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Comments on “How to Move Adobe CC or CS6 Between Computers, or PC to Mac”, Page 3

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  1. Nicki

    Can I use a serial that is for a PC on a Mac ?

    • Hi Nicki, thanks for your question. No, that won’t actually work – the two platforms have separate serial numbers. So for your existing products, you’d have to do the “crossgrade” from PC to Mac that’s described in the article above…

      If you’re buying or upgrading to a new CS5.5 product, then you have another option – you can order it so that it will work on both Windows and Mac OS.

      Hope this helps!

  2. I am running my version of CS2 that a client installed for me on my dinosaur of a PowerBook G4 a couple of years ago. I am upgrading to a new iMac and I want to bring my CS2 over to the new desktop until I can afford the CS5 upgrade. The software is under my name above the serial number on all the apps, however I do not have the original disks for the suite.

    Can I burn a DVD with the app files, record the serial numbers and reinstall the suite onto the new iMac?
    Would that work if I deactivate the suite on my old Powerbook?

    Thanks for your help on this!

    • Welcome Vicky, that could work but only if you had a genuine and original Adobe CS2 product package to install onto your new system… You couldn’t just copy the installed files from one computer to the other.

      But since you no longer have the original discs for the suite, that could be a problem – and anything that you might find online for CS2 downloads wouldn’t be safe.

      Also be aware that Adobe currently has a “three versions back” upgrade policy, so that owners of CS2 like yourself can get discounted upgrade pricing to CS5.5 – however will not be able to for CS6, once it comes out… At that time, only CS3 and higher would qualify (if Adobe offers the same policy) – and CS2 users would need to pay full price.

      Good luck and please post back with any other questions or comments!

  3. Thanks for the info. I think I’m in a corner on this one. But if I’m upgrading my system I need to upgrade MY WHOLE SYSTEM.

    Helpful posts here! Keep it up!

  4. Leo

    I have CS2 running on a G5 PowerPC Mac, and CS4 running on a Win7 Dell laptop with an Intel Core2 CPU. What is the best upgrade path that will make me fully compatible with a client base running CS5/6 on the latest Mac platforms? I can upgrade the laptop to a PC with an i7 or comparable processor.

    • Hey there Leo, you could upgrade either the CS2 or the CS4 to the current version Creative Suite 5.5 – and that would work equally well on PC or Mac, if the two were the same class of hardware and graphics capabilities…

      Project and data files are interchangeable between platforms, so it really would be your choice for what works better for you – but note that as mentioned to Vicky in the comments just above, CS2 is no longer likely to be upgradeable once the next major release of Creative Suite is out.

      You should be able to run the new product on up to two systems – and there’s a solution if you’re not sure whether Windows or Mac.

      Note that even if you upgraded, you could still continue using your older CS software on the same machines if you wanted or needed to, in addition to running the latest version.

      Does that (hopefully) answer your question?

  5. Eve

    Hi there,

    I had a purchased version of CS5 running on my Mac, but the logic board on my Mac died (according to my IT guy) and so now all I have is the hard drive in an enclosure. I have bought a new Mac and when I plug in my hard drive in the enclosure, I can see the software applications and all my files but I can’t open them up on my new computer! I’ve read how to “Deactivate” the software so that it can be used on another computer; but because my old computer is dead, I can’t open up any of the CS applications to “Deactivate” it in the first place!

    What should I do to access my software again on my new Mac? I’m not sure where my disks are although I do have my serial number written down. Any help would be much appreciated!

    • Sure Eve, no problem at all… That’s right, a new computer with your old disk would stop working because the hardware signature is different.

      However no worries, you should still be okay – just follow what we suggested to Tiff in this earlier comment and response to hopefully take care of that.

      Also, if you ever needed to move to an entirely different computer but no longer had your discs to reinstall, just download the free trial for your product/version and then activate it with your purchased and permanent serial number. Good luck!

