January 04, 2010

Upgrading Photoshop doesn’t require a previous installation

There’s an eternal misconception that if you buy an upgrade to Photoshop (or other Adobe software) and get a new computer, you must first install your older version(s) before installing the new upgrade. That’s not necessary. The upgrade will look for a valid previous installation, but that’s just a convenience feature meant to spare you having to type in your old serial number alongside your new one.
One other tip, as long as I’m boring you with minutiae: You can paste your serial number into the installer. That might not be obvious as the serial number field is comprised of several small text fields, but the installer is smart enough to spread digits across the fields when pasted. Therefore when getting a new version, I take a moment to type the serial first into a text document, after which I copy it & paste it into the installer. The extra steps may be worthwhile later in case you need to re-install, etc.

Posted by John Nack at 9:44 AM on January 04, 2010


  • Anonymous coward — 11:01 AM on January 04, 2010

    if you have to qualify a feature as a ‘convenience feature’, it’s probably time to ask yourself if you are trying to convince the user or yourselves that it really is convenient.
    i’ve got plenty of old serial numbers around *and* old disks. i’d would always prefer to enter in an old number rather than deal with the old disks (that may finally be kaput this time around (!))…
    just sayin’…

  • Mike Reys — 11:05 AM on January 04, 2010

    Make sure Adobe support reads this blog. Depending on who I got on the line, I got different messages and nobody solved the “upgrade” license.
    So I finally got a regular CS4 license.
    As we have to register the product, why still the difference between an upgrade or another license? Adobe knows my history…

  • Egor — 1:46 PM on January 04, 2010

    Does this mean that I can buy an “upgrade version” and install it fresh on the computer even though I don’t have any original version? Yes, I know that this will not be in accordance to the EULA, but here’s why I’m asking this question: I work in Ukraine and the Photoshop price is absolutely not affordable here so 99,999% of the people use pirated versions. It’s not affordable for me as well. But I really don’t like that and instead of stealing it I would rather pay to Adobe at least something (upgrade price) for this wonderful tool.

  • Adrian — 1:47 PM on January 04, 2010

    As I’ve just got a new computer, I thought I’d try this.
    I’ve installed Creative Suite 4, but it wouldn’t allow me to upgrade from Photoshop – it just listed previous Creative and Design suites, or Dreamweaver.
    Now I’m stuck with using it on a trial basis until I can work out where to put the serial number for the previous version that I have…

  • Anvilcloud — 2:51 PM on January 04, 2010

    Having just installed CS4 on a new computer without installing my previous CS2, I can testify that this works. I needed to input my old CS2 sn at some point, but it was easy and painless. I was quite pleased.

  • Fabrice Delaneau — 4:53 AM on January 05, 2010

    I find the process is quite straightforward and is exactly the same for most applications.
    Install your new Creative Suite, type or paste the new serial. If it is recognised as an upgrade serial it will ask for your previous CS serial.
    What I find outraging is gow much time the installation process takes (at least with the CS3) and that I can’t install it on my 3 computers (office, home and latop).

  • Cris DeRaud — 7:37 AM on January 05, 2010

    I am presuming that if you had an installed version of let’s say CS2 and upgraded to CS4, then you could safely uninstall CS2 but do not un register it?

  • skiang — 1:12 PM on January 05, 2010

    Will it work if my old version was an upgrade rather than a full version?
    [Yep, absolutely. –J.]

  • Rob C — 8:17 PM on January 05, 2010

    Talk about timing!! I’m planning on replacing my computer shortly.
    One question though…I bought CS2, upgraded to CS3 then upgraded to CS4. Which old serial number should I use (CS2 original # or CS3 upgrade #) when installing CS4?
    [I would think that either one would work. –J.]

  • matt — 7:43 AM on January 07, 2010

    How far back can you go and can you switch platforms for the upgrade?
    I have PS7 on my PC and will be getting a Mac soon can I use the PS7 serial to install and upgrade for the Mac?
    [Sorry, no: you can upgrade from three versions back, so PS7 is too old. –J.]

  • john — 10:48 AM on January 07, 2010

    just got new imac
    got CS2 on my old mac
    (which was upgraded from PS6 . . . which was upgraded from PS4. . . had to put them all in to “see” each other)
    SO –
    can i just put CS$ upgrade into new imac and type in serial # from CS2 UPGRADE??

  • Akhilesh kumar — 2:59 AM on January 08, 2010

    i lost my photoshope 7.0 serial number please sent me adobe photoshope7.0
    serial number ?

  • James Schot — 11:11 AM on January 14, 2010

    I get a 148:3 error (licensing) message. Put my PhotoShop CS4 on new computer and have no need for it on old… so how can all this be validated?
    james@bestschot.com..thanks, James

  • Betty Pfeiffer — 9:36 AM on February 12, 2010

    I am getting a new computer with Windows 7 64 bit OS. My old one has Vista 32 bit and I am using PhotoShop Elements 7. I use an online backup (Carbonite). Can I install Elements 8 on the new computer and transfer the Elements 7 files to the Elements 8 in the new computer, or must I install Elements 7 first, bring in the files, and then install Elements 8? Will Elements 7 and/or 8 work with Windows 7?

