Idiocy? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt because you're frustrated.
If you have a serial number - which you must have if you bought a perpetual license - then you'll need to enter it in order for Photoshop to activate.
Did you misplace your serial number? If you bought directly from Adobe there's a way to get it from Adobe's main site (look for the "My Adobe" link). But you'll have to use the Adobe ID you set up way back when you activated your first copy.
If it does not activate upon entry of your serial number then there is no other option other than to get Adobe customer support on the line. I've done it before; work at it a bit and I'm sure you'll reach a human in SOME part of the world.
Changed computers. (Mac). Did migration.
If you migrated the CS6 suite then that won't work.
You'll have to re-install the CS6 apps.
Frustrated indeed, especially after similar sillyness with MS Office.
Turned out I needed my newest serial number and the last actual discs I had were CS5.5 (Idownloaded 6 later).
Found newer serial number rooting around in my account (which I hadn't gone to since Adobe got hacked).
I'm too old to forget the days when upgrades relied on the original numbers (yep, I still have my original Aldus
PageMaker 3.5" installation floppies). Guess I'll make a text file with the newest numbers and stick it in
with the CS6 files.
Everything seems to be working okay now. I had to manually move a bunch of stuff in the Dreamweaver
Configuration sub-folder; guess I'll eventually find out what's been messed up with the others.
Been a long day with more to go.
Guess I'll make a text file with the newest numbers and stick it in with the CS6 files.
Exactly how I've done it since the early 2000s for all version of all my paid software.
I also securely store the text file in Dropbox so it's always available to me on every computer and device wherever I happen to be.
Then I can always download the installation files from the web and always have my serial numbers to hand.