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19

How to locate hidden files before removing Creative Suite

Community Beginner ,
Nov 06, 2023 Nov 06, 2023

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My Dear Friends,

 

I have a mysterious problem regarding the re-installation of an older version of Creative Suite--but it is entirely unrelated to “online activation”. I wonder if some of you would be so kind as to point me to the solution.

 

SUMMARY:

 

Essentially, I have to re-install Creative Suite onto my laptop, but the installer tells me that I first have to un-install the existing copy which is already installed. Even if I un-install the existing of all Adobe products, including Creative Suite, and Creative Cloud Bridge, the installer continues to tell me that Indesign and Illustrator are already installed, and must be removed first. I have used the built-in un-installer, Adobe Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool, deeper-registry-cleaning un-install utilites, and lastly, a manual search-and-delete of any file containing the word “Adobe,” and always followed by a re-boot. Even so, upon running the new installation, I am greeted with the same “error message” from the same installer, telling me that Indesign and Illustrator are still “detected” somewhere on the computer, and must be removed before I can re-install Creative Suite. At that point, the installer will allow me to re-install Photoshop and Bridge, but not Indesign or Illustrator; those options are “grayed out,” and the check-boxes cannot be checked. (see screenshots) I have a separate installer for Acrobat, which works fine, as well, even though Indesign will not work.

 

So I think that my only questions are these: (1) where are these mysterious HIDDEN files on the computer that keep causing the installer to mistakenly believe that Indesign and Illustrator are still on my computer somewhere and that they must be un-installed before I can do a fresh re-install of the whole Suite? and (2) How can I delete those hidden files?

 

 

BACKGROUND:

 

Creative Suite CS2 had been working fine on my Dell laptop running Windows 10 Pro with 16 GB RAM, for over one year. Now, one year later, on October 16, 2023, I accidentally installed an unrelated utility that was meant for Windows 7, and, upon seeing that it was causing display problems, but could not be un-installed per se, I did a “system-restore,” to return the state of the entire Windows Pro system to what it was on the previous day, October 15. The System Restore window warned me that Firefox and Creative Suite might possibly not function correctly upon restoring the system, but I took a chance. After that, the whole computer was working fine again, but Indesign was not.

 

In fact, I spent the next few DAYS starting up the computer each morning, organizing files, freeing up space, surfing the Internet, and so on. There were no signs of any problems at all with any software, nor with the system (although I do not recall having opened Indesign or Photoshop during that time.)

 

Then, I came across an Indesign file that I needed to edit urgently, but when I opened it, Indesign would not work. Instead, it asked me for a serial number, as if I had just re-installed it. So, I put the same serial number as one year earlier, and it was accepted, but the program still did not open. I repeated the process multiple times, and even tried other serial numbers, which gave me the message, “invalid serial number.” The right serial number was always accepted, and the wrong numbers appeared as invalid, but the program would never launch in either case.

 

Curious as to whether other components of CS were still working, I opened Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Bridge, Designer, etc., and all of them worked normally.

 

After hours of trying different things to get Indesign to work, including a simple re-boot, I gave up.

 

I got the original installer that I had used MANY times on Vista computers (but only once before on this particular Windows 10 Pro laptop in question, one year earlier), and followed the instructions that I had written out for myself, years earlier, and previously followed, just to make sure I had the right serial numbers and took the same precautions as always, to install things in the right order, to the right folders, etc..

 

At that point, the installer, itself, would begin by asking my name and serial number, of course, and then would take me to the next screen for choosing my language preferences, as I recall; then, to the next screen that was warning me that a full re-installation of CS2 could not take place without my first deleting the so-called “existing” installation of Indesign and Illustrator, from my system, even though I had already un-installed them by that time. Curiously, it would allow me to re-install Photoshop and Bridge, but not Illustrator or Indesign. (A separate installer allowed me to re-install Acrobat, but the CS installer would not allow Indesign without first deleting “existing installations” (see screenshot attached)

 

Incidentally, I had installed Creative Cloud Bridge, one year earlier, but only as a stand-alone program; I had never upgraded CS2 to Creative Cloud, nor ever used a previous version of Creative Suite. So, during this ordeal, I un-installed Creative Cloud Bridge using the built-in installer, and that did not help.

