26 Replies Latest reply on Sep 8, 2018 6:50 AM by matthiasn80680394

    CS3 Activation Error - Adobe fix not working

    kporlando Level 1

      Sorry for the length of this post, but I wanted to include as much detail as possible since my issue seems to be rather perplexing. I have been using Photoshop CS3 for over ten years. For over 2 years it has been on PCs with Windows 10 and for the past year on a 64 bit W10 system and running with no issues (other than a little slow). Very recently Adobe removed their servers used to authenticate the activation of the software whenever you execute Photoshop. So like others, when I open Photoshop it stated that it needs to be re-activated, which of course it cannot because the servers are not there. Adobe's fix for the issue was to provide a download of a new version of CS3 that does not require activation, but did require receiving a new serial #. Unfortunately no matter what I try, my downloaded version is still asking to be activated and I cannot get past this point. 

      A little history…

      The above fix works for some, but has not worked for me. Adobe Support (chat and phone) were no help at all (Dont get me started on that experience. Long story short:  the final result was, “CS3 is no longer supported, Sorry”. In another thread of this forum, which had already been marked as answered, several users tried to help (much better support than Adobe), but after numerous attempts over these past 5 days, I am still getting the popup window that I need to activate. To make matters worse, I have expired the 5 days that I could still use it without activation. Never was I provided an opportunity to enter the new serial #.


      So, I thought I would start a new thread that would not marked as "Answered" in the hopes that someone might have some idea.

      Basically, the steps I have taken followed the steps described in the “fix” for CS3/Acrobat8 Activation error, plus some added steps suggested by this forum.

      1) Sign in and get new serial #    (Note: no matter how many times you go thru this step, you always receive the same new serial #. It must be associated with the old one.)

      2) Uninstall old CS3 and reboot.

      3) As suggested by this forum, run the CC cleaner as admin. First I asked to remove CS3/CS4 install. When that did not work, I re-did the steps but selected to uninstall All.    Rebooted.

      4) Manually downloaded the version that does not require activation, that is, did not use the net installer routine to manage the download.

      5) Extracted and installed the new download as admin. (note I was never asked for a serial # during the install). Rebooted.

      6) Executed Photoshop. Results: still get the Temporary Reactivation error screen, which I now cannot get past. No option allowed the entering of the new serial #. When you select the option to reactivate by phone (which does not work because Adobe does not support it anymore), it shows the old serial #.


      At this point, I am out of ideas to try.  I think I need to find where the software is keeping my old serial number and remove it, in the hopes it will then ask for my new one.  What I cannot understand is, if all remnants of any previous version have really been removed, where is it finding my old serial number. I have search my file as well as registry.  Can either assume it is in some encrypted file that is not being removed or housed at Adobe, but it does not show up anywhere on my account info.


      Without a resolution, I will be looking for a new photo editor. It is a shame because I really liked Photoshop. Based upon the experience I have had with Adobe support, any new product will not be an Adobe product.


      One good thing is that CS3 Bridge still works, which I use even more than Photoshop. So if all else fails, I think I can still use CS3 Bridge, but change its default from Photoshop to whatever new photo editor I buy.  Any suggestions for a non Adobe photo editor with similar functionality of CS3?