Hi. In 2018 I experienced a hard-drive crash on a computer that was too old to connect to the internet, and after verifying my serial number, Adobe was kind enough to give me a download for a version that didn't require activation. I had the presence of mind to save the .dmg file in case of future trouble. The version installed fine, and I used it without problems for two years.
This month I swapped out an older hard drive which had regular, authorized AE installed but had previously been used on a different machine. I wasn't surprised when it asked for authorization, so I unstalled that version, believing I could simply install the authorization-free version from my .dmg onto that hard drive, since otherwise the hardware was the same. It installed fine and accepted my serial number as correct, but it asked to be authorized, with a five-day grace period.
In this forum I read that I could try uninstalling AE, remove the cache.db file from preferences, and reinstall the activation-free version. It still asked to be authorized, however, with the same five-day grace period.
Believing that this was due to a conflict with the previous install, I then tried installing the activation-free version on a laptop that had never had AE installed on it. The install went fine and accepted my serial number. But again the program wanted to be authorized — however, this time I was given a 30-day grace period.
So I have a few questions for anyone still following along:
1. Do you have any idea how I can use my legitimately owned, authorization-free version on the laptop after the 30-day grace period (or on the original machine now that the five days has expired)?
2. Do you think I could install the authorization-free version on the original machine, without being asked for authorization, if I completely wiped the hard drive and did a clean system install?
3. If you had one of these authorization-free versions, do you remember what the installation process was? I am pretty positive that I never needed an authorization number. I tried entering the serial number in the authorization-number field, on both machines when prompted, but it didn't work.
Specifics of my case:
-After Effects CS3 (Admins, yes I am aware that "CS3 is dead" and I'm not looking for Adobe to help me, I am just asking for other users' advice and memories, so please don't lock this thread)
-Original machine is a Power Mac G5 running OS 10.4.9
In case you are still following this thread, when I obtained the activation-free installer for CS3 Design Standard (PC), the web page that provided the download links displayed a new serial number that had to be entered during installation. Are you perhaps trying to enter the original serial number, which isn't valid with the special installer? If you have both the new serial number and the special installer, then I suspect that removing all traces of Adobe from your system will indeed allow you to install, though I don't know if you'd have to do anything as drastic as a reformat. There are various cleaning tools that might help, perhaps this one:
As an update, CS3 activation servers are gone. Adobe removed them from service years ago. And the activation-free installers and serial numbers have been taken down. Adobe no longer supports legacy Creative Suite software.
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