 

Perhaps you will ask me, “How did you delete Creative Suite from your system before trying to re-install CS2? Did you just drag folders to the Trash Can on the Desktop?”

 

No, I did not. While the built-in un-installer was impossible to locate, I used something called Revo Un-installer, which is one of those shareware utilities designed to delete programs more thoroughly than the Windows un-installer, or even than the built-in un-installer associated with the program in question, that typically leaves behind many files in the Registry. I had used Revo for many years without ever having a problem with any program, and even to remove CS2 from other computers. IN FACT, Revo will not allow the user to un-install any software without first finding and invoking the built-in un-installer for the program in question, and making the user follow the instructions to delete the files that are normally deleted with that built-in un-installer. After that, it takes the user through its own separate processes, and through a series of screens in which the program scans the Registry and all other parts of the computer, for any other related files that the un-installers typically overlook. Then, it allows the user to select them all and delete them. In fact, it often hits a few that cannot even be deleted except after re-booting, which, in the meantime, it marks for deletion, and deletes them only upon rebooting. After doing all this, however, I re-booted and tried the Creative Suite installer again, but no dice; same problems: Photoshop and Bridge allowed; Indesign and Illustrator, not allowed.

 

So, I went online searching, and people were talking about the Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool, but which was not designed for versions of Creative Suite earlier than CS3. I downloaded it and ran it to remove all Adobe products from the system, just in case it helped. I re-booted and tried the installer again, but no dice; still, the installer mysteriously “detected” Indesign and Illustrator somewhere on the system.

 

I did a manual search-and-delete of any file-name containing the word “Adobe.” (Those files I did drag to the Trash Can). However, I re-booted and tried the installer again, but no dice.

 

I ran Revo again, just to check for other Adobe software that might have possibly “confused” the Creative Suite installer. Lo and behold, I discovered some auxiliary programs that did not contain Adobe in the file name, but were produced by Adobe, and where displayed as such when grouped by Manufacturer. (e.g., “CS_2.0_WWE_Extras_1”.) I un-installed all of those, as well. I re-booted and tried the installer again, but no dice.

 

“Oh, but wait,” you might say. “CS2 was a problematic case anyway, years ago, as I recall....people were having issues with their CDROMs, as I recall, and so Adobe tried to appease its customers by uploading it to their website for free download, and then, later, they took it down, and....”

 

Well, yes, but, there is no relation to my particular case, as I will explain below.

 

As you well know, in the case of CS2 many users had reported problems with installing the Windows version from CDROMs, so Adobe's solution was to upload special installers to their website, and provide special serial numbers for those installers, so that any licensed user could simply use those installers instead of his own CDROMs and still install the software. In fact, I downloaded my installers from that site, as well, and discovered that they worked well, and DID NOT EVEN REQUIRE ONLINE ACTIVATION. I have since used this CS2 on multiple computers, even without any Internet connection, for years, without any problem, and I was never even asked for activation, or else, given the choice to “opt out.” CONSEQUENTLY, please note that my problem with installing Indesign is unrelated to activation issues altogether.

 

BUT, of course, one requirement for installation in every case, is that any previous installations be removed first, from the target computer, regardless of which source those installations came from (e.g., CDROM, downloaded special installers, etc.

 

Yes, I am aware of the problems that users have had with LATER VERSIONS of Creative Suite, such as CS3, CS4, CS5, in that Adobe had deliberately disconnected their “aging servers,” making it impossible for those users to re-activate and thereby re-install their own, paid, licensed software, inadvertently forcing them either to give up, upgrade, or else, to switch to another layout program. Unlike my issue, those were activation issues: users were required to activate, and when they tried, they were told that the servers were down. In my case, however, these “special installers” have never even asked me to activate; they simply ask me to delete two components of CS2 before doing a fresh re-installation.

