe disk and serial number, on my new laptop after the old one fried from an electrical storm — because the bloody activation problem. Do I need to download a pirated version of Acrobat 8 Standard now, too?

  • By Robert - 5:50 AM on March 30, 2011   Reply

    I just worked with an online chat representative and he fixed my activation problem for me. I thank him for his help. But I am still pretty annoyed that I had to do this. Here we are, in the 21st century. Adobe ought to figure out a better way to facilitate activation for legitimate customers.

    Pirates will ALWAYS exist, there is no stopping them. These activation hijinks do more to annoying pay customers than they do to prevent piracy. As I said in my earlier post, I’ve resorted to using pirated versions of software that I PAID FOR just to avoid such issues.

  • By Adrian - 5:26 AM on April 2, 2011   Reply


    I’m trying to deactivate my Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 but each time it says that it can’t connect to the Adobe servers. I’ve tried with my firewall turned off but still the same. And yet, when I click to check on updates it can do so, albeit no updates available (unless it can’t differentiate no updates and no connection to server).

    Any advice on how to get this sorted?


    • By Eric Wilde - 11:21 AM on April 5, 2011   Reply


      What happens if you point your browser to “”?

      If you get a 404 then you’re unable to reach the server for some reason. In such a case the communication failure is very likely in your own environment.

      If you just get a blank response then you’re able to reach the server and it responds. The bug is then likely within the Elements code itself. In such a case, please send me an email and we can try to debug it remotely.


  • By Rick - 4:15 PM on April 2, 2011   Reply

    Seems this is a recurring problem for m any who have to replace or chosen to replace hard drives without deregistering their products. I have Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 and it was installed on my original hard drive. When I upgraded the drive in my MacBook Pro (at the Apple certified dealer) I just formatted the original drive and put it in a external HD case and use it for a portable drive. I re-installed my Dreamweaver CS4 and activated. All was good. I just bought a Mac Pro machine and migrated all my info, accounts and programs to the new machine. But I want to have my Dreamweaver on both. But when I tried to activate on the Mac Pro it said the product was already installed and activated on two machines. It isn’t, but one install was never de-activated, so I guess it appears to be installed twice. I’ve search online to see from my Adobe account how I can manage my licenses, but there is no option to de-activate an installation which is no longer accessible via the actual operating system.

    Must I call a help desk, or is there a way to do this as a user? I still have it on my MabBook Pro, but I’ve had to de-activate to be able to activate on my MacPro.

    • By Eric Wilde - 11:24 AM on April 5, 2011   Reply


      Yes, this is a common problem. We’ve been addressing it in a couple of ways:
      (1) For any products prior to CS5/Acrobat X a customer support call can workaround the issue. If you end up getting blocked by customer support for any reason send me an email directly ( and we can try to resolve it. I’m slower than customer service since I’m in core engineering and my day-to-day tasks are focused elsewhere; but, I can help.
      (2) For CS5/Acrobat X we re-implemented the activation solution to be much more tolerant of these types of problems.
      (3) We’re currently working toward an online portal to manage your own activations even without access to the installed machine.


      • By Anne - 2:25 AM on September 25, 2011   Reply

        My iMac harddrive has recently gone kaput so I am unable to deactivate my CS5 from that machine. I’ve just purchased a new machine and am trying to install CS5, but I’m getting the activation alert that I’ve already reached my 2-computer limit (CS5 is installed on my macbook as well).

        I’m happy to hear that a portal for activation management is being developed, but I am not seeing how to resolve this problem independently at the moment. Is contacting customer support the only solution?

  • By Rick - 7:18 PM on April 5, 2011   Reply

    Thanks, I’ll see how the phone call goes first. A self service portal would be the best and easiest.


  • By Kristian Martin - 5:00 PM on April 27, 2011   Reply


    I’m so glad that Adobe has you and you have this blog. I am probably in the situation where I have both exceeded deactivations for my CS3/CS4 licenses AND somewhere in the process lost a few activated installations due to migrations on the Mac platform and such. I am really hoping you can place that portal management system in place soon as that would solve many people’s needs. Thanks for taking the time to help everyone here.

    • By Eric Wilde - 11:52 AM on April 28, 2011   Reply

      Thanks for the kind words. This really helps to keep me motivated. Cheers!

  • By Bill - 12:53 PM on May 12, 2011   Reply

    I have CS5 installed on two desktops, one in AZ and one in CO, I am never in both locations at the same time and currently both are active. I want to install CS5 on my laptop and what I was planning to do was deactivate one of the desktops, AZ for example, keep the CO active and intall CS5 on the laptop and activate it. Then when I come back to AZ, deactivate the CO desktop and reactivate the AZ desktop. I spend about 6 months in each location, so each desktop would be active for 6months and the laptop full time. Will this work?

    • By Eric Wilde - 12:57 PM on May 12, 2011   Reply


      Yes, this should work.

  • By Tim - 8:54 AM on June 16, 2011   Reply

    I have to say I am impressed with the service I just received. My comp crashed and I needed to re-install, I opened a support chat and they had the old license deactivated within a couple of minutes and I was able to finish my install.

    • By Eric Wilde - 8:57 AM on June 16, 2011   Reply

      Thanks for letting us know. Its rare and welcome positive feedback. 🙂

  • By Mike Boczenowski - 10:41 PM on August 30, 2011   Reply

    Attempting to deactivate CS3. Activate/deactivate are greyed out; returns a blank page. Can you please advise?

  • By Mike Boczenowski - 5:51 AM on August 31, 2011   Reply

    I’ve solved the problem. I believe I was trying to deactivate the suite from Adobe Reader. I assume the (de)activation was disabled because Reader is a free component. Launched Photoshop and was able to deactivate and subsequently activate on a different computer.

  • By BUMMED - 7:44 PM on August 31, 2011   Reply

    What happens if you hard drive breaks and you cannot access anything to deactivate? I completely lost everything the motor is burn out and it would cost $1800 to retrieve data from this drive. That is more than 3 laptops.

    HELP. I am very frustrated with the online support and support individual in INDIA.

    Made in the USA

  • By Andrea Rodriguez-Ahl - 3:18 PM on September 25, 2011   Reply

    I purchased a used copy of CS4 on ebay, installed it on my MacBook Pro. That laptop died, completely unusable, though I have the hard drive. I bought a new MacBook Pro and just transferred all the files from the old one to it. Now I get a message that I already have the software on 2 other computers. I assume the previous owner didn’t deactivate the software before selling. I did submit via fax the transfer of license form. I’ve tried resolving this calling Adobe and by the chat system with no resolution. What can I do, I have future freelance design work on the line.

  • By Juanita Echelbarger - 9:41 PM on September 25, 2011   Reply

    I deactivated my PSE 9 and uninstalled it on both my pc and laptop and put that copy onto my niece’s laptop. I then purchased another PSE 9 (obviously a different SN) and installed the new one onto my pc and laptop. She continues to get the message saying that the copy she has installed is on two other computers…how can we fix this because it is NO LONGER installed on any other computer..just her laptop.

  • By Jody Rodgers - 10:52 AM on September 26, 2011   Reply

    We’ve had a few comments come this weekend regarding deactivation. In both cases I advise contacting Adobe’s Support group:

    Jody Rodgers | Senior Product Manager | Enterprise & Volume | Creative Suite | Adobe Systems

    • By Andrea Rodriguez-Ahl - 6:35 PM on September 26, 2011   Reply

      Jody, Believe me I tried both via phone and the chat syst3em to no avail when speaking to your overseas customer service people. When I tried via phone, I continuously answered the same questions 2-4 times, then after over an hour I was disconnected and the man did not call me back even after he took my phone number in the event we got disconnected. When I tried through the chat system, I was told me there was nothing he could do and felt like I was getting a complete runaround. I thought I was blessed to have come across this post by Eric Wilde, someone who spoke my language and would actually listen to me. Please help me, Eric.

