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Activation/authorization problems with 1 PC; works fine with laptop!

Community Beginner ,
May 07, 2019

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I just cloned my OS drive on my Windows 10 Desktop computer, and now Adobe Digital Editions refuses to authorize, etc.

I did confirm that everything is still working fine with my laptop, which is running the exact same build of Windows 10; it had no problems downloading a new purchase via .acsm

When I first opened Digital Editions this evening, I got a message to the effect that it wasn't succeeding in making a connection to Adobe to validate my installation.

When I tried to download, using a .acsm file, It refused, saying I wasn't authorized.

When looking at the status of my installation under the help tab, it listed it as being a valid activation.

However, when attempting to deauthorize, I got the standard bit about not being able to do so at this time, please try again later.

So, after browsing through all the previous entries for weird stuff, and seeing the boilerplate response...

I uninstalled Digital Editions, wiped the Registry, reinstalled Digital Editions, and attempted to authorize.

2019-05-07 Adobe Degital Editions Activation Error.png

This time I grabbed a screenshot...

Note that it says the error is on the activation server.

At this point I booted up the laptop and opened Digital Editions there... with no problems at all.

Not problem with it being recognized, no problem downloading my purchase from Google Play.

The only thing that has changed with my desktop since I downloaded a purchase on the 1st of May was cloning the hard drive that the OS resides upon.

But that should have no impact upon what happens with Adobe's server, especially after scrubbing the Registry.

Anyone got a clue?

ETA: I just noticed that Adobe limits us to six devices to share access to an Adobe ID Digital Editions account.

And that I can't find any means of determining what devices they show me as having registered, and deauthorizing them from the online account.

So... since I've got 2 Desktop PCs, and a Laptop... and have periodically ended up reinstalling my OS without having the opportunity to deinstall Adobe Digital Editions in advance... just how many devices do they currently think I have this program installed upon?

Especially given that Windows doesn't always assign the same name to a PC with a fresh installation.

However, that still wouldn't explain the initial problem... unless they not only have a record of the PC's name, but can somehow tell that the hard drive has been changed.

Given that Roboform registered a login from a new computer when I logged on after cloning and switching drives...

They do seem to be able to tell if the physical drive which the OS is installed upon has changed, even though in theory every bit of data stored on the old drive would have been transferred.

How does one clear up the record of what devices are associated with a given Adobe ID when it won't let you deauthorize a device remotely, and won't let you deathorize a device once they think it's in excess of the number allowed to be authorized in the first place?

It's not that uncommon an occurrence, is it?

Based upon all the comments concerning Adobe reps saying "We've increased the number of devices you can have authorized" with this type of problem, I'd say it's not uncommon at all!

Message was edited by: John Mead Reason: realized that they limit the number of active devices... so if they felt this was a new device and that made it in excess of the max number...

Correct answer by Weasalopes | Community Beginner

OK, as my original OS drive did still function, I reinstalled it... and voila!

I was able to handshake with the Adobe Authorization Server and deauthorize the PC.

Thus, when I reinstall the new drive I will be able to get it authorized, as I just freed up an authorization; it appears that via previous device failures and clean OS installs I'd accumulated a number of authorizations for no longer extant devices such that no authorizations were left.

So, that confirms that a change of the physical OS drive will cause the profile of the device in the Authorization Server to no longer match the physical device, resulting in it's no longer being considered one of the 6 potential authorized devices. As such, it cannot do anything which requires being recognized as an authorized device, including revoking an active authorization.

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Activation/authorization problems with 1 PC; works fine with laptop!

Community Beginner ,
May 07, 2019

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I just cloned my OS drive on my Windows 10 Desktop computer, and now Adobe Digital Editions refuses to authorize, etc.

I did confirm that everything is still working fine with my laptop, which is running the exact same build of Windows 10; it had no problems downloading a new purchase via .acsm

When I first opened Digital Editions this evening, I got a message to the effect that it wasn't succeeding in making a connection to Adobe to validate my installation.

When I tried to download, using a .acsm file, It refused, saying I wasn't authorized.

When looking at the status of my installation under the help tab, it listed it as being a valid activation.

However, when attempting to deauthorize, I got the standard bit about not being able to do so at this time, please try again later.

So, after browsing through all the previous entries for weird stuff, and seeing the boilerplate response...

I uninstalled Digital Editions, wiped the Registry, reinstalled Digital Editions, and attempted to authorize.

2019-05-07 Adobe Degital Editions Activation Error.png

This time I grabbed a screenshot...

Note that it says the error is on the activation server.

At this point I booted up the laptop and opened Digital Editions there... with no problems at all.

Not problem with it being recognized, no problem downloading my purchase from Google Play.

The only thing that has changed with my desktop since I downloaded a purchase on the 1st of May was cloning the hard drive that the OS resides upon.

But that should have no impact upon what happens with Adobe's server, especially after scrubbing the Registry.

Anyone got a clue?

ETA: I just noticed that Adobe limits us to six devices to share access to an Adobe ID Digital Editions account.

And that I can't find any means of determining what devices they show me as having registered, and deauthorizing them from the online account.

So... since I've got 2 Desktop PCs, and a Laptop... and have periodically ended up reinstalling my OS without having the opportunity to deinstall Adobe Digital Editions in advance... just how many devices do they currently think I have this program installed upon?

Especially given that Windows doesn't always assign the same name to a PC with a fresh installation.

However, that still wouldn't explain the initial problem... unless they not only have a record of the PC's name, but can somehow tell that the hard drive has been changed.

Given that Roboform registered a login from a new computer when I logged on after cloning and switching drives...

They do seem to be able to tell if the physical drive which the OS is installed upon has changed, even though in theory every bit of data stored on the old drive would have been transferred.

