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Error "Licensing for this product has expired" | CS4, CS5

Jan 30, 2011 10:31 PM

Issue

When you attempt to start (launch) a Creative Suite 4 (CS4) or Creative Suite 5 (CS5) application, you receive the error "Licensing for this product has expired", "The serial number you used to activate this product has expired", or "Invalid serial number. The serial number appears to be invalid".

This can occur after the application has already been running successfully for some time, or when you start it for the first time.

Reason

There are three situations that can cause this error:

  • You participated in a pre-release program, and the pre-release serial number is still stored on your computer. Serial numbers for pre-release programs expire when the pre-release program ends.
  • You installed a trial version of the application on the computer, which has expired.
  • You serial number has been deactivated by Adobe Customer Service. This can occur when you request a new serial number from Adobe Customer Service. 

Solutions

Solution 1 (CS5): Enter a new serial number when prompted.

If licensing has expired for a CS5 application, the application will prompt you to enter a new serial number. When prompted for the serial number, enter the number from your purchased product.

Solution 2: Turn the system clock back, start your application, and erase the stored expiring serial number.

  1. Set the computer clock back to January 1, 2006.
  2. Launch the affected application, or any application within the affected Creative Suite package.
  3. Go to Help > Deactivate, and check the option ERASE THIS SERIAL NUMBER (CS4) or DEACTIVATE PERMANENTLY (CS5).
  4. Quit the application.
  5. Set the computer clock back to the current date.
  6. Start the application.
  7. When prompted for the serial number, enter the number from your purchased product.

Solution 3: Delete the PCD and caps database files, and re-install.

  1. Uninstall the application or entire Creative Suite package. To uninstall on Windows, use the Add Or Remove Programs feature in Windows. To uninstall on Mac OS, navigate to an application folder (e.g., /Application/Adobe Photoshop CS4) and double-click the Uninstall shortcut (e.g., Uninstall Adobe Photoshop CS4) shortcut.
    Important: Before you uninstall the software, make sure that you have the installation media to reinstall it. Replacement media isn’t available for previous versions of Adobe software.
  2. Delete the following folders: 
    Windows:
    \Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Adobe PCD
    \Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\caps
    \Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\backup
    Mac OS:
    [startup drive]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe PCD
    [startup drive]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/caps
    [startup drive]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/backup
    Note: These folders are located in the Library folder at the root of your startup drive, not in the Library folder in your user home folder!
  3. Reinstall your application or Creative Suite package, and enter the serial number from your purchased product.

Additional information

The error "The license for this product has expired" is unrelated to the error "Licensing for this product has stopped working". An expired license means that a serial number, which is no longer valid, is still stored in the pcd.db database file. The valid serial number you received with your purchased product didn't overwrite the expired serial number during the installation process. Removing the expired serial number either by setting the computer clock back and erasing the stored number through the Deactivation menu, or by deleting the pcd.db file will allow you to enter your valid serial number.

The error "Licensing for this product has stopped working" is related to the activation component of Creative Suite 4 software, specifically to a problem with the FlexNet Service. (Creative Suite 5 software uses a different activation component.) See these documents for solutions on how to resolve this particular error:

 

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