  • By Chuck - 2:12 PM on September 27, 2011   Reply

    I have had CS-3 on two computers, but one computer has died completely, so I can’t deactivate the license. I need to install/activate the software on the replacement computer ASAP.

    • By Jody Rodgers - 2:20 AM on September 28, 2011   Reply

      Sorry to hear about your dead computer, hopefully you had a backup. I recommend contacting Adobe’s Support group:

      Jody Rodgers | Senior Product Manager | Enterprise & Volume | Creative Suite | Adobe Systems

  • By jxramos - 12:34 PM on October 26, 2011   Reply

    I have a somewhat related question, what is one to make with the product keys being sold on Craigslist. Is there a way to verify if they’re legitimate or not? I suppose if they pass the activation test? What are the issues involved here.


    • By Eric Wilde - 12:57 PM on October 26, 2011   Reply


      That’s an excellent question! I’ll try to get one of our anti-piracy experts to post here as well; but, here’s my take:

      The easiest way to ensure your serial number is legitimate is to have the software activate. One problem here is that since CS5 activation is totally silent. So its not obvious is a product has activated or not. To compound the difficulty, counterfeit software most often bypasses the activation technology by quietly editing the hosts file to block access to the activation server. You can see if your hosts file is edited by trying to connect to our activation server in a browser (not, ping doesn’t work here as its blocked on the server side):

      1. point your browser to
      2. you should get a 404 error if your hosts file is not adversely edited

  • By Meblarstwo - 5:09 AM on October 28, 2011   Reply

    Here is a nice blog, a lot of information, without copying, nor repeating – just GREAT! It’s awesome to find anything different! You can be sure I’ll be your regular visitor…

  • By Robin S - 11:09 AM on October 30, 2011   Reply

    I’m a landscape photographer and I have my home machine configured as dual boot Win7 32bit and 64 bit. For a variety of reasons usually use the 32bit. I also have my laptop which I use regularly when I’m away from home. Microsoft allows me to install Win7 on both boots and counts them as one activation. Obviously I can’t use both OSs at the same time. However CS5 counts them as two activations so I can’t have the dual boot machine and my laptop with copies of Photoshop on them. I usually use PS on the 64bit boot but I would like to at least have the choice to operate it on the 32bit boot.. Any suggestions?


  • By Allan Wood - 5:42 PM on November 7, 2011   Reply

    Eric. I will be upgrading the OS on my iMac from Leopard (OS 10.5.8) to Snow Leopard (OS 10.6.x), then eventually to Lion (10.7.x). I run PSCS5 (12.0.4) on this single machine and will not be installing PCSC5 on any other machine. Do I need to: (1) deactivate PSCS5 in OS 10.5.8; then (2) upgrade the OS to OS 10.6.x; then (3) attempt to open PSCS5 in OS 10.6.x; then (4) activate PSCS5 in OS 10.6.x? What if PSCS5 will not open and run under the upgraded OS, so that it could not be activated following the OS upgrade? I get mixed messages from numerous forums that can be summarized as: (a) no need to deactivate then reactivate; (b) never a problem if you do not deactivate-activate; (c) you need to do so. The later seems to be the message on the Adobe Photoshop ‘Deactivation-Activation’ page which frankly is confusing enough that a good lawyer could drive a truck through it. I look forward to an authoritative reply!

    • By Eric Wilde - 12:15 AM on November 8, 2011   Reply


      Our testing has shown that in most cases upgrading the Mac OS version should not adversely impact the PSCS5 license. There should be no need to deactivate the Adobe software prior to upgrading the Mac OS version.

      We have a few instances where customers have run into the Mac OS version upgrade changing access privileges on their system such that the license files for Adobe software could not longer be read or written to. When access privileges on the system change then Adobe’s software will stop working. Reverting the access privileges of these folders and files (//Library/Application Support/Adobe/SLStore*/*) to their prior value should rectify such problems.

      Note that if you do deactivate, there is no explicit step needed to reactivate. The product will automatically and silently reactivate itself on the next launch of the product.

      If you run into problems, you can find me here or at my direct email address:

  • By Allan Wood - 5:51 PM on November 8, 2011   Reply

    Thanks a lot. I imagine that my question could be quite common, so hopefully others see your answer.

  • By Melissa Miracle - 12:41 PM on November 16, 2011   Reply

    I have had CS3 installed on my work computer and my home computer. My home computer crashed and now I can not install it on my home computer again. I don’t really use it at work much so I was going to deactivate it, but I am behind a proxy and it won’t deactivate. I have called and sent emails and used the chat, but no one can help me. PLEASE can someone help me.

    Thanks in advance!!!

  • By Larry - 8:05 PM on November 27, 2011   Reply


    I previously installed CS4 on 2 other Macs. I did not de-activate them on those machines. They have since been re-formatted and wiped out and CS4 is no longer installed on them.

    I have then installed CS4 on my new Mac but now I’m getting a message stating that CS4 is installed on 2 other machines and I need to deactivate them. I can’t as they have been reformatted.

    Can anyone from Adobe help on this?

  • By Larry - 5:59 PM on November 28, 2011   Reply

    I previously installed Adobe Photoshop CS4 on 2 different Macs a few months ago. They have since been re-imaged/formatted.
    I did not de-activate the CS4 on both machines.

    I have actually installed that copy of CS4 on my new Mac. When I open CS4 on the new Mac, I get a message stating that I have CS4
    installed on the other machines and I need to de-activate them.

    As they have been re-imaged, how is it possible to de-activate those machines? I want to use it on this machine.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    • By Eric Wilde - 7:33 PM on November 28, 2011   Reply


      You’ll get a faster response if you go directly through Adobe Customer Support as I’m just one person who works primarily on internal engineering issues. Blog responses sometimes take a few days before I get to them.

      If you aren’t able to work with customer support for some reason or they don’t resolve your needs satisfactorily, I can help you. I’ll need the exact product purchased and your serial number. Please email directly to me as putting the serial number on the blog isn’t appropriate.

      –Eric (

  • By JimmyB - 12:25 AM on January 4, 2012   Reply

    +1 for Adobe 🙂 Great news!

  • By Jim G - 4:22 PM on January 26, 2012   Reply

    Any timeline yet on the rumored Activation Portal?

    • By Eric Wilde - 4:51 PM on January 26, 2012   Reply

      No, no dates that we can share at this time.

  • By Steve - 2:19 AM on January 29, 2012   Reply

    I just received my macbook back after the logic board had to be replaced. Now cannot run CS5 because it says already installed on 2 computers! This is the same computer…Was I required to deactivate CS5 before wiping the computer? I have been searching the Adobe website and NO email support is offered! Unbelievable!!! I need CS5 installed on both of my computers…..

    • By Eric Wilde - 3:36 PM on January 30, 2012   Reply


      My email response to you bounced. Can you privately send me the following info and I can correct the issue on our servers? Please send it in email as I’m requesting sensitive data.

      Exact product purchased (e.g. Photoshop Extended CS5.0)
      Serial Number

      –Eric (

  • By Sara - 4:20 PM on February 16, 2012   Reply

    I am having trouble too – I am trying to switch everything over to a new computer, and I am unable to deactivate Premiere CS3 or Encore CS3. It acts like I’m not connected to the internet, even when I turn my firewall completely off. I need to get this done so I can get working on a project. What can I do?

    • By Eric Wilde - 4:26 PM on February 16, 2012   Reply

      One possible cause is if you’ve purchased counterfeit software, which often blocks access to the Adobe servers by changing your hosts file. The customer is often completely innocent and unaware that the $10 cheaper price paid for the software is due to it not actually being Adobe software.

