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Adobe Limits Software Version Downloads, Incl. Some Direct Links

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Learn More About Adobe's Changes to Creative Cloud Download Availability

Adobe has just made a big change to the version availability and usage of its creative software products, both for CC and CS applications…

Since the advent of Creative Cloud in 2012, subscribers have been able to use any version of the CC products that has ever been released. Some customers use prior versions due to compatibility with evolving system requirements, or because co-workers have standardized on the same earlier release.

However, effective immediately, Adobe has completely discontinued certain older versions of Creative Cloud apps and as a result, under the terms of the licensing agreement, subscribers are no longer licensed to use them.

Per their recent email, “We ask that you discontinue all usage of the unauthorized products listed in this table, and instead update to the authorized versions provided. You will continue to receive all the value that Creative Cloud has to offer, but with more advanced features and capabilities, critical bug fixes, and security updates. For these reasons we recommend all customers use the latest release of our Creative Cloud applications.”

Table of Adobe CC Authorized and Unauthorized Versions [credit to Patrick Fergus]

How does this move impact Creative Cloud users?

These unauthorized versions of CC programs are recommended to be uninstalled, otherwise users “will not have third-party claim coverage pursuant to their contract with Adobe. Should customers continue to use or deploy these unauthorized versions, they may be at risk of potential claims of infringement by third parties.”

Pursuant to this, Adobe has removed access to these specific tools from both the Creative Cloud Desktop app, as well as downloading those tools via the CC direct links… This is something to be especially aware of if you have relied on access to and usage of those older apps.

Fortunately, all tools within the most recent two major releases of Creative Cloud (CC 2019 and CC 2018) remain fully licensed and authorized, and all of them continue to be available for download & installation via both the CC Desktop app as well as via direct links.

Further, not all older versions of all apps are restricted. For example, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, and InDesign CC 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are all still authorized and all still available for download and ongoing use.

In a new blog post on this topic, Adobe writes:

“Going forward, Creative Cloud customers can use and download only the two most recent major versions of Creative Cloud. This change enables us to develop the features and functionality most requested by customers and ensure peak performance across all Creative Cloud apps and services. We always encourage our customers to use the latest version of Creative Cloud to have access to the latest features, optimal performance, security and other benefits.”

So if you are only using the most recent releases of CC apps, as Adobe says the vast majority of customers are, then you have nothing to worry about.

How does this affect Creative Suite (CS) applications?

Adobe’s changes to download availability also affected CS tools, even those with perpetual licenses. First off, note that perpetual products are not subject to the “unauthorized” issue, even though older releases like CS6 were officially discontinued (EOL) years ago.

So perpetual users are still able to utilize their software. But for those who purchased CS perpetual licenses and need or want to access installer downloads, the options have changed. It used to be that public-facing direct download links were available for versions like CS4, CS5, and CS5.5, but these have pretty much been taken down.

Now, instead, if you purchased the software directly from Adobe (via an Electronic Software Download), then the company says an installer download should be available under your account by using the process listed in “Find Downloaded Apps and Files” or “Download Older Versions of Adobe Apps.”

If you purchased perpetual software via a CD/DVD or from a third party, then you will want to make sure to complete the registration process discussed in “Find Your Serial Number.” If you are unable to find the disc media that was provided with your purchase, then you will also want to contact Adobe’s support team directly at Contact Customer Care so that a download link to the installation files can potentially be provided.

If you are unable to register your serial number, then you will still need to work directly with their support team at Contact Customer Care to provide proof of ownership. This can be as simple as a serial number, or possibly a proof of purchase, depending upon the circumstances.

Volume license customers can still retrieve the volume license perpetual installation files at https://licensing.adobe.com/.

The Good News for Direct Download Links

The good news is that complete sets of direct download links remain working and available for the two most recent releases of Creative Cloud – CC 2019 and CC 2018 – while older versions still retain some direct links which are functional within CC 2017, CC 2015, CC 2014 and CC 2013.

Regarding standalone installers for the older end-of-life Creative Suite products, some CS6 direct download links are still working and available, although not much for CS5.5, CS5, CS4 or CS3.

Last, but not least

Finally, and importantly, Creative Suite 6 is no longer available to download as part of a Creative Cloud membership. CS6 was the first release of software that early Creative Cloud subscribers received in 2012, but it is no longer offered with CC membership.

