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[Locked] Photoshop CS3 Activation [CS3 is dead]

Community Beginner ,
Aug 01, 2017 Aug 01, 2017

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Adobe has retired the activation servers for Creative Suite 3 (CS3) and Acrobat 8 applications and has left CS3 users hanging.  When the software is opened, a request for activation appears that cannot be activated because Adobe no longer has activation servers.  Instead, you are told to request a new serial key for a "special version" of the software that has to be installed to replace the original software.  According to Adobe, the "special version" of the software does not require activation.  After requesting a new serial key and installing the "special version" twice, I still get the message that the software has to be activated.  I have spent hours online and on the phone with customer support and no one seems to be able to resolve this issue.  I now have Photoshop CS3 that I purchased for a substantial amount of money that I can no longer use because I can't activate it.  Is anyone else having this problem and is there an answer?

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , Jan 01, 2020 Jan 01, 2020
It's now 2020.  As an update, CS3 activation servers are gone.  And Adobe ended access to activation-free installers and replacement serial numbers.  Customer Care agents cannot help with this matter.  CS3 is officially dead. If you never upgrade your computer or OS, you could potentially keep using CS3 for another 12+ years.  But I'm sorry to say that re-installation is no longer an option.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 01, 2017 Aug 01, 2017

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Personally not myself, but I wonder if you have components of the old CS3 in your system.

Try uninstalling, then download and run the Cleaner tool Use the Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool to solve installation problems using the instructions in the link.

Then right click on the new installer, Run as Administrator, just to be sure it runs properly.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 01, 2017 Aug 01, 2017

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I've tried using the cleaner tool and then reinstalled, but it doesn't make any difference.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 01, 2017 Aug 01, 2017

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Since I have an old CS3 license, I did the swap, copied the serial number they gave me (Ctrl c/Ctrl v into Notepad) and downloaded the installer. I refused the akamai option and they let me download it via browser.

I unpacked and ran the installer and restarted as asked. (Windows 10)

I launched CS3, pasted the serial number I had copied from Notepad and what I got was a Registration Screen. I clicked on Never Register and CS3 went through the splash screen and opened. I hope you got that serial number correct.

I closed and restarted and it still launches. That's all I can tell you.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 02, 2017 Aug 02, 2017

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When you launched cs3, where did you paste the new serial number?  When I launch the app, I get the activate screen.  It doesn't allow me to paste the serial number. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 02, 2017 Aug 02, 2017

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What I got was a screen that had either a choice of a 30 day trial or a serial number. Nothing about activation.

There is no request for activation at any time.

The file I downloaded is ADBEPHSPCS3_ESD1_WWE.exe, a 463 MB Adobe Extractor file that creates the installer and components.

Setup.exe is the installer name, dated 3/21/2007

Are you sure you have these files and not something else?

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 02, 2017 Aug 02, 2017

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I checked the name of the download and it's the same.  I absolutely can't figure this one out.  I've tried everything I can think of to resolve the problem and nothing works.  I've used both the Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool and the Adobe Limited Access Repair Tool to check host files.  Makes no sense.  Thanks so much for your help though!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 02, 2017 Aug 02, 2017

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You'll have to find someone willing to look at it. One thing I did find out, CS3 is 32 bit only and can only access 3 GB of ram, no matter how much you have installed. It is installed in the Program Files (x86) directory.

The only last suggestion is to open a new user account and see what it does.

I'm out of ideas for now.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 04, 2017 Aug 04, 2017

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I had CS2, CS6 Subscription version 13.1.2, CC, CC 2014, CC 2015, CC 2015.5 and CC 2017 installed and all up to date.  I used the new CS3 link entered my CS3 serial  followed the instructions. Downloaded the new CS3 install and noted the serial number provided for me.  I installed CS3 with the serial after entering that numbers there was a messaged about the activation server could not be connected to.  That would not be normal for the no longer exist. Activation is not required..  I then downloaded the CS3 Update patch and ACR 4.6 for CS3 and installed the patch and ACR 4.6.   I had no problem and also did not have the problem gener7 had,   CC 2014 is still the default version of Photoshop one my machine.  I only use newer version of Photoshop to test other users problems. They have too many issues IMO the should not ne you default Photoshop application.    CS3 was one of the best version Adobe released, CS4 had GPU support added I never installed it.  CS5 had some issues. CS6 IMO was the buggiest version ever released.  It took Adobe ever 5 months to release an update for CS6 that addressed the major issues.  506  core issues were fix with that update only then could I use CS6.  If you ever installs CS6 make sure you install all the CS6 updates. CS6 needs them.  CC 2014 is quite good.

JJMack

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 04, 2017 Aug 04, 2017

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I guess results do vary, JJ. No problem installing and running as is, but it did indeed remove the Desktop app. Just a word of caution to those who try it out.

One thing about CS3, it's "32 bit only" (I think CS4 was the first 64 bit option) meaning an allotment of 3 GB ram no matter what you have on your system.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 04, 2017 Aug 04, 2017

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Yes CS2, CS3 are 32bit versions of Photoshop.  The main reasons I upgraded to CS5 and 6 was ACR and 64bit support to take advantage of more then 4GB of ram to improve performance. After that added SSD Photoshop can be a resource hungry application.

JJMack

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 04, 2017 Aug 04, 2017

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I tried out a test file on CS3. The SSD made a world of difference in speed. Back in 2007 they must have cost a fortune. I don't do any high demand projects, so CS3 is fun to work with.