      Try to install and activate on a new system. If it works just fine, go right ahead and use the software. Either its counterfeit but still serves your needs, or the deactivation was never required in the first place. If you do run into problems on trying to install/activate on the new system, send me the following information in email to

      Title and version of software
      Language purchased (e.g. US English, French, Korean)
      Serial Number

      Please don’t post your serial number to this forum.


      • By Sara - 11:41 AM on February 17, 2012   Reply

        Wow. I tried to activate it on the new computer and at first got the same sort of error, but then I tired it again and Premiere and Encore both activated. Is there any other explanation other than it being counterfeit? I hope it isn’t, since I bought it directly from (not an affiliated seller) in 2008. Thank you for your advice, I guess. I probably would have tried a LOT of other things before I thought to just see if it would work on my new system…

      • By Sara - 11:44 AM on February 17, 2012   Reply

        I just read some more conversations above, and tried to go to the Adobe adtivate site and DID get a 404 error message. That’s good, right?

  • By scot - 7:43 AM on February 17, 2012   Reply

    I think I just got nailed by the past Adobe deactivation policies. I am a casual user of elements, have a number of discarded old computers, and really don’t want to be an activation/deactivation expert. I just wasted a half hour getting a copy of elements 8 to continue working. The chat person fixed the problem but it should never have happened in the first place.

    It sounds like this is less likely to be as much of a problem going forward but you need to to accept that most users don’t want to be computer gurus and only use Adobe because its products have proven to be relatively foolproof and transparent.

    By the way, I don’t want to spend hours searching the internet for tricks to make things happen. Just give me a simple, intuitive, product and keep all the bells and whistles for the corporate types who aren’t constrained by the need to feed a family in the real world.

  • By Robert - 5:09 AM on February 22, 2012   Reply

    I’m going to downgrade from Mac OS X Lion to Snow Leopard due to the new OS’s tendency to overheat the CPU and generally slow the system to such an extent as to render even the most superficial applications unusable. I intend to back up the data in my User folder by copying it over to an external disk. But do I need to deactivate Adobe before I wipe my drive?

    • By Eric Wilde - 3:19 AM on February 23, 2012   Reply


      Sorry for the slow reply. I’ve been traveling and just got back online.

      In short, yes. You should deactivate on Lion before downgrading to Snow Leopard as a precaution against bugs. Our testing shows that you should be able to downgrade without deactivating first; but, bugs can happen. It doesn’t hurt to deactivate now and then reactivate (just launch the product, reactivation is automatic) later.


  • By Sylvia - 10:37 AM on February 28, 2012   Reply

    Can anyone help me abit of a novice in this area. I have PSE9 installed on my laptop and I used to have it binstalled on my desktop. Unfortunately the desktop blew up and I have now replaced it but after installing PSE9 I get bthe message that it has been activated on 2 computers and I must de-activate one copy, How?? I don’t want to de-activate on the laptop I just want it activated on both my PCs. Has anybody any idea how I can do this when I don’t have access to the original desktop – It’s gone to PC heaven in the sky!!


    • By Eric Wilde - 11:01 PM on February 28, 2012   Reply


      Your best bet is to contact Adobe customer service. This is a pretty standard issue that they can resolve in a few minutes. Alternatively, you can privately send me email ( with:

      Product Name & Version
      Platform (Win, Mac)
      Serial Number

      With this information I can file a customer service request as well. Note that I’m just one individual and often on travel or meeting with customers, so my response time is generally slower than just contacting customer service directly.

  • By David - 10:10 PM on March 7, 2012   Reply

    Mr. Wilde,

    I somehow luckily stumbled across this page. Are you, in fact, part of Adobe Customer Service? It appears you’ve helped a lot of people above. After some (not surprisingly) unfruitful attempts to contact tel. support, I’m once again pretty much stuck alone. (I’ve unfortunately had some TERRIBLE experiences with cust. support over the past two years… even to the extent that I was basically unable to use my entire CS4 Master Collection for over a year. There should be many MANY notes on my account that hopefully you have access to.)

    Anyway, I’m basically trying to use it again after being completely worn down by Adobe, and letting it sit defeated for way too long. It appears I’m now running into that “activation/deactivation problem” so many have had above. Hopefully, you can help. If you think you can, I’ll email any and all necessary info to you.

    Thank you,

    • By Eric Wilde - 4:08 PM on March 8, 2012   Reply


      I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties you’re having. I’ll send you an email privately to help address them right away.

      No, I’m not a part of customer service. I’m in core engineering; but, am trying to keep a channel open directly with customers.

  • By Kati Teague - 3:22 AM on March 9, 2012   Reply

    I am going crazy trying to get hold of Adobe support personnel. Hanging on the phone for hours on end with no answer, just endless music, is a disgrace and a complete lack of care for customers.
    My hard drive died and had to be replaced and now I cannot use the photoshop elements 6 i had purchased and installed on my old hard drive. I cannot deactivate the programme from the previous dead hard drive so it can be activated on the new one – what is the solution? I cannot afford to buy another version of PE, nor should I have to as I have already paid for the copy I have. Please Adobe, sort this out?

    • By Eric Wilde - 5:14 PM on March 9, 2012   Reply


      I really must apologize for the severe support issue you faced. I can help you if you privately send me the following information:

      Product: Photoshop Elements 6
      Platform: Mac or Win?
      Serial Number: ?

      Please send this privately to and I can have customer support increase the activation limit for you.


  • By Bill Matthews - 8:29 PM on March 9, 2012   Reply

    Just getting ready to restore my laptop to factory defaults (don’t ask) and I came across this thread…Whomever you are, Eric, you epitomize the very best in customer service from a large organization, and I applaud your attitude, sincere desire to help, and going ‘outside your box’ to do so.

    Kudos to you!

    • By Eric Wilde - 12:02 AM on March 11, 2012   Reply


  • By Doug - 2:35 PM on March 13, 2012   Reply

    Hello Eric,
    I have read quite a few replies from you regarding Adobe products and would like to ask the following questions which will clarify your responses.

    I have Adobe creative suite 5 design premium on our work computer and am buying a laptop to use at home.

    I am aware that I can have it on my single work computer and a copy on my home laptop, with a single license.

    a/ Do I need to deactivate it each time on the computer I am not using and activate it on the computer I am using?
    I see now that there is no longer a maximum of 20 deactivations.

    b/ Can I have the program on my work computer and on my laptop and just be aware not to use the program simultaneously?

    These are basically terribly simple questions and I apologise for asking them, but the dozens of answers posted everywhere seem to have conflicting answers. I do hope that the answer is as simple as b/

    • By Eric Wilde - 2:58 PM on March 13, 2012   Reply

      No need to apologize. Our activation policy is confusing for customers and I’d really love to simplify it; but, what is possible now is:

      You can use the software on two systems at the same time with the same serial number. The End User License Agreement specifies one home and one work computer; but, from a purely technical perspective it can be any two systems. Those two systems can use the software simultaneously without the need to deactivate.

      If you want to more to a third system sometime in the future you’ll need to deactivate on one of the two existing machines to migrate to the third system. Its always wise to deactivate if your going to decommission a computer or uninstall the software from it.

      Hope this helps,

  • By Francis - 10:24 PM on March 13, 2012   Reply

    I have a doubt regarding license if the system totally crash and unable to on the machine to deactive the product what is the solution for that,can the product activate in other system.

    • By Eric Wilde - 11:09 PM on March 13, 2012   Reply

      In this situation the best thing to do is contact customer support and explain the situation. Customer support can then increment the activation limit to recover the license for you.

  • By Francis - 12:04 AM on March 14, 2012   Reply

    Thank u for the Response

  • By Kim - 6:03 AM on March 15, 2012   Reply


    I did deactivate my cs4 master suite collection on my laptop before I removed it, and have registered same on my desktop after I installed cs4, yet, EVERY TIME I attempt to update cs4, it ALWAYS says “No Updates Available.” Please advise.