That said, Adobe is not doing anything to actively uninstall CS6 (or any older CC version) from Creative Cloud customers’ machines – the removal of any such now-unauthorized version is ultimately up to the subscriber.

Do you have any questions about this policy change, or Creative Cloud in general?  Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!


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  1. Connie

    How could Adobe do this?

    • Well, the explanation given in the article above is about as far as the company is going. Yesterday, Adobe Customer Care tweeted:

      Customers who continue to use or deploy older, unauthorized versions of Creative Cloud may face potential claims of infringement by third parties. We cannot comment on claims of third-party infringement, as it concerns ongoing litigation. ^Denise

      But interestingly – and perhaps not coincidentally – something very similar was announced by Avid (an Adobe competitor in the video tool space) in late March:

      Due to licensing reasons, Avid will be updating Media Composer licenses and subscriptions, which will impact the software versions that you can run. Beginning May 30th, 2019, new perpetual and subscription licenses will only be able to run Media Composer version 2018.9 or higher. In addition, existing subscriptions will only be able to run Media Composer 2018.9 or higher upon renewal.

      So it’s possible there may be something “going around”… We cannot say. But we wouldn’t put it past the patent trolls out there to come after big companies like Adobe and Avid, hoping for a payday. Again, this is pure speculation.

  2. bm743

    So even software update patches have all been taken down? This is absurd…

    For the record, I’m still on older system running on CS3, but I didn’t get to download the offline patches beforehand. Same thing goes for CS6…

    Now what should I do?

  3. Nick

    What happens if my older computer can’t run the newer CC versions due to system requirements?

    Also, one of my plugins does not work on the newer release of the app?

    • Hey Nick, if you are unable to run an Adobe-approved version of the CC application(s), and don’t wish to continue your current subscription, then you can contact Adobe Customer Support and they can waive any early termination fee.

      Our Adobe contact told us:

      Support will be able to waive the Early Termination Fee for customers that are unable to upgrade to authorized versions. We won’t have an automated way to handle this online, but support agents will help these customers.

      Note that with the announcement detailed above, Adobe is not actually removing any unauthorized program(s) from your computer nor locking you out of them; rather, they are absolving themselves of all responsibility for any further usage of them.

  4. Dave

    Yeah, whatever. Adobe lost me when they went subscription-only. For an occasional user like me, it simply wasn’t viable.

    I’m slowly migrating from Lightroom 6 to other standalone non-subscription products.

  5. J Kersbergen

    What about the availability of Encore as part of Première CS6?

    • Good question. Encore CS6 was bundled together with the Premiere Pro CS6 installer… But with CS6 no longer being made available as part of a CC subscription, the Premiere Pro CS6 installer is no longer downloadable. So Encore is also no longer offered as part of Creative Cloud – sorry about that.

      However, Encore CS6 came out in 2012 and has been EOL software for some time… For those who still need to burn CD/DVD disc media and are no longer able to use Encore, other third-party options may be a better route in any event.

      (Note that any perpetual licensees of Premiere Pro CS6 / Encore CS6 are not affected, other than the removal of some of the CS6 direct download links.)

  6. Debbie

    I am in a similar position. I purchased the CS6 collection – Premiere Pro, Audition and After Effects – a few years ago and only subscribe to CC photography package. The other packages being ridiculously expensive for light use.

    Just selected update from the menu, or via the Cloud app.

    All mine successfully, and at the moment they work as they should.

    • Correct – if you only run the most recent releases of the CC apps, and have reinstallation files/media available (if need be) for any perpetual products you use, then this announcement should not impact you.

  7. Jamie

    If I want to reinstall Creative Suite 6 on a new machine, but do not have my old install discs, just the original serial keys, what do I do then?

  8. William Hill

    If I purchased the install disk for CS3 then I will assume it will not be touched. I am current with subscription of latest-and-greatest CC version, so I hope I will be OK.

    Remember that CS3 is the last version to have the print picture package built in. If I lose that plugin feature, I may have to see counsel for a paid software agreement.

    The jerk who took that capability out needs to be fired.

    Love it how we professional Photographers since Photoshop 7 have made it possible to give the software out to people in higher learning without paying their FAIR SHARE for the development of the apps. Well over $250 for each upgrade totaling over a grand, and what did you do with our money we invested. For one thing you took picture package out – for what reason? Yes, the higher ed students didn’t need it now, did they.

  9. I.G. Romov

    Lawyers: Adobe, you’ve let your 3rd-party obligations expire!!!!

