Adobe and my computer have conspired to derail my wedding plans.
Many years ago, I received Adobe CS 3 Web Premium from my mother as a gift. I used it for years for school, small personal projects, doodles, and other such little things. Now, as I am finally planning my wedding, I intended to use my beloved old software to make invitations, design my dress, etc. (while I am not creatively employed, I enjoy craft). Unfortunately, some time ago, my hard drive crashed, losing everything on it. When I bought a new hard drive, I had to reinstall all my programs. While the old CS3 activation servers had been shut down, Adobe had kindly offered a download of a new installer which would allow the user to install it and then trade their old serial number for a new one which would allow them to complete the setup without need of the activation servers. I did this back in October and was perfectly content with the setup.
In December, I upgraded my decade-old computer (new motherboard, GPU, and an SSD to go with the hard drive - figured I should replace components before they went the way of the old hard drive and crashed on me). As everything was moved over, it upset the previous installation of Adobe and it asked me to activate it again. Well, foolishly trusting as I was, I didn't write down that magic "no activation servers" number, as I assumed that if I ever needed it again, I could simply return to Adobe's website and input the old one from the back of my CS3 box.
Ha ha ha ha ha.
Adobe realized there were people like me who loved their old programs and were perfectly content with not updating to the "latest-and-greatest" Creative Cloud subscription nonsense (personally, I'd be happy with things as old as Photoshop 7 and Illustrator 8; I tend to find a lot of the new itterations have added nothing of use to me). They took away the download of the new activation-free installer and the code-trading input. I still have the installer package for the no-server programs (it survived the hard drive migration just fine), but without the no-server activation code, it is useless. Now, the software which had a perpetual license has NO license! Adobe has essentially stolen the program from me!
I understand that the program set is over a decade old, but they are still good, functional programs. Shoot, I have programs from the 90s installed on my computer. Some run with only minor hiccups despite being installed from the original CDs meant for twenty-year-old operating systems. Some have to be run under DOSbox, tricking the program into thinking it's on an ancient machine. And some I did pay for through GOG, for someone more knowledgeable in computers than I to make them play nicely with modern operating systems (but I only paid for the patch once, not as a subscription for someone to continue to patch a functional program with nifty little whizbangs that don't do anything for me).
I do not want anything to do with the CC subscriptions; software is a product, not a service, and once purchased it should remain the property of the buyer until they choose to sell or dispose of it. As I said, I find most version updates to Adobe software highly itterative, and thus paying to upgrade yearly is pointless when the old version was perfectly fine and therefore upgrading is a senseless waste of money. CS3WP was $1,600 new; the CC suite is $600 annually, which means that within three years it will have cost more than CS3 did, but I still don't actually own the software. This is like renting an appartment for $800 a month but you will never own it versus buying a house and paying $1,000 a month in mortgage, but you own the home. Perhaps for big design firms who actually need the latest annual updates, it makes more sense to subscribe for $600 per year than to buy and own for $1,600 per year (just like renting makes sense for those who intend to move soon, but not for those who wish to stick around), but for someone like myself who is content with the features introduced and stabilized a decade ago it does not. Ten years of CC would total up to $6,000, almost four times what the program cost to buy once!
I don't want anything special; I just want what is mine. I want to use my old programs to create sweet little .png files to send to a printer or to show online. I don't want to be locked into a perpetual cycle of "pay to continue accessing the software you bought". If Adobe wants to offer the CC as an option to those who it makes sense for, that's perfectly fine and good; they should have that option. But those of us who purchased and are content with our purchase should not be forced into a contract that we are not content with! It's as absurd as mandating that no one may buy houses; everyone must rent. Software which was duly paid for should be granted its perpetual license.
TL;DR: Adobe is full of greedy, money-grubbing pigs who want to force all consumers to pay to upgrade annually rather than enjoy an old, functional program that they paid for in perpetuity.
While I agree with the sentiment (although not with some of the names you called people at the end...), there's nothing we can do to help you with this issue. Adobe decided to change their policy and it's not likely to change back unless people (ie, customers) will pressure them to do so, one way or another.
In this instance, the way you describe it doesn't sound very much like Adobe's fault. You wrote:
"While the old CS3 activation servers had been shut down, Adobe had kindly offered a download of a new installer which would allow the user to install it and then trade their old serial number for a new one which would allow them to complete the setup without need of the activation servers. I did this back in October and was perfectly content with the setup."
So here, you were all taken care of by Adobe, and provided a new serial number which did not require the decomissioned activation servers. You described the company as kind and yourself as content.
"As everything was moved over, it upset the previous installation of Adobe and it asked me to activate it again. Well, foolishly trusting as I was, I didn't write down that magic 'no activation servers' number, as I assumed that if I ever needed it again, I could simply return to Adobe's website and input the old one from the back of my CS3 box."
Apparently, you made an assumption which didn't jibe with what you stated earlier... It was already clear that the serial number on the back of the CS3 box did not work – which you had previously verified and obtained a replacement/new license key for.
"TL;DR: Adobe ... wants to force all consumers to pay to upgrade annually rather than enjoy an old, functional program that they paid for in perpetuity."
Yet, this conclusion does not seem supported by the story you shared. Adobe had provided everything that you needed to move forward, but it sounds like you did not save what they provided you.
Unfortunately, as try67 said, there's nothing that we fellow users here can really do for you. Sorry.
Did some further thinking and the only possibility is if you still have access to your old disk drive and can boot it up somehow...
If so, then you might be able to pull your previously-working serial number off of it by running one of the free utilities described here.
> Yet, this conclusion does not seem supported by the story you shared. Adobe had provided everything that you needed to move forward, but it sounds like you did not save what they provided you.
I disagree with your conclusion. People misplace or lose such numbers very frequently. An activation number is not like a serial number. You don't expect to need it more than once. And if it was issued once there's no reason it can't be issued again. And what about those customers who never had such a number issued to them in the past? They can't ask for it now and are left without a solution at all, due to no fault of their own. Adobe is effectively preventing people from using their legally purchased software due to a change in their policies. I don't think that's right.