 

(And, just to reiterate, if activation truly were the source of my current problem, then obviously: (1) either the Installer, or else, the running program, itself, would ask me to activate, which it never did; (2) the installer would not deny me access to Indesign while simultaneously allowing me access to Photoshop and other components of CS2 in the meantime; (3) the Installer would not have asked me for a serial number to “personalize my license” as it clearly did in the early stages of the problem, days after my “system restore,” before I had ever removed Indesign from my laptop; instead, it would have told me that I had an “activation problem,” for example.)

 

In conclusion, my only questions are these: (1) where are these mysterious HIDDEN files on the computer that keep causing the installer to mistakenly believe that Indesign and Illustrator are still on my computer somewhere and that they must be un-installed before I can do a fresh re-install of the whole Suite? and (2) How can I delete those hidden files?

 

Sincerely,

 

Erik

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Community Expert ,
Nov 06, 2023 Nov 06, 2023

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i skimmed through some of your post. some of it is inaccurate, but rather than discuss irrelevant issues, can you state your question in a few sentences?

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Community Expert ,
Nov 06, 2023 Nov 06, 2023

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No body except the Adobe devs would know where these hidden files would be. If the Creative Cloud Cleaner tool is not detecting it then I suppose we are stuck. How about removing everything Adobe using the tool and starting afresh? Do mind the availability of the activation servers if you intend to reinstall the CS versions of the application. Afaik you can't activate anything till CS4, so be mindful of that.

-Manan

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Community Expert ,
Nov 07, 2023 Nov 07, 2023

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All I got from your post is that you are trying to re-install CS2 on your computer. CS2 likely was not designed for your computer and there are a number of reasons why the installation no longer works. Your best and likely only option would be to upgrade to a CC subscription.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 07, 2023 Nov 07, 2023

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You cannot reinstall or use CS2 on your computer. Period.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 07, 2023 Nov 07, 2023

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In a nutshell, your installation has become corrupted and the installer is sending you on a series of wild goose chases.

 

You cannot ever reactivate CS2 so it's really not worth pursuing all these mysterious hidden files. It won't lead anywhere.

 

Time to subscribe to a Cloud plan.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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My Dear Friends,

Thank you all for chiming in, to share your ideas, so far. Please keep the ideas coming. Somebody is bound to have the answer.

Meantime, just to let you know that I am stil reading your suggestions, here are my answers to what some of you have suggested so far:

1. For the sake of people who might not want to read my entire initial post, I certainly sympathize with all of you. I had made great effort to keep my explanation concise, but without failing to include mention of every measure that I had already taken to try to solve my problem. By mentioning those measures in the "Background" section of my post, I expected to preclude the possibility of anyone's proposing measures that I had already tried. However, I now see that the trade-off is that some people were overwhelmed with the background details, did not bother to read it, and ended up proposing measures that I had already taken and mentioned in the text. Oh well...

What I did FAIL to mention, however, is that I was not too concerned about work-around solutions, for the moment, because I am sure that there is a direct solution, for the reasons that I mentioned in the text.

A. Yes, I understand that I could do all my work, from now on, on any of the other computers that I have, on which CS2 is still working, onto which CS2 can still be re-installed whenever necessary, which never requires activation, and I certainly will do that, for the time being, but I need to get things working on my current laptop, for the sake of travel purposes.

B. I understand that I could start using other software from now on, comparable to CS2, obviously, such as those offered by Serif, Corel, Quark, etc.

C. I understand that I could start using a subscription-based Creative Cloud, of course.

However, the reasons that I do not want to do these things yet is partly because I am not working professionally in graphic design anymore anyway, partly because money is tight (I am now working in chartity organizations alone), and partly because CS2 has has been working fine, and re-installing fine, on all of my other computers, in the meantime, and was even working fine on the current Windows 10 laptop in question. As if that weren't reason enough for frustration, of particular interest is the fact that Windows (not Adobe) had clearly forewarned me that Creative Suite, and Firefox, might not work properly, if I chose to do a System Restore, and might require re-installing, further suggesting that my issue concerned a limitation with Windows 10, rather than an issue with Adobe.

