Breaking up with Adobe

After two decades of using Adobe software, I’m more or less done with it.

The problem between me and my home town (San Jose’s) graphic software giant came with Lightroom subscriptions. I don’t mind paying $10/month per se. But it seemed every time I’d sit down to do something I was troubleshooting licensing issues.

Then came more licensing issues. I purchased Adobe CS3 a decade ago for more than I paid for my first car. I don’t need Illustrator often, nor do I need any of the new features that would prompt me to subscribe to use the latest version. So I was happy to launch CS3 every few weeks to make a sign, or print out labels or whatnot. However I started getting licensing errors with my purchased CS3 as well!

Turns out the jerks at Adobe changed the way the license is checked. They don’t send legit users a message. The error doesn’t tell you this. But you have to spend whatever time troubleshooting the problem, then find this out in a search on a forum. Then you need to sign up for an Adobe account, get a new license. And then reinstall a new version of your new serial number. In my case even this didn’t work.

Ultimately I installed CS2, which is good enough for me. You can find working serial numbers for CS2 and all those individual apps here. Adobe stopped the licensing check for CS3 a few years ago, so I’m assuming this solution will last for me as long as the program can run on my computer.

If you, like me own CS2 (I own both CS2 and CS3) and want never to login to Adobe as they try and force you to do I found a work around. You can find the downloads and serial number here on’s Wayback Machine. There’s a trick, the archived page tries to load a script right after it shows the downloads and serial numbers page. So wait until loads the page, then hit the stop loading page button right away (in Chrome it’s the key just to the right of the forward or right arrow key. Then the static page is displayed and you can check the box that you own CS2 (legally you need to to download- not that they actually check.) After that you can see all the serial numbers by language and download links. There are a bunch of archived pages, and not all of them have working links. I suggest you start with the first archive from 20 Sep 2016.

Tip: copy all the serial numbers- CS2 was setup to be installed from CDs, but that’s not how you’re going to do it. If you try using the CS2 installer it will ask you to insert CD2, which of course you don’t have. Well actually you do (if you are legally downloading the software.) But a) you don’t have  a CD drive anymore (maybe,) b) your CD is in a pile of CDs in storage and you don’t want to try to find and c) those CD’s you bought wouldn’t work since Adobe edited the software so as not to check the license in the update you’re downloading. So the work around is the CS2 installer has each program as it’s on stand alone intaller program. Though you can then install individually, the CS2 serial numbers do not work, but the archived page includes serial numbers for the individual programs as well. I just copied the whole English “Download Acrobat 7 and CS2 products” section and saved in a text file along the installers.

Good Bye Adobe!!!!