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Adobe Photoshop CS3 activation fail on Mac OS X

:: Saturday, October 25th, 2008 @ 2:58:55 am

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I am astounded by how much Adobe CS3′s activation process sucks.

I changed my hard disks last month, and all of my CS3 applications freaked out and wanted to be re-activated. So I reactivated them. Just now, InDesign CS3 asked to do a repair activation. So I did it, and it worked (via internet). Photoshop CS3 then asked for a repair activation with an Activation Type of “Repair: 161:176″. Google finds no instance of this Activation Type.

Internet re-activation failed. Automated phone re-activation failed twice. Customer support re-activation failed 4 times — I had to read 50 digits (whatever) over the phone 4 times, and it was starting to piss me off. The fact that it is 2:45am isn’t helping. But what was most annoying was the conversation with the Indian support woman.

Nitwit: Can you close Photoshop and restart it?

Me: (4 seconds later) OK. I have a the activation number.

– repeat 4 times –

Nitwit: How are you getting the new activation number so fast?

Me: I quit Photoshop and restarted it.

Nitwit: How did you restart Photoshop?

Me: … well, I quit Photoshop. Then, I restarted it.

Nitwit: How did you quit Photoshop?

Me: What do you mean?

Nitwit: Did you use a command key shortcut?

Me: Yes.

Nitwit: Please use the mouse to quit.

Me: I promise you that there is no difference. I verified that the process was no longer running.

Nitwit: How did you restart Photoshop?

Me: I used Quicksilver. It’s basically the same as using the Finder.

Nitwit: Can you please double click on the Photoshop icon?

Me: The fact that I can restart Photoshop quickly isn’t related to the fact that this re-activation isn’t working.

This went on for awhile until she finally escalated me to a “support tech.” The immense crapitude demonstrated by Adobe Support astounds me. And now, I can’t re-activate Photoshop CS3 until someone contacts me from technical support. I am OUT WORKING; luckily, I am still able to call in by phone. What if I had been in Indonesia on a boat?

This is why software piracy happens. If I had been using a cracked version, I would still be able to work.

| Las Vegas | link | trackback | Oct 25, 2008 02:58:55
  • syndromes

    Uhh… keep in mind I’m not an OSX guy, so I have no clue if any of this works, let alone makes any sense ;) And the fact that they’re from keygen tutorials and what not…

    Anyhew, what little I could find pointed to two or three possible solutions:

    1)

    FOR reactivation issue: Go to %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\FLEXnet (c:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\FLEXnet\) and rename the adobe_*_tsf.data file (Adobe apps must not be running) After that, when You start an Adobe app You will then see a registration window where You could enter Your new legit registration data.

    2) Similar to the first solution:

    Navigate to the Library/Preferences/FLEXnet Publisher/FLEXnet folder Delete everything inside, empty the trash.

    3) Install “AppZapper” or “AppTrap” and see if they’ll do a full uninstall for you, then try to reactivate/reinstall.

    Hope one of those works for ya :/

  • EggRollMonster

    crapitude? :)

  • http://echeng.com echeng

    Neal -

    Thank you — #1 worked! I actually found that solution last night, but I was bleary-eyed and must have navigated to the “PreferencePanes” folder instead and didn’t see the FLEXnet stuff (in Terminal, I typed “Pref” and then TAB, and it probably matched wrong).

    Adobe escalated support hasn’t gotten back to me yet, so it’s a good thing your comment encouraged me to try the solution again.

    However, I should probably try to find a crack to bring with me on my next long trip. I will be without real communication for months, and if this happens on the road, I will be screwed.

  • syndromes

    Awesome! Glad something worked :)

    I’m right there with you regarding how activation processes/DRM/etc actually reinforce the use of pirated software. Seems pretty counter-intuitive that you basically punish legit users of your software by burdening them with more hoops to jump through than someone who isn’t going to purchase your software anyway. You’d think that you would want to reward them for purchasing your software by making it easier for them to use, not the other way around.

    Ah well. /soapbox (and viva la torrents!)

  • marc v

    in this case, keygen > crack.

    plus it’s more safe. while your at it, check out cs4.

  • wundabred

    thanks a bunch for the tip – I had battered my head bloody trying to get CS3 to “repair” the activation…suggestion #2 worked like a charm…

  • Frank

    I detest Adobe’s activation process. I had the demo version of CS3 on my Mac. Uninstalled it and bought the suite. Tried to install it, but the installer said certain programs were still installed, so wouldn’t install them. Of course the “installed” programs I’d deleted wouldn’t run either. Off to tech support to get a heavy duty uninstaller. Ran that a few times. Re-installed. Everything installed BUT I had apparently used my two activations while trying to get the software to run. Off to Adobe support hell. The guys who had helped me uninstall it couldn’t help me with activation problems. It was off to India (by phone) where I was accused of installing it on more than one machine (I had only one Mac that would run it) and in essence called me a thief and a liar.

    Adobe has a rather odd view of customer support where you assume your customers are liars and thieves and treat them as such. Great way to build customer loyalty.

    It doesn’t end there, however, I bought a new Mac. To activate CS3 on my new computer I had to deactivate it on the old one. Deactivation failed. Better yet. Yesterday the software on my old computer that I couldn’t deactivate wouldn’t run because Adobe had blocked its licence. Of course I still couldn’t activate it on my new computer. After half an hour of chasing around Adobe support, I finally ended up in the Philippines where I got my new activation code.

    I’m beginning to understand why so much of Adobe’s support is overseas. It prevents livid customers from arriving with a gun and shooting someone.

    Congratulations Adobe — I’m sure business schools around the world are recommending companies emulate your plan for building customer loyalty.

  • Suma

    Thank you guys, I was having the same problem..

    In this folder /Library/Preferences/FLEXnet Publisher/FLEXnet/ is the adobe_*_tsf.data file stored. The only thing I had to do was rename it, I’ve added .backup on it and I was able to activate Photoshop the normal way!

    Thank you :-)

  • http://www.foreogncandy.com Nate

    Thanks for the help,

    Suggestion #2 worked…

    Saved IT from re-installing CS3

    Thanks!

  • Andrée

    Thanks ! #1 worked !

    Good…

  • http://kafekafe.com Echen

    OMG, I'm going through this now. The frustration level is unbearable… and of course the tech support office is not open now.

  • john

    this is why I’m still using cs1 on mac, I had used photoshop since 1.0, I have no hope on it now, i will keep using cs1 untill there is no more mac can work with it, then i will switch o other job type

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