By the way, I do not recall whether I allowed one "System Update" to take place on my laptop, from Windows 10, nine months ago, even after installing CS2, so that, in itself, might be the reason that CS2 installed well the first time, but not the second.

Another thing that I failed to mention, was that, having now deleted Creative Suite completely from my sytem, during the past few days I have done ADDITIONAL "System Restore" operations, taking the system back to different dates from the past one month, for different reasons, partly just to see whether there would be any different behavior from Creative Suite. In fact, by doing so, Illustrator re-appeared, of course, and worked fine; Photoshop re-appeared, and worked fine; Acrobat re-appeared, and worked fine; Firefox stopped working in some cases, and worked fine, in other cases. Indesign did not work in any case. Then I did another System Restore, to return to the most-recent state, with everything removed.

Oh, incidentally, one of my anti-virus programs had to be re-activated, and updated, but not re-installed, while the other anti-virus program did not. (This is the typical behavior of System Restore on Windows Vista, as well, unfortunately--everything works again, except the anti-virus programs; in Vista both anti-virus programs stopped working upon running System Restore, whereas in Windows 10, only one stops)

2. In response to one of your suggestions, as I have already mentioned in my initial post, I have already used the Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool, of course, and I have already un-installed everything Adobe, and these efforts did not help, but I appreciate your trying to help me.

3. In response to those who still think there is an activation problem, I had already mentioned in my initial post that this special Installer was designed to work without activation; it never requires activation, neither offline neither online. In fact, it still allows me to re-install Photoshop, Acrobat, and a few other components, to this day, and never requires activation on any component, including Indesign and Illustrator. This may be hard for users of later versions to understand, as CS2 was a special case, but I am hoping that CS2 users will chime in here shortly.

In fact, I just found a post on another webiste, from a CS3 users, who said that that version had the same issues regarding the CDROMs, and, to solve the problem, Adobe had uploaded special installers to its website, for CS3, that did not require activation, either. The only reason that I stuck with CS2, at that time, is because I had already purchased the CS2 disks on eBay, and those CS3 installers were only for licensed users of CS3.

So, my questions were: (1) where are these mysterious HIDDEN files on the computer that keep causing the installer to mistakenly believe that Indesign and Illustrator are still on my computer somewhere? and (2) How can I delete those hidden files?

Indeed, as one of you suggested, the problem well may be that there ARE no "missing files" to be deleted on the system, and that the system is just confused. I hope that is not the case. I think that it is more likely that something in the Registry was left behind, so I am hoping that someone will know how to locate it.

 

Yes, I may eventually give up, but, meanwhile, I have thousands of .indd documents that will eventually need to be opened, so I am still trusting that someone will have the answer, so please keep the ideas coming, those of you who have not yet posted.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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cs2 can be used for 30 days on any one computer. then you could install another 30 day trial on a different computer, or the same one after reformatting your os hard drive.

 

those are your only legal options.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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quoteIn fact, I just found a post on another webiste, from a CS3 users, who said that that version had the same issues regarding the CDROMs, and, to solve the problem, Adobe had uploaded special installers to its website, for CS3, that did not require activation, either. The only reason that I stuck with CS2, at that time, is because I had already purchased the CS2 disks on eBay, and those CS3 installers were only for licensed users of CS3.


By @Erik15C2

 

Probably didn't need the long post again, but the key from your post is that you purchased this license from ebay and therefore, you may not be working with a legitimate version of CS2 which is probably how you are avoiding activation servers altogether.

 

When the activation servers were shut down in 2013, Adobe had briefly put up files to install without the servers ( https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/adobe-shuts-down-cs2-activation-server-puts-software... ). However, if you "bought" this version off of ebay, there is no way to tell what you actually have in your possession as this was never sold and was distributed freely by Adobe at the time a decade ago.

 

One last point I will make about the budgets. If you are working for a charitable organization, Adobe offers discounted rates for these organizations, but you will have to contact Adobe directly for pricing information ( https://helpx.adobe.com/enterprise/using/non-profit.html ). So your only options at this point are to buy a new license, or consider alternative solutions that meet your needs and budget.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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CS2 is dead. We can't change that. Feel free to keep wasting time trying to get it working but its futile. You have to move on, now or later.