  6. Kaitlynn

    I just think it’s ridiculous how these companies gyp their paying customers. I have an older version of Photoshop and have no desire to upgrade. I bought the software, I own the software, and it is my right to now use it for as long as I want without being forced to spend gobs of money on an insanely priced “new and improved” version. I own a PC and have been thinking about upgrading to a Mac. The problem is that if I do, I will lose Photoshop unless I’m willing to pay (I’m not) for a crossgrade upgrade. It’s completely unfair for a company to expect someone to repurchase software just because they get a new computer. I wouldn’t even be considering a new computer if the other idiots in the world would stop making viruses to damage other’s hard-earned investments. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I bought the software, with the intention of using it for life. There is nothing wrong with it and there is no valid reason for me to upgrade. To try to force me to upgrade, just shows how greedy Adobe and other companies have gotten. They all have too much control. That’s another thing that’s keeping me from taking the plunge to Mac. Apple is notorious for forcing their customers to buy everything Apple at a highly inflated price. I know it sounds childish, but the whole thing is completely unfair and I, like many others, am frustrated at my lack of control over the things that I buy and the companies lack of respect for the people who pay their bills and keep them in business.

    • Hello Kaitlynn. thank you for your feedback. Certainly we understand your feelings. But you’re right in that Adobe is not alone in the requirement to repurchase if you change platforms with an older release. Other software companies like Microsoft, Quark, and Corel work exactly the same way – you couldn’t go to one of them and say you switched computers and could you please send me an old version of Word or Office for the Mac…

      The challenge for some of these companies really is the versioning. It’s been Adobe’s policy for many years not to sell older releases of their products. So, if you change operating systems and don’t want to upgrade to the latest, you’re really requesting a new copy of an older version of the software, which is no longer sold. A lot of it is the challenge of sales and support – software firms have limited resources and generally want to foster the usage of newer versions on more computers, rather than spreading larger numbers of many older versions with greater support costs.

      The solution may lie in selling multi-platform software instead. Note that Lightroom 3 and now Elements 9 and 10 are now offered multi-platform, meaning that when you order the box you get both Windows and Mac OS versions and discs bundled in the same package – and you can even mix-and-match your two activations among them.

      So perhaps, with luck, down the road we may see Creative Suite 6 going this direction as well, which would eventually solve this issue.

    • PS – Also don’t forget, there is one other possible option when moving from Windows to an Intel-based Mac (a technical approach): As with most Adobe products, you can use the Windows version on a Mac if you run it with dual-boot or virtualization software like Apple Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop, VMWare Fusion, or Citrix XenApp.

      This does however require some know-how to set up the framework and install Windows onto your Mac, plus maintain the separate environment – as well as switching between the two, and extra costs (like the expense of the utility itself and/or an installable copy of Microsoft Windows), plus considera­tions on extra memory needed, reduced performance, and slower workflow.

  7. Gareth

    Hi There

    I recently bought a new iMac after my old PC died on me and I’m thinking of getting CS5 for the Mac, but really don’t want to go through the hassle of the cross-grade procedure.

    I originally bought Macromedia Studio 8 which was dual-disk Mac and PC; I installed it on a PC and later I upgraded it to CS3 on another PC.

    My question is can I purchase the CS5 Mac upgrade and use my Studio 8 serial number to activate it (as it’s for both Mac and PC), and bypass my upgrade copy of CS3 and the whole crossgrade procedure. I hope that makes sense 😉


    • Good question Gareth – and completely understood. Yes, you should be able to do that… Both products are listed on Adobe’s upgrade chart, and with the same price to get to CS5.5 – regardless of which suite you choose. So go with whatever would be easier for you.

      Just so you know though in any event, crossgrades really aren’t too much of a hassle from a customer time perspective – just a few extra minutes really… We know because we’ve done a number of them here.

      Hope this helps!

  8. Gareth

    Thanks for the answer 🙂 just to clarify, so my Studio 8 serial number is still valid for both Mac and PC even tho it was installed on a PC only ! and upgraded to CS3 PC, the upgrade hasn’t invalidated the Studio 8 serial number, or tied it to PC only ?

    Also would the same hold true for CS5 not CS5.5 ? should I find a old copy knocking about on a reputable site

    • Hello again Gareth,

      There are some rules about what you can do with your previous version after an upgrade, but as far as we are aware, Adobe’s system doesn’t invalidate serial numbers based on platform or upgrade used… However, yours was originally a Macromedia product, so there is a possibility of some differences there. We are not Adobe, and they make the final rules – so only they could tell you for 100% sure.

      But, so far it seems like you’re going though a lot of trouble and questions to avoid a simple crossgrade… For certainty of outcome, moving up from your copy of CS3 would be the safest bet.

