18 Replies Latest reply on Dec 16, 2009 12:52 PM by Dag Norum

    The Frustrations of Serial Numbers

    jamesorlowski88

      I realize I'm new to these forums, but I need get on my soap box for a moment and vent some frustrations...

       

      I just want to say that software companies that continue to use serial numbers with activations are really only frustrating us legitimate users.  People pirate software all the time, and serial numbers/activation requirements don't hinder them one bit.  Pirated copies are out there regardless of the type of copy protection implemented.

       

      I'm a legitimate user of many Adobe products and have numerous purchased licenses.  I'm currently attempting to install my purchased and downloaded Premiere CS4 that I've burned to a DVD for archiving, and I simply can't install it from that DVD.  If I try, it says my serial number is invalid.  I get a red X when I type in the last 4 digits of my serial number.  Even chats and talks with Adobe tech/customer support couldn't help.  I stumbled on the solution for my problem simply by accident.

       

      Now, if I copy the contents of that DVD that I burned to the hard drive (a lengthy and slow process, I might add), it works just fine.  So, there must be some voodoo magic file or folder that the Adobe installer is looking for to check and see if my serial number is valid.  But the installer can't find it on the DVD.  Why it finds it on the C: drive is beyond me.

       

      It's like Hollywood and DVD copy protection.  It only hinders us users when we want to, say, play our purchased licensed movie on anything but a DVD player.  Pirates have no problems bypassing the copy protection.  It's the same with protected music files.  Thank goodness at least stores like Amazon are starting to remove the copy protection because it's soooo restrictive.

       

      And, to channel Glenn Beck (I hate myself for doing so, BTW), one can even go so far as comparing this to gun control.  Gun control only puts restrictions on people who legally own firearms.  Criminals still get their hands on guns and don't care one bit about the gun control laws.

       

      Now, I'm not saying there should be NO software protection, I'm just saying the current system is too restrictive and something new should be implemented.  What that new procedure is, I don't know.

       

      And as a final point, you know what happens to legitimate users who have serious frustrations that can't be resolved?  They look for "alternative options".  And those "options" are often hacks designed to bypass copy protection.  Thus, copy protection (and serial numbers and activations) can turn fine citizens into criminals.

       

      I've learned my lesson here and will never choose the download option when buying software from Adobe.  I'll always have the media delivered to me in the future.

        • 1. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
          dradeke Adobe Employee

          James,

           

          Welcome to the forum.  I feel for you and agree to a point, but given the alternatives and the fact that Adobe has an obligation to our share holders as a publicly traded company, this is the best system for Adobe at the moment.

           

          Doing nothing would promote casual copying and giving to friends.  Doing a dongle would be worse.  serial # and activation are the best options given the alternatives.  one thing we do advocate is going after software pirates (which we aggressively do).

           

          I know that Adobe is constantly looking at alternatives to provide customers a smooth and easy installation and activation experience.  If something new comes along that improves it for you and protects us from unauthorized copies, you can be sure we will embrace it.

           

          as for ESD vs. hard media, I guess I'm old school (being older) and appreciate having the media on hand 'just in case.'

           

          Welcome to the forums.

          Dennis

          • 2. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
            the_wine_snob Level 9

            Dennis,

             

            I agree that the current scheme, while not perfect, works quite well for the vast majority of users. Please do NOT go to a dongle. Hate those puppies!

             

            I also feel as you - I want my media, and will always buy it, when available. With my Adobe products, I've never gone the download route, and will gladly pay more for media and for any documentation.

             

            As of CS, I have also had zero problems with Activation. I only know one person, who has, but it was only when he'd bring his laptop over and hook into my wireless network. Adobe would reset his Activation, but I would guess that maybe my having my two installations of PS and my IP address was causing the issue. After two resets, his issues disappeared, even on my network. Otherwise, no issues.

             

            Other schemes, such as having to have the original DVD in a drive, are much more trouble, even on a workstation like mine with multiple burners/drives. I've got one audio editor from Magix, that has to have the installation DVD inserted, and also the media DVD from which I am working. I have to swap that one depending on which media DVD I need. Even the media cannot be installed onto the HDD and accessed. It's a real pain! To me, Adobe's method is head-n-shoulders better, at least for me.