I'm moving my CS licenses from Windows to Mac simply because I have three mac laptops. Adobe still allows the cross platform swap on CS6 so I might as well do this while I can.

Gene

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New Here ,
Mar 02, 2018 Mar 02, 2018

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I want codes

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Explorer ,
Aug 14, 2017 Aug 14, 2017

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I too have the same issue, i.e., after uninstalling the old version and installing the "non-activating" version, it is still wants to reactivate the old serial number and never asks for the new one.  After 2 hours waiting for a chat, final chatted with a tech who provided an answer that did not work.  He saw I had versions 10 and was thinking that was CS4. I knew I had CS3, but he gave me the download for CS4. That did not work with the old or new serial number, as I expected.  Tried to call phone support and hung up after an hour.  That was 2 days ago.  Several hours ago I again called support and instead of waiting selected option for a call back. None yet?

Is this the usual type of support from Adobe?  If so, I will NOT pay a subscription for any of their new products.

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Explorer ,
Aug 14, 2017 Aug 14, 2017

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After hours of chat and phone support and being transferred to 4 different techs who "can fix my issue", I finally got an answer...

"Sorry, we do not support CS3 any more".

Thus they will not attempt to resolve why the non-activation version download/install does not work.

Guess I have to but the newest version...NOT!!!!!! Not with this kind of support.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 15, 2017 Aug 15, 2017

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I went through the same scenario with Adobe support.  Spent hours on chat explaining the problem and ended up receiving the same response.  I called and the answer was that I had to upgrade.  What makes me so angry with this is that I paid for this license and now can't use it.  I would have considered upgrading except for the fact that now Adobe has a subscription service.  After paying for a license and then having to continue to pay to use the software for the rest of my life is unacceptable.  It's all about money!

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New Here ,
Aug 21, 2017 Aug 21, 2017

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've followed the following instructions given by Nancy OShea.  It worked:

Activation or connection error | CS3, Acrobat 8

It's official.  CS3 Activation Servers have been retired.  If you have CS3 or Acrobat 8, see this help article for further details on how to obtain a replacement version & new serial number that does not require activation.  This is not freeware.  You will be asked to log-in with your Adobe ID and provide a valid CS3 serial number.

Activation or connection error when starting CS3 or Acrobat 8

NOTE: For best results, remove your old CS3 / Acrobat 8 BEFORE installing the replacement version.  Below is a link to the CS Cleaner Tool.

Use the Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool to solve installation problems

If after installing replacement version you still see an Activation Countdown, remove the cache.db file from this folder.

Program Files (x86)/Common Files/Adobe/Adobe PCD/cache/

When prompted for serial number, enter the new one.  And click on Never Register.

Restart your computer.

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New Here ,
Aug 28, 2017 Aug 28, 2017

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YOU ARE MY HERO!!  After having the same problem as people above and searching the internet for days trying to figure out how to get the new activation to work, you solved my issue!!  It's that cache file that is keeping everyone from putting in the new serial number.  I thought I was going to lose it on adobe for making what was a very expensive product obsolete.  YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!

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New Here ,
Oct 02, 2017 Oct 02, 2017

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Is your fix a PC thing? I can't find Program Files (x86)/Common Files/Adobe/Adobe PCD/cache/ on my iMac... (very sad face)

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 08, 2017 Nov 08, 2017

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I also have mac and more than 20 years using Adobe but maybe not any more.  meanwhile need a fix for reactivation problem with CS3.

Have followed all instructions faithfully, have installed new several times - successfully per setup - but still receive notice of deactivation in one day

unable to work and do not want to be blackmailed into RENTING new..

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 08, 2017 Nov 08, 2017

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 08, 2017 Nov 08, 2017

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have done all this repeatedly (last time removing the Cache.db) - NO SUCCESS.

also, Use the Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool to solve installation problems  on using cloud cleaner (which I did each time)  also says:

  To verify that the Adobe CC Cleaner Tool completed successfully, in a text editor such as TextEdit, open /Users/[user name]/Adobe Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool.log.

    Review the log file entries. If any of the entries indicate failure, contact us.

Don't know if this qualifies as failure,

2017-11-08 13:09:29.265 Adobe Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool[807:12985] Error in fetching HD product details error = 10

so tried to contact and  got same old runaround at Contact Customer Care 

Is there no one who can solve this problem?  using iMac late 2015 with Sierra 10.12.6

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 08, 2017 Nov 08, 2017

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After you removed the Cache.db file, did you empty the trash before trying cs3 again?

Do you have a backup from Time Machine on an external drive hooked to your mac that your main system is reading from?

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 08, 2017 Nov 08, 2017

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No to both - didn't think of emptying trash!  will try whole procedure again.  backup is never on unless I am using it.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 08, 2017 Nov 08, 2017

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Started again from  scratch - even downloading again CC Cleaner and Installer - nothing showed in trash but clicked empty anyway (in case of ghosts).  Shut down after completing installation - (successfully, per setup) - then got into PS using "reactivate later" and tried update, activate, register - ALL said no connection, so no go.  turned on both wifi and ethernet - still says no connection (nothing new there - has been saying that for ages when I try to update)

bottom line - same old:  it didn't work.  chat = totally useless.  can't find phone number?  have one 800 number from 2010 - will try A.M. but doubt if it will do any good.  seems they just don't want anything to do with users except collect their money and leave them up a tree.

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