How does one clear up the record of what devices are associated with a given Adobe ID when it won't let you deauthorize a device remotely, and won't let you deathorize a device once they think it's in excess of the number allowed to be authorized in the first place?

It's not that uncommon an occurrence, is it?

Based upon all the comments concerning Adobe reps saying "We've increased the number of devices you can have authorized" with this type of problem, I'd say it's not uncommon at all!

Message was edited by: John Mead Reason: realized that they limit the number of active devices... so if they felt this was a new device and that made it in excess of the max number...

Correct answer by Weasalopes | Community Beginner

OK, as my original OS drive did still function, I reinstalled it... and voila!

I was able to handshake with the Adobe Authorization Server and deauthorize the PC.

Thus, when I reinstall the new drive I will be able to get it authorized, as I just freed up an authorization; it appears that via previous device failures and clean OS installs I'd accumulated a number of authorizations for no longer extant devices such that no authorizations were left.

So, that confirms that a change of the physical OS drive will cause the profile of the device in the Authorization Server to no longer match the physical device, resulting in it's no longer being considered one of the 6 potential authorized devices. As such, it cannot do anything which requires being recognized as an authorized device, including revoking an active authorization.

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May 07, 2019 0
Community Beginner ,
May 08, 2019

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Adobe Digital Editions has a limit of 6 devices that can be currently authorized for a given Adobe ID.

Clearly, prior to adding an additional device one must deactivate a previously authorized device.

There is only one method available for an Adobe ID account owner to do this.

That method requires them to have possession of said device, and it being capable of interacting with the online Adobe authorization server.

Provided both of the above are true, then from within a running copy of Adobe Digital Editions on that device one can revoke the authorization for that installation.

The problem arises when the device no longer exists in the state it existed in when you registered it.

If it does not match the profile on file within the Adobe server, it will not be recognized as being an existing installation.

A change of OS drives is sufficient for this to become true; cloning the OS drive without deauthorizing Adobe Digital Editions prior to cloning the drive and disposing of the old drive will result in an installation which cannot be deactivated.

The software on the cloned drive will list itself as being activated, but all attempts to interface with the Adobe server will fail as Adobe will not recognize it as being a valid activated device; this includes deactivating it.

A hard drive crash, where it is no longer possible for the drive to function, will result in an activation which cannot be revoked as that computer profile no longer exists.

The profile does appear to include OS drive and motherboard serial numbers as reported by said hardware at the time of authorization.

At least, the reports within the Adobe customer forums would indicate this to be true.

So long as there are additional authorizations left, the procedures detailed for removing all traces of an activation from a device no longer recognized as being authorized will work...

Except that it does not actually reduce the number of activations on record within the Adobe server.

It merely allows you to utilize another of your allowed activations.

Given that electronic hardware is subject to catastrophic failure, eventually all the allowed authorizations will be for no longer extant devices.

At which point... nothing you can do from outside Adobe will allow you to authorize a new device for that Adobe ID.

Resulting in no means of utilizing the materials you have purchased which use the Adobe DRM.

The error messages provided by Adobe do not always make it clear that you have exceeded the number of allowed activations, or that the device is no longer recognized as matching that on file within the server.

Sometimes all they do is report that something went wrong with the attempt to interface with the Adobe server, and to try again later.

Unless something is done which results in a change in the number of allowed authorizations available, trying again will do no good.

There are two possible solutions to this, if one does not include saying "Tough, them's the breaks, so much for accessing your legally purchased content."

One method allows end users to validate authorizations from outside of the device concerned, while the other requires cooperation from Adobe staff on a case by case basis.

1) a method whereby the Adobe ID owner can access a list of their currently active devices, and remove the authorization for specific devices without actually using that device to do so (Microsoft and Amazon both have this functionality).

2) a method whereby Adobe, upon being contacted by the Adobe ID owner, will either deauthorize devices for you, or add additional allowed authorizations matching the number of no longer extant devices listed as being authorized. The first presumes that Adobe can access the information concerning specific authorized devices so that the Adobe ID owner can state which are no longer in use. The second... requires that Adobe will take the Adobe ID owner's word for it that they don't actually have that many active installations of Adobe Digital Editions, which does leave it open to abuse by those who are actually attempting to exceed the limit of 6 active installations, in which case why bother with DRM in the first place?

Really, what is needed is a method of removing devices from the list of authorized devices which does not require the device to be functional and in a state matching that it was in when the authorization was granted.

My guess is that this does exist for Adobe's purchased software.

But Adobe Digital Editions is freeware.

It isn't included in the records that can be accessed from within an Adobe ID account by the account owner.

As freeware, Adobe feels no need to provide a dedicated support channel, unlike their commercial software.

Which would be fine... except that it isn't actually freeware.

It's just that the end user isn't the one paying for it directly.

There are vendors who pay Adobe for utilizing Adobe Digital Editions for DRM purposes.

If their customers can no longer access the content they purchase from them due to Adobe Digital Editions locking them out... those customers will switch to vendors who utilize a different DRM verification system.

Whether the vendors are aware of what is happening is a very good question.

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Community Beginner ,
May 09, 2019

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OK, as my original OS drive did still function, I reinstalled it... and voila!

I was able to handshake with the Adobe Authorization Server and deauthorize the PC.

Thus, when I reinstall the new drive I will be able to get it authorized, as I just freed up an authorization; it appears that via previous device failures and clean OS installs I'd accumulated a number of authorizations for no longer extant devices such that no authorizations were left.

So, that confirms that a change of the physical OS drive will cause the profile of the device in the Authorization Server to no longer match the physical device, resulting in it's no longer being considered one of the 6 potential authorized devices. As such, it cannot do anything which requires being recognized as an authorized device, including revoking an active authorization.

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