             

            Hunt

            • 3. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
              jamesorlowski88 Level 1

              I suppose you're all right.  While I wasn't saying do nothing, I was just saying there must be a better solution.

               

              But at this point, I don't think there is.  I just hope that Adobe is lenient when people have activation issues due to multiple legitimate installs.  I know personally on a few occasions when I went to re-install my OS, I forgot to DEACTIVATE my software.  Only once did this cause me grief and Adobe let it slide.  I also know that a few times when employees take it upon themselves to reinstall without my knowledge, they often skip the deactivate step, which ultimately leads to them coming to me asking why they can't activate.

               

              I was just very frustrated when I wrote that original post since I couldn't install my purchased license for PPRO CS4 from the DVD I burned.   Perhaps Adobe could figure out a better way to deliver downloaded installs.  As it is now, it's a bit confusing, don't you agree?

              • 4. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                dradeke Adobe Employee
                I just hope that Adobe is lenient when people have activation issues due to multiple legitimate installs.  I know personally on a few occasions when I went to re-install my OS, I forgot to DEACTIVATE my software. 

                I think that Adobe generally is pretty lenient and my experience has backed this up.  Forgetting things like deactivating does happen, but hopefully after the first time, people remember.  I now remember to deauthorize my itunes because I don't want to lose my licensing of the music I paid for!  I've done it though... Same thing for Adobe software...

                 

                Thanks for your feedback and comments.

                 

                Dennis

                • 5. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                  the_wine_snob Level 9

                  While I have never had to use it, others report no issues from Customer Service when they needed to work on an Activation issue, or reset the number of installations.

                   

                  @Dennis,

                   

                  With PS, there is a set number of installations available. All, who have come up against that in that forum have had no problem getting the installations reset. Do you know if it's the same with PrPro? Just curious, based on another recent thread.

                   

                  Thanks,

                   

                  Hunt

                  • 6. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                    TL2121 Level 1

                    Hunt you are normally spot on and I have enjoyed reading your responses for a couple years now but I have to totally agree with the OP

                     

                    My reasons may be different- but the frustrations with Adobe activation is shared

                    Thanks for posting this thread James

                    It's one thing to protect yourself from piracy which Adobe is wise to do as already pointed out- but to deny reactivation of an older Adobe product on the basis of it being "old" is weak

                     

                    Over the summer I had purchased Production suite CS4 and reading that Adobe recommended uninstalling older versions of Production premium-uninstalled  Prod prem 2 (PR Pro2 ,Au 2,En 2,AE, PsCs2) prior to installing CS4 suite- when I realized that you needed a super computer for realtime playback in CS4 I attempted to go back to Prod Prem 2 but could not reactivate the entire CS2 suite- here is Adobe's response to me- a paying customer after I emailed them my original proof of purchase

                     

                    "Dear Anthony,

                     

                    Thank you for contacting Adobe customer service.

                     

                    We have received your Proof of Purchase from royaldiscount.com. I would
                    like to apologize to say that the serial number is non-activateable, due to its an old product.

                     

                    We apologize for the inconvenience"

                     

                     

                    WEAK! It dosen't matter it's an older product- I BOUGHT IT- paid 1500 like everyone else- what would've happened if it was a cpu crash and I didn't want to buy CS4 upgrade to reinstall- should be able to reinstall and reactivate an older product anytime we need to

                     

                    I agree with the OP on this one- for me I've been over it for a little while but this is igniting the flame once again

                     

                    Best

                     

                    Tony

                    • 7. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                      the_wine_snob Level 9

                      I appreciate the kind words. I also do not mind in the least that you disagree with my position on this. My comments are predicated on my personal experiences and those of a few friends, assistants and clients. You have a very valid and personal experience, and it's not a positive one.

                       

                      I have no way to even attempt to defend Adobe's position, and it pains me to hear of it. That is not good Customer Service in my book. Fortunately it goes against the limited experience that I have had with C/S, but that was also many, many years ago, so that experience is moot to any discussion on how things operate nowadays - like a 10 year old restaurant review.

                       

                      Good luck,

                       

                      Hunt

                      • 8. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                        Dag Norum Level 2
                        We have received your Proof of Purchase from royaldiscount.com. I would
                        like to apologize to say that the serial number is non-activateable, due to its an old product.