    Also, every time I’ve tried to talk with the Adobe “heavy Indian accented” customer service reps, I get so frustrated with them not listening to what I have said and responsing with there “canned” speeches/responses, it makes me want to scream and run away. I did finally get one of them to indicated they had a record of my deactivation, but as I said, now that I have installed cs4 on my desktop, I am unable to get ANY updates, FOR MONTHS! I’m also having trouble with Soundbooth provided very strange 1″ x1″ icon for my mouse pointer should be, and displaying very strangely and distorted.

    Please advise.

    Thanks, Kim

  • By Kim - 6:20 AM on March 15, 2012   Reply

    Hi Eric

    Just read one of your responses on 13 MAR 2012, indicating we can have Adobe software on “two” systems simultaneously. That is not what Adobe customer service told me several months ago. They told me I would be required to “deactivate” then “remove” cs4 from my laptop, then install it on my desktop. I did as instructed, and now can’t get ANY UPDATES for my desktop, and other problems with programs diplaying improperly, etc.. Soooooooooo FRUSTRATING!!!!!!!!!!
    Hope you can help, and thanks again! Kim

  • By Kim - 5:46 PM on March 15, 2012   Reply

    Today, after contacting two adobe customer support personnel via chat, I was told their servers indicate my cs4 master suite collection was “deactivated” AUG of 2011, and has not been “reactivated.” In accord with the Adobe Website at:

    CS4 is supposed to automatically reactivate when you go online the first time after installation. I have been online many times attempting to update the software, but to no avail.

    They then instructed me to manually “activate” my software, but in accord with my software, (I opened at least five different programs), under the help menu, there is NO place to activate my software, ONLY to “deactivate.”

    When I told them this, they told me I need to completely UNINSTALL the Master Suite Collections, about five discs, then reinstall the entire Suite, (several hours of work) and MAYBE it will reactivate! MAYBE, MAYBE, several hours of work, to MAYBE activate the software to enable me to update it? Please advise if there is a more reasonable method for me to obtain Updates. Thanks!

  • By Kim - 12:47 PM on March 16, 2012   Reply

    On or about 14/15 MAR 2012, I posted three comments/questions in regard to problems I have been experiencing with Adobe CS4 Master Suite Collection reactivation, and requested your help.

    Why have all three posts been removed from this page, yet I have not received ANY response from you?

  • By Kim - 12:50 PM on March 16, 2012   Reply

    This is strange, the moment I posted my question as to why my previous posts had been removed, and pressed the “Post” button, the posts which were not there, suddenly appeared! Maybe it was because they are still awaiting moderation.

    • By Eric Wilde - 1:32 PM on March 18, 2012   Reply


      You are correct that posts go through moderation (either by me or Jody, whomever gets to it first.) I’ve been out of office and so didn’t get to moderating this site until this Sunday.

      It looks like something odd is going on with CS4 on your system, to state the obvious. This could be the result of a number of causes. I work with core engineering and will line up someone who writes this code to take a look at what is happening on your system. This is going to take a little bit of investigation on your system. I’ll send you the details in private email.


  • By Naren - 8:36 AM on March 26, 2012   Reply

    Hi Eric, Jody and all,

    I have a Design Premium CS3 software and I have been using it on my wondows machine for few years. This weekend, the desktop crashed it wont even allow to login so that I could deactivate the Design Premium CS3 and reinstalled later after reformatting the hard drive.

    As I kept backing up my work. I had no idea that my desktop will die this way.
    As it sounds like I am on right forum for help I need to deactivate my current install with help of the Adobe or whatever way I need to folow to save my software license.

    Any guidance on my situation will be very helpful.

    Thanks All.

    • By Eric Wilde - 11:26 AM on March 26, 2012   Reply


      You generally have two activations available to you. So if you haven’t installed on any other systems then you should have one activation remaining. So, likely you’ll be able to just install and use now.

      If you run into an overactivation message the best thing to do is contact customer support and let them know that you lost your system and need to increment the activation limit.

  • By Paying Customer - 3:43 PM on March 28, 2012   Reply

    So i’ve just read through a couple of years of comments on the Greyed out Deactivate button, without seeing any resolution.

    Surely after years of this, there is a way to fix this?

    • By Eric Wilde - 3:49 PM on March 28, 2012   Reply

      It depends on the product version and exact scenario you’re encountering. There are a handful of issues at play here and we would need to dig into your particular scenario to know how to resolve. Feel free to email me directly (

      • By Paying Customer - 4:05 PM on March 28, 2012   Reply

        It’s Acrobat Professional version 9. It hasn’t (currently) been updated at all, so it’s 9.0.0.

        • By Eric Wilde - 9:17 PM on March 28, 2012   Reply

          OK. That helps pinpoint the version of the activation implementation. I’ll still need the other data requested to go any farther.

          >What platform are you using? Mac OS X 10.7.3? Windows 7 Home? This will give a lot of context as the software always operates slightly differently in different environments.

          Is the product serialized? If so, can you please send me a private email with the serial number? The serial number will give me information such as platform, language, etc. With the serial number I can also look up the activation history to see what has happened before with this serial number on various machines. This can help me piece together the steps made to get to this point.<

  • By Paying Customer - 3:57 PM on March 28, 2012   Reply

    The scenario is that I installed the software on a second computer, in preperation for decomissioning the first. It apparently activated without me telling it to, and now I can’t deactive the software. Worse than that, it deactivated on the first computer.

    So now it’s deactivated on the first computer, because it’s activated on the second. But I can’t deactivate on the second, because its’ greyed out. How do I get it to ungray out, or do a manual-override style deactivation?

    • By Eric Wilde - 6:16 PM on March 28, 2012   Reply

      Hmmm. That behavior doesn’t sound at all like the intent of the implementation.

      We need to get a lot more specific to figure out what is happening here. I’m happy to take this to a private email; but, your comments use a generic email address and I”m not sure it will get to you. Feel free to respond to my direct email address (

      First, I need to know what product and what version. For example, is this Photoshop CS5? The product and version will dictate which implementation of the activation behavior we’re working with here. That is all important in figuring out what has gone wrong.

      What platform are you using? Mac OS X 10.7.3? Windows 7 Home? This will give a lot of context as the software always operates slightly differently in different environments.

      Is the product serialized? If so, can you please send me a private email with the serial number? The serial number will give me information such as platform, language, etc. With the serial number I can also look up the activation history to see what has happened before with this serial number on various machines. This can help me piece together the steps made to get to this point.

      In the last few versions, activation has been intentionally silent. There is no action needed to activate the software. Just launch it and an activation attempt will happen automatically. The “Deactivate” menu item is usually grayed out and unselectable when the product is *not* activated. So I suspect the second machine is actually not activated. Also, unless you have a subscription product there should be no remote deactivation of machine 1. So something really screwy is going on here. What is it that makes you suspect the first machine is deactivated and second machine activated?


  • By Mary - 9:40 AM on March 30, 2012   Reply

    I’ve upgraded to Suite 5.5 and I want to deactivate Suite 3 WITHOUT losing Acobat 8. Is this possible?

    Thank you-

    • By Eric Wilde - 12:22 PM on March 30, 2012   Reply


      Creative Suite 5.5 comes with Acrobat X. If you deactivate Creative Suite 3 you will lose the ability to run Acrobat 8; but, you will have the ability to run Acrobat X.