Adobe has deals for non-profits, and you can check with Techsoup as well, they specialize in software licensing for schools and non-profits. https://www.techsoup.org/

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 09, 2023 Nov 09, 2023

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Thank you, my friends. There is nothing better than watching human minds at work, in the midst of despair, to come up with a never-ending series of creative ideas to solve nearly every problem that we encounter. I am glad to see that some of you are of the type that refuse to accept defeat!

 

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Community Expert ,
Nov 09, 2023 Nov 09, 2023

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you're welcome.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 01, 2023 Dec 01, 2023

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quote

By the way, I do not recall whether I allowed one "System Update" to take place on my laptop, from Windows 10, nine months ago, even after installing CS2, so that, in itself, might be the reason that CS2 installed well the first time, but not the second.

By @Erik15C2

I admire your heroic efforts to get this thing working again! I think some of the responders haven't understood that this not an activation issue, since you have the activation-free installers. The 30 day limit also does not apply to the activation-free version, which does not attempt to communicate with the long-defunct activation servers. The legality of this depends on whether the discs you bought on ebay were legitimate, and whether your purchase consititues a legal transfer of the licence if this copy was previously used (Adobe used to have a form you could download to formalise this). Some people do sell genuine old boxed sets on ebay, though they often don't make plain (or do not know about) the necessity also to have activation-free installers for CS2 or CS3 (boxed copies of CS4 are largely worthless, because an activation-free version was not as far as I know released, and the servers are also gone).

 

I have experimented at various times with the CS2 and CS3 activation-free installers, which I got directly from Adobe when they made them available. I have always been able to install and run CS3 (or at least Photoshop and Illustrator - not sure about InDesign) even on Windows 11, but at some point (I think when I was still running Windows 10) I was no longer able to install at least some CS2 packages. I don't recall the error message (I don't think it was the same as yours) and I didn't pursue the issue further since I have CS3 and CS6 - there may have been an issue peculiar to my system. Have you ever attempted to install CS2 on the same (or a more recent) update of Windows than the one you are trying to use now? 'Winver' will give you the installed build. If not, this might be worth trying (perhaps in a virtual machine) to confirm that it's not simply a Windows version issue. If that works, you might consider the nuclear option of backing everything up, wiping the disk, and re-installing Windows from scratch...

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Community Expert ,
Dec 01, 2023 Dec 01, 2023

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I admire your heroic efforts to get this thing working again! I think some of the responders haven't understood that this not an activation issue, since you have the activation-free installers.


By @Retune

For CS2 (activation free), the installation files were freely available for download, no questions asked. Some teachers recommended at that time the students to download their copy and to use it, as they falsely claimed that Adobe had made them available as public domain files. I looked into the licencing terms and, effectively, they were only intended for use by duly licenced CS2 users.

 

The CS3 (activation free) installation files were distributed on demand by Adobe only to users who could prove having a legal copy of CS3. For CS4, this courtesy from Adobe, probably multiple times abused, was no more offered.

 

I would also recommend using a virtual machine to first test the software, before installing on a production machine. I wouldn't, however, do the effort. As a professional user, I would run very soon in some blocking problems. As a hobbyist, who does not want to invest into the subscription, there are competition products available.

 

So, in my view, the only real motivation to do this is as a proof of concept. And that, I would never do on a production machine.

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 02, 2023 Dec 02, 2023

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The CS3 (activation free) installation files were distributed on demand by Adobe only to users who could prove having a legal copy of CS3. For CS4, this courtesy from Adobe, probably multiple times abused, was no more offered.