  • alX — 1:46 AM on March 01, 2010

    if i have a copy of ps cs that has no doubt been pirated. there is a serial number but i know it can’t be correct. can i upgrade ps or do i need to buy it?

  • Margie Livelli — 4:24 AM on August 07, 2010

    My old computer came with everything installed on it including CS2. I cannot find the serial number or anythhing for it. Can I still upgrade to CS4 wtihout it?

  • Tony Prodger — 7:44 AM on October 19, 2010

    I have a legitimate copy of Photoshop Extended Upgrade 10.0 Windows Version.

    What version of Photoshop do I need to use this?


  • Anthony Harmon — 8:06 PM on October 20, 2010

    A den of thieves, all clueless Windows suffers

  • Tinat — 8:34 PM on March 05, 2011

    I am am about to instal PS5 on my desktop, I have an old computer I use elswhere and would like to derestister my existing PS4 version from my new computer to instal it on the old one. How do I deregister the old version and will my old registration work

  • Estelle — 9:30 AM on April 17, 2011

    I am in South Africa using a legitimate copy of Elements 7. Can I upgrade it to the latest Elements 9 and will Ii get it at a cheaper price than buying a full Elements 9? Please let me know whether it is possible and what the price would be.


    [There’s no upgrade price for Elements, though I’m told there is a $20 rebate. If you purchase hard goods, there’s a form in the box. If you download, there’s an online form. –J.]

  • Joan — 9:26 PM on August 02, 2011

    Can I upgrade from Photoshop CS3 on Windows to CS5 on Mac?

    [You bet.Here’s more info. –J.]

  • Michelle — 11:21 AM on February 22, 2012

    My company bought an upgrade of Adobe Photoshop CS4 and I have never had any version of photoshop on the computer I am using. The problem is that no one has a serial number for the previous version of photoshop that was purchased by the company (CS2) and I can’t install it without one. Is there any other way that I can install the program?

    • Dave Bird — 4:09 PM on August 15, 2012

      Find out your companies login that was used for registration/activation. Then login and look up your product list and click on the one you’re interested in. That will show the s/n.

      Good luck

  • Dave Bird — 2:45 PM on August 04, 2012

    I have exactly this situation… CS2 was installed as an upgrade on my old XP, which recently died. Now trying to install it on my new system. All old media is long gone, as well as the old installs. Still have my CS2 media.

    I recovered my PS 7 s/n from my product list, and my CS2 (PS 9) s/n matches what I still have with my media.

    But, when I try to install from my CS2 CD, after inputting it’s s/n, it wants to find an old install. There are exactly 3 choices presented. All involve the install wizard searching for an old install, of which there is none on this system. After not finding it the wizard says either look elsewhere, or call Adobe customer support.

    Any comment?



    • Dave Bird — 4:04 PM on August 20, 2012

      For the record:

      Called Adobe CS. After about an hour an a half of “help”, they informed me the only way forward was to install my CS2 on an XP system at which point they thought it would accept an old s/n in lieu of an old install, at least they would help me more along those lines. (If I install on a Win 7 system either as straight install or as evaluate/activate, there is no way it will accept any s/n which would suffice to activate.)

      So, I installed “Windows Virtual PC, Windows XP Mode”, then attempted to install CS2 into that environment. The install behavior was identical in every respect to the behavior under raw Win 7. I did not waist any more time with Adobe CS.

      The conclusion is that there is no way to install CS2 using an old s/n.

      I eventually found some old media, installed it, then used that during the Win 7 install of my CS2. Activation was uneventful and successful. I am done with this!

  • Cindy — 12:45 PM on February 24, 2013

    i have an old version that i use of phot deluxe 1.0 but just bought a laptop and i can’t install it from the disk becuase it is for the old version. Is there a way to download it or something by using the serial number? i want to quit using my old computer but i don’t want to give up all the old software i have on it.

  • John — 2:37 PM on February 26, 2013

    John — 2:33 PM on February 26, 2013 Reply
    How do I install CS 1.0 on my MacBook Pro? I am currently running Lion 10.7.5(11G63) I have the original box with all of its contents. I called support and they told me it was so old that they couldn’t give me phone support. When I tried to install the first of the disks,I had a message appear that said(You can not open application install Adobe Creative Suite because PowerPC applications are no longer supported. Can anyone tell me what to do? I paid almost a thousand dollars for this program and the iMac that it was originally installed on,no longer exist.

    • Jeffrey Tranberry — 7:46 PM on February 26, 2013

      Hi John,

      Apple has switched to from PPC processors to Intel processors in the past 10 years since Photoshop CS was released. OS X used to support emulation of code made to run on PPC computers called Rosetta, but Apple has also since dropped support for Rosetta for OS X 10.7 and later. Your best option may be to buy the current version, Photoshop CS6, which was designed to run on the latest Mac hardware and operating systems. The other option would be to subscribe to Photoshop CS6, which offers a low price to entry at $19.99 a month. Or alternatively, you could use Photoshop Elements 11 (a low priced consumer offering of Photoshop) or Lightroom (if you’re more of a traditional photographer). You can download and try CS6, Elements 11 or Lightroom free for 30 days to see which is right for you: http://www.adobe.com/downloads/

      Hope this helps.

      • John — 9:45 PM on February 28, 2013

        Thank you so much Jeffrey! You’ve helped more than you know.

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