      Hope this helps,

  • By Carolyn Thomas - 1:02 AM on April 9, 2012   Reply

    I had a laptop that I installed Adobe Photoshop CS3 on, the laptop crashed so I bought a new one. Now Photoshop says I have to deactivate before I can install to another computer with my license code. Naturally I can’t activate it. Can you advise me on the process.
    Thank you

    • By Jody Rodgers - 3:13 PM on April 23, 2012   Reply

      Carolyn, sorry for the delay. Did you contact Adobe’s Support team?
      Jody Rodgers | Sr. Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Creative Suite & Creative Cloud | Adobe Systems

  • By Sara - 12:25 PM on April 19, 2012   Reply

    Hello Eric,

    I am having a similar problem to some of the people above, but slightly different. I use acrobat 9 standard at work, on an XP SP 3 system. my system had critically low memory, so in preparation for moving everything to a different (still old, circa 2006) computer, i deactivated the software and reinstalled on the new system. Then the new system crashed and will not boot to the OS. So my IT guy wiped and re-imaged my original computer, which is working for now since some other software that was taking up a lot of space has been removed. But now when i attempt to re-install my acrobat, it says “invalid serial number”. This copy of adobe was only purchased with a scanner in the last year, and so it has only been deactivated this one time and used on these two machines.

    So my questions are:
    -Does the 2 system limit not apply to a government (commercial) licence? should i not be able to reinstall on this machine regardless?
    -What should i do to be able to reinstall on my system?

    I would like to be able to deal with this myself, since our IT department is hardworking but very understaffed (3 techs for about 5000 users), and I feel it would take a long time to sort out. I also figure they would end up contacting adobe, so i figured it would be faster to skip the middle man and do this myself, since I am fairly computer savvy.

    • By Sara - 12:44 PM on April 19, 2012   Reply

      Hi there, I was actually able to fix my problem after trying some tips about how to type in the serial number. I am wondering though if it’s possible to still change the activation limit, so that I would be allowed to use my licesnse on a second machine. as it stands the machine that crashed will still be using one of my two allowed installations.


  • By Ratchie - 10:34 PM on June 21, 2012   Reply

    Hi Eric,
    I just installed Adobe Production Premium CS5.5 on a new harddrive and i did not able to deactivate the software before I re-installed windows 7 ultimate and re-install the Production Premium, now It’s says that ” you already installed Production Premium in two computers” where i only re-installed it. can’t connect on support i’m in Palau.

    • By Eric Wilde - 11:11 PM on June 21, 2012   Reply


      Please send me your serial number privately ( and I’ll handle this on the back end.


  • By Paul - 11:20 PM on June 26, 2012   Reply

    Eric is amazing! I email him instead of wasting more time on hold at 12:15am MST and he resolves the problem 3 minutes later? Why can’t the rest of Adobe be like this?

  • By Matt Cole - 11:47 AM on July 13, 2012   Reply

    Hi there- I have had to reinstall Adobe Acrobat on a new hard drive (my old hard drive bit the dust) and I wasn’t able to run the unistall on the old hard drive. I am now stuck with the program telling me I have to buy another activation code. I have my key code, just need to be able to have it “unlock” one more load of the software onto my new harddrive. Can you assist me? (I will also need to do this again when my old Desktop computer gets upgraded to windows 7– but hopefully will remember to uninstall before the transfer!)
    Thanks so much!
    -Matt Cole

  • By Jim - 5:37 PM on July 13, 2012   Reply

    I used Windows to Uninstall a copy of Elements 10 without addressing “deactivation.” Did I accomplish “deactivation?” If not, what next to deactivate?

    • By Eric Wilde - 4:15 PM on July 16, 2012   Reply


      Often uninstall will successfully accomplish deactivation as well, depending on whether or not you can connect to the internet at that time and what uninstall options were used. What you can do is try using Elements 10 on another system. If you run into an overactivation error dialog send me an email ( with your serial number or contact customer support and we can address it.

      If you want me to check our server data to see if you have deactivated Elements 10 already I’ll need your serial number and date of uninstall. Please send privately to my email address as it wouldn’t be wise to post the serial number publicly here.

  • By Jamie Worsfold - 4:23 AM on July 18, 2012   Reply

    As with most of you, I seem to have fallen foul of the deactivation issue. Online support has been absolutely useless for me. Completely misunderstanding of the problem I have.

    I’ve just moved myself over to Creative Cloud and thus found that I had an upgrade of CS5.5 Production Premium surplus to requirements. I contacted online support asking them if it was possible to transfer this license to someone else. Yes – no problem they said.

    After moving it along to a third party, he has managed to get it activated on one Mac. But he needs it on his second Mac too. Unfortunately, when I moved over to Creative Cloud I also sold my old iMac which CS5.5 had not been deactivated on – I just did a complete wipe-down of the hard drive.

    Consequently Adobe now seems to think there are still two Macs out there with the CS5.5 upgrade installed on. I’ve asked them to just deactivate the software from their end. It surely can’t be that hard? But no – it would seem it is for them. All want is for my old iMac (or both Macs if it makes it easier!) to be deactivated so the guy who now has CS5.5 is happy and I can get on playing with my nice CS6. Incredibly frustrating for a long-time Adobe user.

    • By Eric Wilde - 4:35 PM on July 18, 2012   Reply

      Jamie, I’ll reach out to you in email to try to resolve.


  • By Adrian - 5:42 AM on August 7, 2012   Reply

    Hi all,

    I unistalled Adobe PhotoShop CS4 from Add and Remove programs and i forgot to deactivate it. I went to install it on another personal laptop and now i am getting an error that license cannot be activated since it is present on another system.

    Any ideas?


    • By Eric Wilde - 10:55 AM on August 7, 2012   Reply


      Reply to me privately ( with the full serial number and I can fix it for you on our servers.


  • By John Clark - 12:14 PM on August 10, 2012   Reply

    My wife and I have used PS since vers 4 and a copy of PS on a baby laptop has been ideal for travelling. We are pensioners and keen photographers – hardly the big league!! I am bedding in a new baby machine to travel soon and still need to get stuff done on my main comp. until then. Changeover is never instant and the two machines are functioning differently. It is not a pleasant prospect to be chopping and changing activations when I will be using one or other machine but not both at the same time!! There are other things to do. We will not be a drain on Adobe resources (!) and it seems to be one more hassle for the likes of us. Cannot there be some grace period for an extra copy of PS5 to be activated during a change over? Other busy people may think the same way. John Clark

    • By Eric Wilde - 12:56 PM on August 10, 2012   Reply


      The software generally works on any two systems at once. It sounds like two systems would solve your needs; but, if not, please send me your serial number privately ( and I can work out a solution with you that causes you the least headache.

  • By Tim - 11:18 AM on August 20, 2012   Reply

    We’ve just upgraded one of the machines in our office and want to use Adobe Acrobat 9 on the new machine, but like everyone else we can’t seem to deactivate it on the old machine.

  • By ALX - 3:51 PM on September 2, 2012   Reply

    I did a clean install of win7, I forgot to deactivate PSE10. I re-installed on same PCo and now i am getting an error that license cannot be activated since it is present on another system.

    Any ideas?


  • By Keith Watson - 1:56 PM on September 4, 2012   Reply

    I had 2 computer crashes over last few years and did not get to deactivate either seat now after reinstall I get message error that license cannot be activated since it is present on another system.
    Adobe CS3


  • By Dale Burleson - 10:07 PM on September 7, 2012   Reply

    My old computer crashed and I am reinstalling software (adobe Acrobat Pro on the new one but have a problem deactivating because that computer is dead. What do I do??