      Whichever way you go, you can always take advantage of Adobe’s 30-day full money-back guarantee if the CS5.5 upgrade doesn’t work out for you for whatever reason, even if you’ve already opened it or tried to install it.

      As far as CS5.5 versus CS5, in theory that might work – however the upgrade chart for CS5.0 is no longer available so we can’t confirm. However, we don’t recommend trying to find and buy older copies of Adobe software in any event – it’s too fraught with risk. Good luck!

  9. Gareth

    Well, it shouldn’t be so much trouble to cross grade or so confusing, Mac serial numbers should be interchangeable with PC ones when upgrading. So it seems Adobe is making life difficult and confusing for their customers.

    Thanks again for your help, I wish Adobe was as clear and helpful as you have been 🙂

  10. SteveM

    I have another question similar to this, and was wondering if anyone knows how to move the CS5.5 applications from one drive/path to another, and have them keep working. I got an SSD installed in my macpro, and wanted to move all the Adobe apps to this drive for faster start up times, but when I try I get a message basically saying to reinstall them because something isn’t right (or to that effect). Obviously there is some “Path” stuff in the install files and things, but just wondering if there is an easy way around this problem.

    Many other apps have transfered without issue (FCP, Safari, iTunes, Firefox etc), but just not the Adobe stuff… Anyone have any ideas (without having to spend 2 hours reinstalling?) :o) thanks.

    • That’s a great question Steve, and as far as we are aware it is not possible… Adobe’s apps are so large and complex that just copying the installed files from one disk drive to another would seem unlikely to work without some significant hacking. We’d love to be corrected on that though!

  11. SteveM

    Well, if you find out anything, that’d be cool! Thanks for the quick reply.

  12. anon

    some of this is oversimplified.

    1. Belarc will not capture every serial number
    2. The serial numbers will ONLY work with the particular version of Adobe installer that it matches too. Trialware may or may not work !

  13. Mark

    I had bought a copy of Flash Pro CS5.5 for my Mac and I have recently got a PC. I am just unsure about how to switch because the copy I got was a digital download, not a hard copy.

    Could you please clarify how I am supposed to go about doing this properly?

    • Hi Mark, thanks for your question. It’s no problem at all that you downloaded your product instead of bought a physical box/disc. The process works exactly the same, in fact it’s even easier because Adobe is guaranteed to already have the online records of your purchase. Downloading (also called ESD or Electronic Software Delivery) is actually the way most purchases are made these days.

      So all you do is carefully follow the platform change instructions outlined in the article above… Just submit the crossgrade request online and then Adobe takes care of sending you the new version right away. It doesn’t take very long in our experience.

      Hope this clears things up – if not, please free free to post back with any further questions.

  14. steve

    hello- have my first mac and do i need to run parallels to transfer my pictures files and lightroom 3.3 from my pc to my mac? i am waiting for my crossgrade version of cs5. i do not believe i am going to run windows. thanks

    • Greetings Steve, if you’re doing the crossgrades for your Adobe software, then you wouldn’t need to have Parallels/Windows on your Mac to run your previous PC software…

      It’s only if you weren’t or couldn’t do the crossgrade procedure that you could consider using some sort of dual-boot or virtualization product on your Mac to replicate a Windows environment for that other software. For more, please see this earlier comment.

      Also for Lightroom, it certainly is possible to migrate your catalog from a PC to a Mac, regardless. See the helpful Lightroom Catalog FAQ for instructions on how to move it.

      Lastly, while you’re waiting for or figuring out what to do with your Mac software, you can certainly get started today with running the products on that platform just by downloading and installing the free trials which will work fully for 30 days until you get things sorted out.

      Hope this helps!

  15. Peter

    I have CS2 on both my desktop and laptop. I bought a brand new MacPro and upgraded my CS2 on the desktop to CS 5.5. I didn’t upgrade the laptop yet, even though I believe I can install CS5.5 with the same serial number per the allowable usage policy.

    Anyway, when I went to use CS2 on the laptop, it tells me the licensing is invalid. Does it means that once I upgraded my desktop to CS5.5, the license on the laptop is no longer valid and I have to upgrade the laptop to 5.5 also?

  16. Dora

    I have my original installation DVDs for CS4 which I purchased in 2009, but it was an education version, and I’m supposed to go online to get the serial number by entering a coupon code. The system is not recognizing my coupon code. I need to put CS4 on my Macbook, and then I can use my CS5 upgrade (commercial version, not education) there.