 

I see no reason why an activation-free copy of CS4 could not have been offered when the activation servers were shut down, nor do I see why the activation-free CS3 installer page was  removed without warning (so much for a 'perpetual' licence). While the modified CS2 installers may have been downloaded by people who did not hold Adobe licences since they were initially hosted on an open website, the equivalent CS3 installers were as you suggest only issued to those of us who were able to provide valid CS3 licence keys, which presumably Adobe could have recorded to avoid abuse. As it stands, legitimate customers are today being denied access to the software they paid for (a couple of thousand pounds/dollars/euros if they bought the Master Collection). The relevant 'help' page tells those affected by this policy that the 'aging activation servers had to be retired', but it forgets to mention that Adobe could very easily provide activation-free versions if they wanted to, as they have done in the past. Not too much to ask, you might think, for a $300 billion dollar company!

 

There are challenges in using older software, of course, including compatibility issues and security holes (using Acrobat Pro of this vintage would be a particularly bad idea!). While CS remains a powerful tool, nobody who is paid money to edit images is likely to want to use software of this age. Nobody should expect active support in using it at this point, but I don't think it's unreasonable to let customers to install it if they want to. If Adobe consider that older versions of CS are so valuable that downloading them without paying (as with CS2) constitutes 'abuse', then surely they are valuable enough to allow their paying customers to continue using them?

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Community Expert ,
Dec 02, 2023 Dec 02, 2023

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actually, you can still re(activate) cs4.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 02, 2023 Dec 02, 2023

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actually, you can still re(activate) cs4.


By @kglad

 

Really? Adobe says you can't:

https://helpx.adobe.com/creative-suite.html?promoid=19SCDRQK

'You can no longer reinstall Creative Suite 2, 3 or 4 even if you have the original installation disks. The aging activation servers for those apps had to be retired.'

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Community Expert ,
Dec 02, 2023 Dec 02, 2023

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i'm aware.

 

this has been the subject of recent discussion among community experts and a trusted adobe employee with the upshot being exactly what i previously stated (along with some additional info/restrictions).

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 02, 2023 Dec 02, 2023

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Thanks, that's good to know (and long may it continue to be the case). They should probably fix the docs, though, unless the axe is already hovering over the servers.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 02, 2023 Dec 02, 2023

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that, i don't know.  the conventional wisdom was, it won't be long before all the cs servers are retired.

 

but that "wisdom" is years-old and not true (yet).

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Community Expert ,
Dec 02, 2023 Dec 02, 2023

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I see no reason why an activation-free copy of CS4 could not have been offered when the activation servers were shut down, nor do I see why the activation-free CS3 installer page was  removed without warning (so much for a 'perpetual' licence).


By @Retune

The Installed and activated programs continue to run. As for the rest, why should there be a warning to pull something from the net, that is unsupported and outdated. If you had a CS3 licence, you had ample of time to get the activation free install files. Sure, you could always ask for more, but it's not a chocolate cake. Nobody should expect someone to offer the software for ever for free on their servers. As for the CS 4, I don't know why they did not get offered, but I'm sure, that there is a reason for that. 

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As it stands, legitimate customers are today being denied access to the software they paid for (a couple of thousand pounds/dollars/euros if they bought the Master Collection).


By @Retune

They continue to run as long as their computers continue to run. So there is no denial. Basically, what you're asking for is that a company keeps on delivring indefinitly a running software, just because you once paid for that software. I have probably no 10 years old software on my Windows 10 computer. When I upgraded my computers, I upgraded my OS and Software. I understand, that you want to continue to use that old software, but you see, you are reaching the end of the line, with newer OS which is no more compatible with older software. If you are running a macOS computer, you even can't think about running older software. 

 

 

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. Nobody should expect active support in using it at this point, but I don't think it's unreasonable to let customers to install it if they want to. If Adobe consider that older versions of CS are so valuable that downloading them without paying (as with CS2) constitutes 'abuse', then surely they are valuable enough to allow their paying customers to continue using them?


By @Retune

Oh, many people expect active support for old software. Customers can install the software, if they want. You just can't activate, because part of the activation process is broken. Nobody forbids you to use your software. But no activation servers, no activation. And the activation was introduced, because people did copy the software without licencing. BTW: the ones having bought a software 20 years ago are no paying customers, so the old software acces would be financed by the real paying customers. Having paid $5,000 ten years ago won't pay for the service today. Do what you want, but if you use CS3 you are not a professional, and you probably did not acquire the software via the official channels. If you want to do serious work, move on. 