    • By Jody Rodgers - 11:53 AM on September 10, 2012   Reply

      Sorry to hear that. Please contact Adobe Support:

      Jody Rodgers | Senior Product Manager | Enterprise + Volume | Digital Media | Adobe Systems

  • By Garry Hicks - 2:47 PM on November 3, 2012   Reply

    Upgraded my PC to Windows 8 last week (previously had Vista on and running Photoshop CS4 quite happily for 2 years). After the OS upgrade Photoshop had “dissappeared” along with a lot of my other programs. Obviously I had not deactivated Photoshop as I hadn’t reallised upgrading the OS would lose all my programs. I re-installed PS but my serial number will not activate it. I contacted Adobe support via chat who were less than useless, after “chatting” with 5 different representatives who seemed to be just reading off a pre-written script over the course of a very frustrating week and removing and re-installing several times I still cannot get it too activate. Out of pure frustration I have installed PS on an old XP computer this evening and it installed and activated with no problems (shame it’s not fast enough to do anything useful). Can anyone offer any suggestions on how to actually get Photoshop to activate on my Windows 8 PC? I have tried all most things like removing every trace of Adobe software I can find (a lot of stuff was still installed but hidden away in the C/windows.old file…) re-installed again but still no joy although CS is working currently is 30 free trial mode so I don’t think it is a compatibility issue. Software has only ever been activated once on one computer prior to my upgrade.

    • By Eric Wilde - 11:42 AM on November 26, 2012   Reply


      I’ll send you a private email now and we’ll get to the bottom of this behavior. It sounds like a bug.

  • By Gary Hicks - 2:54 PM on November 3, 2012   Reply

    Upgraded my PC to Windows 8 last week (previously had Vista on and running Photoshop CS4 quite happily for 2 years). After the OS upgrade Photoshop had “dissappeared” along with a lot of my other programs. Obviously I had not deactivated Photoshop as I hadn’t reallised upgrading the OS would lose all my programs. I re-installed PS but my serial number will not activate it. I contacted Adobe support via chat who were less than useless, after “chatting” with 5 different representatives who seemed to be just reading off a pre-written script over the course of a very frustrating week and removing and re-installing several times I still cannot get it too activate. Out of pure frustration I have installed PS on an old XP computer this evening and it installed and activated with no problems (shame it’s not fast enough to do anything useful). Can anyone offer any suggestions on how to actually get Photoshop to activate on my Windows 8 PC? I have tried all most things like removing every trace of Adobe software I can find (a lot of stuff was still installed but hidden away in the C/windows.old file…) re-installed again but still no joy although CS is working currently is 30 free trial mode so I don’t think it is a compatibility issue. Software has only ever been activated once on one computer prior to my upgrade.

  • By Nilay - 12:19 AM on November 23, 2012   Reply

    after deactivating a product how much time i have to wait to activate it on another machine????

    • By Eric Wilde - 11:22 AM on November 26, 2012   Reply

      It should be practically instantaneous. If you wait 15 minutes that should be way more than enough.

  • By Debra Langel - 9:02 PM on November 26, 2012   Reply

    I’m having problems deactivating Adobe Digital Editions for many of the same reasons here, except on my desktop all I see is ‘Authorize Computer’ (even though it has been authorized), and I need to do a complete OS reinstall. No where does it show ‘Deactivate’ grayed-out or otherwise.

    Second, I have a laptop which I had to reinstall the OS and could not deactivate ADE as the laptop had crashed. I just ‘Chatted’ with Chat support and that was a bust. Waited 30 min to find out ADE does not have ‘Chat’ support, was told to check the forums for a solution.

    Everything I’ve read in the forums so far says to contact Adobe and have them deactivate ADE on both the laptop and the computer….if the ‘FREE’ Adobe Digital Editions does not have support, how am I supposed to do that, to have Adobe deactivate it, so I can ‘Activate’ it again? I am not tech savvy… all.

    Please help!

    • By Eric Wilde - 11:20 PM on November 26, 2012   Reply


      I’m not terribly familiar with ADE as it doesn’t use the normal activation solution as the rest of the products. I do know contacts on that team and will find a person on the development team to respond to you directly in email and help sort out this problem.

    • By Jeff Wright - 9:02 AM on November 27, 2012   Reply

      I apologize for the difficulties you have been facing Debra. I would be happy to assist you with the activation issues you have been facing. Can you please contact me at

      In addition if you can also provide your case number from your interactions with chat support. This will allow me to provide feedback for the agents you interacted with and ensure future users do not face the same difficulty.

      We do provide activation and installation support via chat. For all other issues it is best to post to the Adobe Digital Editions forum at

  • By Matt - 3:59 PM on January 7, 2013   Reply

    Just to clarify, If I have 3 machines, a desktop at home a laptop and another Desktop upstairs and I want to keep the desktop upstairs always active, I can now deactive and reactivate between the laptop and secondary desktop as many times as I want?

    • By Eric Wilde - 7:23 PM on January 7, 2013   Reply


      That is correct.

  • By Derek - 2:46 PM on January 18, 2013   Reply

    I had my CS4 software installed on two computers and one crashed. I tried to install it on a new machine and it says I have to deactivate it on one of the other two installations which I can’t do because the machine crashed. I see one thread here dealing with this but support was taking it offline so I don’t know what the fix is. Can someone please advise? Thanks, Derek

  • By Nico - 12:51 PM on January 25, 2013   Reply

    I bought my CS5 sometimes back from a company here in UK. I did not have any problem of installing it to my iMac but then when I wanted to install it to my laptop (macbook pro) I had problem with the license. It keeps asking me to deactivate my other computer. Although I only use it for one computer only. So I had the chat with the adobe customer service but the guy could not help because I could not give him the right email address that I used for registration. The problem I bought it from a company in UK and not from adobe shop and I always use the same email. and I am not aware if I have registered the product. Anybody can help me please? Thanks. Nico

  • By Dan Augustine - 10:35 AM on February 2, 2013   Reply

    Big Deal! What do I do when my old computer’s motherboard burned out and I had to reinstall Premier Elements on a new computer? There was no way I could deactivate. So what do I do now?

  • By etrack - 8:45 AM on February 6, 2013   Reply

    I had almost the exact same problem as Derek a couple weeks ago and was unable to figure it out. If you have any ideas that would be great. Thank you.

  • By Lonnie - 7:09 AM on March 22, 2013   Reply

    I have both Photos cs5 and dreamweaver CS5 and recently changed out a dead hard drive in my desktop now I’m informed within the program that I have reached my activation limit and I’m not sure where to go or what to do I’ve paid good money for these programs and I’m disapointed that I can’t use them . I have all the program information .

  • By Henry - 12:52 PM on March 22, 2013   Reply

    Adobe support is a misnomer and its policy is a lie! In my own situation have never atttempted to use PSE8 on more than two computers and I am perfectly willing to accept this condition – if it were true!. My hard drive crashed (as they do) on the second computer and I replaced the drive with another. Therefore- same machine -different hard drive. Can no longer use the software. Simple situation – why does Adobe complicate it? I am not and never intended to use it on more than 2 machines. Adobes stupid answer is to deactivate the progamme HOW!

  • By William Boswell - 9:04 AM on May 19, 2013   Reply

    Glad to hear this even though I’m discovering this several years later. I’ve had the same problem as others with earlier versions of Acrobat not showing the deactivate link (grayed out) even if I open a PDF document. With Version 11, it doesn’t show at all. Searching the Adobe website brought me hear to discover this good news.

  • By joun - 11:18 PM on May 24, 2013   Reply

    Is it required to deactivate an adobe after effect before formatting a computer??

    because my adobe after effect is licence version & the windows suddenly cress & i need to format pc ……so what i do… this case???

    • By Eric Wilde - 10:30 AM on May 28, 2013   Reply


      It would definitely help to deactivate prior to reformatting the drive. If that becomes impossible for some reason then you can email me privately ( with your serial number (or Adobe ID for a subscription) and we’ll figure out a way to fix it up quickly.


  • By Richard Myerly - 5:37 AM on May 27, 2013   Reply

    HELP Every time I try to log onto Craigslist I get a pop up telling me I have to update Flash Player. It goes to something other than Adobe website, did the update directly with Adobe but still get that update needed pop up. Any ideas how to get around this?

