Last Friday I set out to re-install Windows from scratch as it had become bloated with many changes over an 18 month period. This included updating from Premiere CS2/Matrox RTX100 to Premiere CS4/RTX2. I also had Premiere CS4 installed on my laptop.
To avoid problems I tried to de-activate my out-going Premiere installation. This was repeatedly refused, with the message “De-activation denied” coupled with error code 194.1. I tried with my laptop and got the same message. I though it might be a temporary glitch so left it a while then tried again several times, with identical results.
An internet search revealed that I was not alone, and that Adobe themselves seem to be unaware of the problem:
I discovered that they are also imposing a limit on the number of activation/de-activation cycles:
though I was nowhere near that limit. My two remaining CS2 programs both de-activated straight away, as they had on a number of occasions in the past.
I knew that in the past I had done re-installs of the CS2 products without de-activating first, even when there were wholesale changes in my computer system, e.g. new motherboard, etc. So, in the event, I formatted the partition, and went ahead with the re-install hoping all would be well. It seemed to be; Premiere installed and was activated unobtrusively as usual. On Saturday morning, I set out to do some editing, and was almost immediately confronted with a warning that I had exceeded my activation quota of two installations of Premiere, and that I had 29 days to contact Adobe and purchase an additional licence.
A further search of the internet uncovered a post from someone who had experienced just this scenario, and they had discovered that once you had three active installations, you could de-activate with no problem. The problem occurs only with the permitted two activations. I tried with my laptop, and sure enough de-activation came through within seconds, as it did with my new desktop installation.
I slept on the problem and this morning re-activated both desktop and laptop, and then installed an image of my old desktop installation on a new partition on the desktop. This was then de-activated without problem, so I removed its partition and now all appears to be well (touches wood).
I can readily understand publishers such as Adobe resorting to measures such as activation, and imposing a limit of two installations is more generous than most, though I prefer the Procoder USB dongle. Denying de-activation seems to me to be sheer lunacy. It also leads to the question of what would happen if Adobe were to go bust? Alternatively they might hand over activation to a third party company as Canopus did with Procoder Express when they ceased to support it, potentially increasing the risk.
It is easy to avoid the activation problem if you are so inclined – simply visit one of the many dodgy internet sites, and away you go. Annoying your long term customers seems foolhardy – I have been using Premiere for a decade now, and over that period I have purchased something like 5 full versions of their products and many more upgrades.