                         

                        I don't even understand they had the guts to apologize. CS2 is just two-three years old. It's like: Oh, now your car is three years old, and if you lost the key, sorry, you just lost your whole car.

                         

                        Dennis wrote: "one thing we do advocate is going after software pirates (which we aggressively do)."

                         

                        I think Adobe in your case Tony, advocates a piracy-like behavior. People will look for key-generators and stuff like that in order to get their old software to work.

                         

                        Dennis also wrote: "Adobe has an obligation to our share holders"

                         

                        Shouldn't that obligation also include a stable work-flow over years for customers?

                         

                        It's a common saying that you should finish up your production in the product you started it. I agree, even to an extent that whenever I need to re-edit an old project, I use the original editor in order to avoid "translation" problems. I still use Premiere 6.5 and PPro 1.5 (and CS3).

                         

                        The computer I have PPro 1.5 on can't even take any newer version. I planned to do a full re-install (XP ++) soon, but now I got scared.

                         

                        What is the problem about supporting activation for older versions?

                         

                        Dag

                        • 9. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                          jamesorlowski88 Level 1

                          Dag Norum wrote:

                          I think Adobe in your case Tony, advocates a piracy-like behavior. People will look for key-generators and stuff like that in order to get their old software to work.

                           

                          This reinforces my theory that serial numbers and activation problems for LEGITIMATE users can, and sometimes does, lead to turning good, upstanding customers into software pirates.

                           

                          I sometimes think that software companies just assume everyone is a criminal, and customers must PROVE that they are not.  A bit backwards, in my opinion.

                           

                          And, I had no idea that I will never again be able to use my CS2 suite, or even my 1.5 version products.  I guess I'm saving these items for nothing (other than their serial numbers for upgrade purposes.)

                          • 10. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                            TL2121 Level 1

                            DAG

                             

                            The car analogy is a good one- at least it made me laugh. It is quite similar to what they are saying- Don't lose that key!

                             

                            I think their whole stance from what I gather is now with CS4 you shouldn't have 2 working suites on your cpu at one time- because I don't know- but that seems to be a new stand. It makes no sense to me and I'm glad that others may read this and somehow benefit from my experience- for what it's worth I did not deactivate CS2 when I uninstalled- because I was intalling CS4 next and did not want to ef anything up as I know this adobe activation is a pain- and I don't know that much about it- so maybe that had something to do with it- Yeah maybe it's my fault- or maybe once the upgrade check (for CS4) for 600+ clears Adobe dosen't give a #$%^.

                             

                            My guess- it's the latter

                             

                            Oh well I've moved on (sorta) still saving up for that win 7 64 bit i7 12GB of ram- MONSTER to edit HDV in CS4- by the time that happens they will have introduced Cuda and CS5

                             

                            Thanks again James for this thread I hope people can somehow learn from our experiences

                             

                            Best Wishes

                             

                            Tony

                            • 11. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                              Averdahl Level 3

                              I was just very frustrated when I wrote that original post since I couldn't install my purchased license for PPRO CS4 from the DVD I burned.   Perhaps Adobe could figure out a better way to deliver downloaded installs.  As it is now, it's a bit confusing, don't you agree?

                               

                              Download a trial of Premiere Pro CS4 > Burn a new DVD > Install from the newly burned DVD with your serial number.

                               

                              Or, just download the trial and install Daemon Tools and do the install from your hard drive. Thats lightning fast compared to DVD installs.

                               

                              The trial version of Premiere Pro and the version you downloaded when you bought Premiere Pro is the very same file, so there is no difference and your serial number will work. AFAIK, you got a mail when you bought Premiere Pro, and in that mail the necessary download links and info are. You did save that mail?

                               

                              And, I had no idea that I will never again be able to use my CS2 suite, or even my 1.5 version products.

                               

                              Why are you not able to use the CS2 Suite and your 1.5 versions?

                              • 12. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                                jamesorlowski88 Level 1

                                Averdahl wrote:

                                Why are you not able to use the CS2 Suite and your 1.5 versions?

                                 

                                Not speaking from personal experience, but someone else in this thread said they could not re-activate their CS2 suite after a re-install because Adobe support said "that version is too old".