  • By Michele - 2:15 PM on June 11, 2013   Reply

    Hi – I’ve been on the phone for over an hour on hold….I purchased a Fujitsu ScanSnap that had Adobe X. I had Adobe 9 Pro already installed on my computer – as it is on my home office computer. But after installing X – discovered that X does not have the redaction tool that I use constantly in my work. In fact I posted a forum question about it recently to confirm because I stupidly thought 10 would have the redaction tool which meant that I tried to re-install 9 back onto my computer this week. 10 apparently was overridden by 9. But then after the new install – I received the pop-up that I’ve exceeded the activation — now no Adobe product at all! I deleted and tried installing again – at the end received pop-up to try to to delete and re-install but maybe I had exceeded the number of activations. I have a corporate license. Now I’m trying to get support – the timer is still clicking here over an hour and a half now…how can I get back what I originally had? Thank you.

  • By LISA MACDONALD - 10:40 PM on June 11, 2013   Reply

    I am trying to deactive Acrobat 8 on my Windows XP laptop and it doesn’t allow me the option. Both “activate” and “deactivate” are grayed out and don’t let me select either. I have a new laptop that I’d like to install my software on, and I’ve never deactivated it on any of the other laptops I’ve had, which are all long gone or dead. I call the “activation” number and it tells me I’ve used up all my activations (duh). Who do I call to get some help on this?

  • By Dave - 11:49 PM on September 8, 2013   Reply

    I too, have hit the dreaded deactivation issue. I need to deactivate Acrobat 9 Pro on an older XP machine and re-install it on a new Win7Ent box. The application is registered, and I can continue to click on Help | Registration to my heart’s content, but I am unable to deactivate.
    My customer was unable to provide the serial number, so needed to register the application to obtain that, but now I am unable to get rid of it!! The fact that this has only been registered today, deactivation limits shouldn’t be an issue.
    Got to 45 mins on the phone queue this morning before I had to move on and get more productive tasks happening.
    Please help???

    • By Eric Wilde - 10:04 AM on September 9, 2013   Reply


      I’ll respond to you privately in email.

  • By David Bixler - 6:31 PM on September 12, 2013   Reply

    I’m having the same issue. I sent you an email with the aforementioned required info.

  • By Chris Bennett - 7:03 PM on September 17, 2013   Reply

    I was forced to buy this for a digital media course and I installed it in a VM on my MAC, had an issue, deleted the VM and reinstalled into another one. I need this on my desktop PC as well but it tells me that I I have to deactivate the VM that no longer exists.

    Is there a way around this?

    • By Eric Wilde - 3:24 PM on September 21, 2013   Reply

      Chris and I hooked up in private email. This was a very old build of Photoshop, for which the activation server was taken down last year. If anyone else finds themselves in the same position with a Photoshop CS or CS2 (or any other CS2 product), you can get an activation-less version free for download by signing in at this page:


  • By Iain Murray - 12:15 PM on December 10, 2013   Reply

    I’m having trouble getting through to customer support so thought I’d try here. I have a copy of Photoshop Elements 8 that had been installed on two windows computers that suffered fatal crashes within a few weeks of each other. One is now a doorstop and the other is with the warranty people who have failed to do anything for two months. So I called time on windows and bought a Mac. I installed the Mac version of Elements and it worked fine for a while before popping up with the message that it had already been installed on two computers. All I want to do is deactivate both windows versions so it can run on the Mac, but obviously I have neither computer available. I have the serial number etc to hand. Thanks for any help.

  • By MelissaM - 1:05 PM on December 30, 2013   Reply

    I have a computer that we had to have Dell replace the motherboard, well it was bad too, and had to be replaced again. Now when the user tries to run adobe acrobat x standard that came with it, we get the error saying it has already been activated on 2 other computers. Is there a way around this, as all of our computers are purchased as packages with the software included. It has not been installed on another computer, and from reading, I assume it is due the motherboard failure.

  • By Elizabeth Stoyanovich - 4:54 PM on January 4, 2014   Reply

    My computer crashed due to virus, but has been fixed now. When I went to burn a DVD with my Adobe Premiere Elements 10, it did not recognized the burner. I need to deactivate and reinstall. I have my serial number and original activation date. I did this online before. Can you please help me?

    Thank you,

  • By Amanda Bradley - 11:44 AM on January 8, 2014   Reply

    My computer died and I need to re-install my dreamweaver CS3 on a new computer, can you advise if I can do this and any information you may need, I do not have my original activation code etc.


    • By Eric Wilde - 2:17 AM on January 13, 2014   Reply


      You can install Dreamweaver CS3 on any system that it supports. A new computer may have an OS version that is not supported by any CS3-era products, though, as they are many years out of date.

      However, please note that in order to use the product you will need to activate it just as you did on the original installation. Without the activation code it will not be possible to activate.

      Did you register the software? If you registered and included an Adobe ID in that registration, you may be able to retrieve that activation code by going to and logging in with the same Adobe ID. I’m not sure if this registration approach was available way back in the CS3 time frame. Otherwise, you’ll have to find that activation code.


  • By Apryl - 4:04 PM on January 16, 2014   Reply

    I got a new computer and I uninstalled Acrobat from my old computer without deactivating it (I didn’t realize you had to) – now it wont accept the serial # in the new computer – what can I do?

  • By Frank - 4:02 AM on February 3, 2014   Reply

    Sending you a Private email this morning with an outline of my dilemma.
    Serial Number will be provided.
    Trust you will be able to resolve my issue.
    Should you have any additional question, please contact me at your earliest convenience.
    Thank you in Advance.

  • By mike - 10:21 AM on March 1, 2014   Reply

    I have Acrobat 9 Pro for Windows installed on my old PC. I deactivated this, and the deactivation button is greyed out. I installed Acrobat on my new computer from the same CD, but it will not activate. I get a message saying that Acrobat is already activated on two computers. What should I do?

  • By Janet Edkins - 1:53 PM on March 4, 2014   Reply

    I’m in the same situation as Mike above – I deactivated the old version of Acrobat on my old machine before I even installed the s/w on the new machine. I’m getting messages saying I have 30 days to correct thisproblem – you guys sound like the IRS LOL. Presumably there is some unstated “or Else!”

    What do we do now? What else should we have done? Is anybody monitoring this forum? Please respond J

  • By Mike McDevitt - 6:33 PM on March 17, 2014   Reply

    My iMac overheated & became erratic. I replaced it and transferred all my apps on a thumb drive. My other apps survived. The Photoshop Elements 9 deactivate is missing on the old iMac. The deactivate is an orphaned alias on the new one. If I send you my serial number, can you guide me through this? This is my third version of this app. Versions 1, 6 & 9. My OS is 10.9.2. Thanks for your time.

  • By Amelia - 1:00 PM on March 24, 2014   Reply

    Hi Eric,

    I am also having the problem re-activating my adobe audition 1.5 and photoshop CS

    any assistance is appreciated — the sever says is is no longer activating – I tried by phone and it did not allow me to do so just said not working at this time…. how can I activate my software? I am running it on windows 8 toshiba satellite laptop — and in compatibility mode. appears to run great so far…. except for the activation notice…. thank you for your reply..