    I think if I downloaded a free trial of CS5, and entered my serial number, that it would recognize that that was an upgrade number, and ask me to load CS4 first. But, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try it… wonder how many hours it will take to download. 🙂

  17. Dora

    @ Dora – Now this is weird.. right after I typed that.. I FOUND my serial number!!

    • Welcome Dora – if you have an upgrade version of CS5, you actually don’t need to install CS4 on the computer first – just go ahead with the CS5 installation and then it will prompt you to enter the older CS4 serial number manually.

      It also doesn’t matter whether you install CS5 from disc, download, or free trial – they’ll all end up in the same place (with a complete and permanent full version) after entering your CS5 license key, whether it’s an upgrade or not.

  18. Dora


    Thanks — I saw this too late, though. I already installed the CS4 and the CS5 update is installing now. Then I get to see what fails in Lion. 🙂 (I checked the Adobe site regarding MAC Lion conflicts already, and it didn’t look too bad.)

  19. Jim

    I ordered a Crucial SSD with drive cloning software and cable, in an attempt to further speed up my computer. Once I clone my C:\ drive, will CS5.5 still work okay, or will it recognize something is amiss?

    In this case, do I need to deactivate and then reactivate, even though it is the same computer?

    • Great question Jim – and you’re smart to think of it. There is a chance the software won’t work after you clone it, simply because you’ve changed out a major piece of hardware of your computer, and thus your system’s “signature”…

      Adobe doesn’t reveal how they determine unique machines, so it’s safer just to deactivate it before you start the process, and then reactivate afterwards. It only takes an extra minute or two, and that way you can be sure it will work for you when you’re done, without frustration.

  20. Dean

    Some how some way, my Photoshop CS2 and Illustrator CS2 discs have been misplaced. I would like to be able to move this software from a Mac Pro to my most frequently used iMac. I have all the registration numbers, how do I do this?

    Duh DEAN

  21. Jen A

    I have CS2 and the upgrade to CS 5.5. I hear that CS2 will no longer be able to run on Macs with OS Lion.

    So my question is, if one day I get a new computer with OS Lion, how will I be able to transfer CS 5.5 if I can not install the CS2 first? Can I download the 5.5 trial and use my upgrade licence key?

  22. Ginger

    Hi! This has been so helpful and I’m hoping you can help me! I’m on a G5 tower / PowerPC (bought in 2004 or 2005), currently running Adobe CS3. I’m going to purchase a new MacBook Pro, and are wondering what my options are for my CS3 program.

    Can I transfer it over to the new computer, even if it was running on the Power PC platform? Do I need to transfer it to the new computer and then upgrade to CS5?

    Any guidance would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    • Yes Ginger, you should be able to move your CS3 over to the new Mac using the procedure outlined above, and it should run there.

      Upgrading to CS5.5 shouldn’t be required, but you could do so if you like. Note that if you upgraded you wouldn’t need to install the older version first, unless you wanted to.

      You may also be interested to learn about Adobe’s new upgrade policy, which affects anyone still running CS2, CS3, or CS4.

      Good luck and please feel free to post back with any further questions.

  23. I have my single license copy of CS5 installed on my 2 desktop macs (1 at home, 1 at work). I want to install onto my laptop to use when I’m travelling…can I simply deactivate CS5 from 1 of my desktops to enable me to do this and when I return can I re-activate the desktop CS5 after de-activating CS5 on the laptop?


  24. Dawn

    Hello, I have my max downloaded on two desktops but would like to install Adobe Illustrator on my laptop too. How can I get a serial number that will allow me to do it?

  25. Stefanie


    I am in desperate need of help with downloading a version of CS4. I have my serial number, but alas, cannot place my disks ANYWHERE. I’ve tried the download page , but as soon as I select CS4 Design Premium, it prompts me to download the CS5 trial. I’m under the assumption that it will not work if I download CS5 and put my CS4 serial number in!

    What should I do in this instance?

    • Greetings Stefanie, those links over there definitely do work to download the older version – you have to very carefully follow the instructions given, and then if you’re still having difficulties read through some of the comments and replies… Solutions to any issues are posted.

      PS – You’re right, each version has its own unique serial number – and your license will not work with a different release.

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