                                 

                                If that's true, that's a horrible protocol on Adobe's part.

                                • 13. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                                  Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  I told this in another thread also:

                                  I know of this person who has Production Studio CS2. Due to a major crach the suite had to be installed again.

                                  AE is greyed out and Adobe cant help to get it working again.

                                  Also told this person CS2 is not supported anymore and he had only two activations left. After that it is end of story.

                                  He cannot afford to upgrade,1500 euro or so down the drain. I do not think this is good policy.

                                  • 14. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                                    Averdahl Level 3

                                    Yes, if true thats a real shame.

                                     

                                    On the other hand i dont think the Adobe support is reliable. I have heard of lots of issues that they cannot handle properly, such as they claim that there is no fix on how to run Adobe Encore CS4 on Windows 7. There is indeed a fix, but they dont know it, so they say that the issue cannot be solved. Thats really, really bad.

                                     

                                    Person X give you answer A while person Y give you answer B on the same question. It happens to often that both answers are wrong though...

                                    • 15. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                                      the_wine_snob Level 9

                                      Anne,

                                       

                                      I agree that your friend's situation does not reflect highly on Adobe's Customer Support. It WAS Customer Support and not Technical Support, wasn't it? I've found that T/S is far less concerned with such matters, but in the "good old days," T/S WAS concerned and did things to rectify all registration/Activation problems. Maybe C/S has been rolled into T/S and all is bad nowadays. I hope not.

                                       

                                      I've said it before, but will say it again: at one time, Adobe T/S & C/S were about the second best in the industry. I guess that this is just a sign of the times and not a pretty one.

                                       

                                      My one experience with C/S was excellent. Had AI 2.0 (or whatever the very first PC version was), and finally upgraded to AI 5. My old S/N was from the dark ages, and the upgrade version could not find it in the database, so I could not install. I called Adobe C/S, gave the tech my old S/N, and he verified that it was registered and valid. In moments, he gave me some number to input into my installation screen, and everything worked 100%. I'm now up to AI CS2, and have upgraded fine all along. It took no more than 5 mins., including hold-time, to get my upgrade installed. Yeah, them "good old days... "

                                       

                                       

                                      Hunt

                                       

                                      PS Good luck to all.

                                      • 16. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                                        Dag Norum Level 2

                                        Hunt.

                                         

                                        I had similar experience as you when I installed the CS3 suite (production premium). The installer asked for a serial from basically only the CS2 suite, but the suite version I had (the one with PPro 1.5 ++) had individual serials for each app. Anyway, fixed in a snap, no holding time, done in less than 2 minutes, hurray.

                                         

                                        But, what about the support for older versions. I can understand that Adobe stops with updates for older versions (except for when something was promised), but the ability to use them is quite another story.

                                         

                                        I am very curious if Dennis can shed some light on what's Adobe's official policy on this.

                                         

                                        Dag

                                        • 17. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                                          the_wine_snob Level 9

                                          Dag,

                                           

                                          This is just a guess on my part, but I would anticipate that Adobe would phase out T/S for older versions of their programs. Most other large software companies do the same. However, with C/S, I would anticipate that they would offer support for things like this - registration/Activation, etc.. Maybe that has been cut too? That was why I asked Ann about her friend's contact. With T/S, it's basically a script, "uninstall, then reinstall and if that doesn't fix it post to the forum... " C/S has always been much better, though obviously not for real "technical" problems - they are more into sales support and have been a few dozen notches above T/S, at least in my limited experiences.

                                           

                                          Dennis has offered some insight into corporate feelings on T/S and C/S in the past. There have been some published e-mails, and correspondences from upper management on changes and improvements. Do not know what might have transpired so far, and what might be in the works. I'd love to hear his take on this. Hint - hint...

                                           

                                           

                                          Hunt

                                          • 18. Re: The Frustrations of Serial Numbers
                                            Dag Norum Level 2
                                            I would anticipate that they would offer support for things like this - registration/Activation, etc

                                             

                                            That's what I hope also, but reading Tony's post didn't quite get my hopes up.

                                             

                                            Technical questions, using the SW question, and so on, none of my interest, just to be able to offer my clients my best help/support and NOT fiddeling around with trying to get old projects working in new SW versions.

                                             

                                            Dag