  • By Marsha - 3:55 AM on August 3, 2014   Reply

    We have a server set up from which to do the Adobe CC installs. I have installed the various components that the staff wanted on the new computers as per the instructions with Adobe Acrobat going on Pre and then the rest of the the components after Acrobat installed. The serial number for the CC products is embedded with the install and did not require activating after the install to launch and run. The staff also want an 11 seat license of Adobe Premier Elements 12 installed. I installed this. However, after installing this, it requires me to login to our Adobe account and enter the serial number to activate the product to use it. These machines, by the way, are joined to a domain and the user accounts are Win 7 standard users. When I logged in as the user on a couple machines a few days later, for some reason, Adobe Premier Elements had gone to a trial version and it said I needed to sign in and activate it. I signed it and put the serial number in. Adobe Premiere Elements activated, but now none of the components of the CC install that were working, before the Adobe Premiere Elements flaked out and went to trial version, will even launch. There are no error messages displayed at all. I can’t even see anything regarding the programs in the Event Log as to what is causing this. Has anyone else run across this issue?

  • By Tony Yong - 8:58 PM on August 21, 2014   Reply

    Photoshop Elements 9 on MacBook Pro uninstalled before deactivating and can not activating on a new Mac due to exceeding limit of activation. How do I work around it? Thanks

  • By pauline - 1:14 PM on August 25, 2014   Reply

    my laptop was under 3 years old, I had adobe photoshop elements 11 installed on laptop, plus also on my desktop.
    I had extended warranty, on laptop and it had to go to store to be fixed. They installed a new hard drive.
    I installed photoshop elements 11 on the laptop, on the fri, but sat it would not work, so I uninstalled the software. Sat I installed software again, the Sun my laptop would not even work. I get getting a dump error message. Eventually after going to, I got some help and was able to get into my laptop.

    I want to install my softerware again but am concerned all this may harm my computer.

    I’ve read that I have to deactivate, after many hours reading, I still can’t find answers how to deactivate adobe photoshop on my pc.

    I tried windows 7 help but it didn’t give me the info that could help.

  • By Ciny Seals - 7:18 AM on September 5, 2014   Reply

    I had to uninstall the Acrobat XI pro. The trial offer always came up and would let me use the program. Now I need to install it again and I don’t know how to do that. Can you please let me know what to do?

  • By Nick C - 6:19 AM on September 26, 2014   Reply

    We’ve had a similar experience to some people here too. Recently we’ve been upgrading our PCs to Windows 7; unfortunately the product (Adobe Acrobat 8) was not deactivated before the PC was formatted. As a consequence we cannot activate the license again.

    I’ve hunted around the Adobe support site, but it seems to go around in circles and I cannot “contact” anyone at Adobe for assistance.
    Could anyone shed any light on how I can contact Adobe Support to get this resolved asap please?

  • By Paul Hickey - 11:52 AM on October 10, 2014   Reply

    I also have a licensing issue with Acrobat 9 Standard.
    I have Adobe9 standard that I received in an unopened envelope to install on my computer. I installed it a few years ago and it worked fine until six months ago. Now when I uninstall it and reinstall it I get a few uses/launches. On a launch the program will flash a message saying the licensing has stopped working and to see the IT administrator. I’m on a private computer.

    Why did this program work for so long then suddenly stop working?

  • By sherry lawrence - 12:25 PM on November 15, 2014   Reply

    I deactivated my CS5 bc my computer was rebuilt. I thought I could reactivate it on the rebuilt computer but I cannot. I have tried the adobe on line site but it just sends you in circles and is of no help. I called a customer service number and the person just tired to sell me CS6. I don not want to purchase CS6 at this time. I just want my CS5 serial number to work. I thought I did what I was suppose to do by deactivating it but I guess not. Pls help. Thank you, Sherry

  • By Pleun - 6:11 AM on February 26, 2015   Reply

    I’m lost: I just purchased a new laptop and wanted to transfer Adobe Digital Editions (the EPub reader that syncronizes with the Sony eReaders) from my old laptop to my new, but I hit a wall every time I try. I always get the message that I need to set up a new account! But I don’t want that: I want my old account transferred so I don’t lose all the work I put into creating all those collections! Not to mention that I’m afraid I will lose those books which can only by downloaded ONCE from the seller… If I dgeton’t get those on my new laptop I will lose them when next I synchronize… Or I have to buy them again! That can’t be the idea: to punish the people who do abide by the rules just to make life hard on the bad guys!

    So how do I get it onto my new laptop and in that way free up my old laptop so I can donate it to charity.

  • By Jerry Dembeck - 11:31 AM on June 7, 2015   Reply

    I read through this post, but still do not have the answer I need. An enterprise license was purchased for CS3. Over the years, we forgot (did not read the instructions) to deactivate the license from the computers. Now, I am trying to reinstall CS3 and am getting an error “Too many activations”. How do I get all of the previous activations cancelled? Adobe Offshore Support was no help, including a remark by one rep that Adobe Chat “Is for CC products only.” Really? Not sure why support could not deactivate everything for this product. Can you advise what I can do?

  • By Ronald B. McGuire - 1:40 PM on August 10, 2015   Reply

    Has Adobe considered activating products the way Symantec manages activation of Norton products? When I want to deactivate a Symantec product I log on into my Symantec account and deactivate the old computer and activate the new one. This avoids having customers reach out to support when a hard drive crashes or a computer is lost or stolen. Saves time and work for customers and support staff.

  • By Jens Bauer - 10:45 AM on September 13, 2015   Reply

    I am terrily angry.

    I’ve purchased Adobe CS2, had Photoshop installed for a long time.
    Today I wanted to use Illustrator, so I grabbed my installation CDs and opened the installer program.
    I entered my name and activation code, but my code is no longer accepted.
    So the installer was kind enough to disable my Photoshop, now I AM NO LONGER ALLOWED TO USE PHOTOSHOP!!!

    Adobe: This is called stealing!
    -And I do not want my money back, I want the software to function the way I expect it to function; the way it has worked for years.

    I wrote to adobe’s support, but they bounce my email with a link to a web-page, where I can “get support”.
    On this page, I try to find out a way to contact Adobe, but the “Contact Us” button DOES NOT WORK.

    Searching on the net, reveals that Adobe now disabled the servers that verifies registration codes.


    -I am still angry. If you buy computer software, you expect it to continue to work.
    -You do not expect any kind of time limit on it.
    Dell once made some computers, which had “time bombs” in them, which means after a little more than two years, they would stop functioning; this “feature” was done in software and such things are illegal to do.

    Now, what will Adobe do about this error, that they made ?

    I cannot just go and purchase another “Photoshop”. I am *NOT* going to use anything but CS2, because I do not like CS3 or anything later; this was why I specifically bought CS2 and a computer, which could run exactly this version. Yes, the computer is old, but that has nothing to do with this.

    If Adobe is deactivating a server, which is required for people to be able to install or re-install purchased products, I expect that they make a program, which registers the product(s) for free, because by their actions, they say that the product is no longer selling, thus it does not bring any money to the company.

  • By Tony L - 2:54 AM on September 20, 2015   Reply

    I too have an issue where the previous machines are now scrapped and we cant deactivate. How do we go about clearing down licenses please?

  • By Sterling - 10:06 PM on October 6, 2015   Reply

    I uninstalled adobe audition 3.when I tried reinstalling it,it keeps on giving me the error message’ An error has been detected with a required application library and the product cannot continue. Please reinstall application’. I tried with no success. Please assist.

  • By Michael - 10:52 AM on October 14, 2015   Reply

    I have Adobe 8.0 that I have been using for years. Still have the original box, the book and disc. I have decommissioned multiple computers from an old desktop running NT to now a laptop running Windows 10 that this program has been installed on. I have had “professionals” move my files and programs at each transition.

    With this installation I have received the “Too many Activations” notice and cannot use the program. I can’t deactivate the software on the old computers, they are gone. How do I gain access to my software??


  • By Casey - 1:22 AM on January 16, 2016   Reply

    as a present, i received photoshop and emoluments 13 in disc form. Now, i have switched from a pc to a mac, but i don’t have a disc jack so i cannot download the software. is there anyway that i can still be able to download the program onto my current mac?