 

I still have my Wordstar text processing program for CP/M. I still have my Borland C++ compiler for Windows 95 (?). That won't help me today. Technology evolves. 

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 02, 2023 Dec 02, 2023

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The Installed and activated programs continue to run. As for the rest, why should there be a warning to pull something from the net, that is unsupported and outdated. If you had a CS3 licence, you had ample of time to get the activation free install files. Sure, you could always ask for more, but it's not a chocolate cake. Nobody should expect someone to offer the software for ever for free on their servers. As for the CS 4, I don't know why they did not get offered, but I'm sure, that there is a reason for that.

 
I do have a CS3 licence, and I did download the modified installer - see my previous post. I could easily have missed this opportunity, though, because the service wasn't exactly well advertised, and was provided for a relatively short time. Lots of other people did miss it, which is pretty obvious from previous posts here and on other forums where customers find they are being denied access to the software they paid for. As for CS4, a cynic might suggest that the reason they didn't offer an activation-free installer is because they want to sell CC, and because they are a big software company that can generally get away with things like this (no doubt the small print in the licence will claim they can do whatever they want).

They continue to run as long as their computers continue to run. So there is no denial. Basically, what you're asking for is that a company keeps on delivring indefinitly a running software, just because you once paid for that software. I have probably no 10 years old software on my Windows 10 computer. When I upgraded my computers, I upgraded my OS and Software. I understand, that you want to continue to use that old software, but you see, you are reaching the end of the line, with newer OS which is no more compatible with older software. If you are running a macOS computer, you even can't think about running older software. 

 
A hard disk (say) can fail at any time, even after a few weeks let alone months or years. At this point, the purchaser is denied access to the software they paid for. Macs, of course, have poor or no compatibility with old software due to frequent major OS changes, but backwards-compatibility on Windows is excellent. CS3 certainly installs and runs well on Windows 11, provided you are 'allowed' to install it, and it's as powerful as it ever was.

Oh, many people expect active support for old software. Customers can install the software, if they want. You just can't activate, because part of the activation process is broken. Nobody forbids you to use your software. But no activation servers, no activation. And the activation was introduced, because people did copy the software without licencing.  BTW: the ones having bought a software 20 years ago are no paying customers, so the old software acces would be financed by the real paying customers. Having paid $5,000 ten years ago won't pay for the service today. Do what you want, but if you use CS3 you are not a professional, and you probably did not acquire the software via the official channels. If you want to do serious work, move on.

 

It's meaningless to say that the sofware can be 'installed' if it can't be activated - activation, where necessary, is a key part of the installation process. But of course Adobe, back when they cared about such things, came up with a scheme that would allow their customers to continue to use and install the software they had paid for even after the activation servers were taken down - the activation-free installers they no longer provide. They recognised at that point that it would be unfair (not to say ironic) to use a mechanism designed to prevent software 'theft' to take software away from others. If they don't now want the bother of hosting the installers themselves, I'm sure someone else would be happy to take up the slack. You might argue there would then be a danger that people would download the software who hadn't paid for it, which implies that the software still has value. But if it still has value, why isn't it considered valuable enough to allow its original purchasers to install it?

 

I'm not surprised to see you suggest that those who may have paid thousands to Adobe back in the day (as recently as 2010 for CS4) aren't 'real' paying customers - it's clear that Adobe have exactly the same attitude. As it happens, I usually use much more recent software than CS3, from Adobe and others, at work and elsewhere, but I'm not a professional image editor (preparing images for publication is a very minor part of my job). It is, however, deeply unprofessional to imply that I 'probably did not acquire the software via the official channels', which is nonsense. I still have the original CS3 Design Standard box, bought new when it was current, though of course the installation discs are now useless.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 01, 2023 Dec 01, 2023

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My Dear Friends,

 

I have a mysterious problem regarding the re-installation of an older version of Creative Suite--but it is entirely unrelated to “online activation”. I wonder if some of you would be so kind as to point me to the solution.

 

Erik


By @Erik15C2


Check the registry.

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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