    Accountants: Renewing will torque your bottom line!!!!!

    Techs: Hey! Chance to clean up history!!

    Adobe: Suck it up, customer.

  10. MJ Klein
  11. John

    In a bit of a panic as I have stayed with rock-solid AE CC 2014 and Windows 7 for five years.

    I’m about to rebuild the entire pipeline so I’m going to Win 10 and CC 2019 anyway, but cannot find definitive (only outdated) info on the Adobe site as to whether or not AE CC 2019 will open or import, without issues, AE CC 2014 project files – and any best practices I should use to clean up the older files to prevent potential problems.

    If anyone can point me in the right direction, or get definitive info from Adobe, I would be very grateful.

  12. Anthony Sullivan

    Looks like it’s affected even Photoshop & Premiere Elements.

    I noticed that Adobe has removed public downloads of older versions of Photoshop and Premiere Elements-prior to 2018 such as Photoshop Elements 15, even though Photoshop Elements is not part of Creative Cloud.

    The pages that used to host installers:
    https://helpx.adobe.com/download-install/kb/download-earlier-version-photoshop-elements.html
    https://helpx.adobe.com/download-install/kb/download-earlier-version-premiere-elements.html

    now goes to:
    https://helpx.adobe.com/download-install.html

    These are still available if you contact Adobe customer support (I got download links for Photoshop Elements 12 for Mac, of course with 12 being 32-bit-only, it only works up to Mojave OS).

    As far as I know, I have not received a similar email due to the use of a older version of Photoshop and Premiere Elements, like what Creative Cloud users have received.

    Could this also be due to the lawsuit?

    • Thanks Anthony, you’re right that older direct download links for Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements have stopped being published on Adobe’s help pages.

      We are not entirely sure why. Perpetual products are apparently not impacted by the third-party copyright litigation, so we can only speculate that ‘Elements perpetual’ is being grouped in the same category as ‘CS perpetual’ described in the article above.

      There are so many years & releases now of CC, CS, Elements, and all the rest, that this all seems to be part of a broader effort by Adobe to reduce the number of outstanding versions it is making available, which presumably would also reduce support requests and costs.

      However, note that some of the standalone installers are definitely still available and accessible, such as the one you mentioned:

      Direct Download Links for Adobe Photoshop/Premiere Elements 15

  13. alain smithee

    And people wonder why I keep copies of both my program installers, the update installers, and my serial numbers/activation codes on a local RAID1 external hard drive.

    I don’t share my files, but I have seen too many companies go out of business or eliminate access to specific downloads (like Adobe just did), so I have learned that I cannot always “just download it from the internet.”

    Not paranoid – just too many bad experiences.

  14. Dave

    @MJ Klein
    That’s one package I’m looking at… also Luminar & Capture One

  15. Jochen

    Hello,

    for a long time, I have been searching for a possibility to download the Adobe InDesign CS6 updates 8.01 / 8.02 and 8.10
    (for Windows OS).

    Since Adobe has removed the updates from their website and from their ftp server, I can not find them on the internet.

    For that reason I would like to ask you if you have them stored somewhere, and if you could provide them to me.

    thanks in advance for your support, with best regards

    Jochen

  16. Juan

    How do I re-install CS6 on a computer, after CC has been installed onto it (and then uninstalled Creative Cloud)?

    • Greetings Juan,

      The main issue we see with the perpetual licensing is when customers downgrade from CC to Creative Suite. They still have the updated licensing components and will then receive messages regarding needing an active subscription.

      If you wish to use Creative Suite, or any other perpetual title, after using a Creative Cloud membership, then we would recommend implementing the following steps to remove the updated components:

      1. Run all available Adobe uninstallers, this includes Acrobat, Reader, Elements, Creative Suite, and Creative Cloud – Uninstall or Remove Creative Cloud Apps

      2. Download and run the CC Cleaner Tool – How to Use the Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool

      3. Reboot your computer (don’t skip this step).

      You will then be in a good position to install the perpetual software title successfully. As part of the installation process, the appropriately versioned licensing components will be installed.

      Any individual who did not purchase their software from Adobe directly will need to work directly with Adobe’s support team to obtain download links.

      If you wish to use your perpetual software, including Creative Suite 6, with Creative Cloud, then please make sure to install the older software titles first. The licensing components will be updated, but you should receive no error messages regarding the need for active subscription.

      Finally, if you are installing older perpetual titles, then please make sure to run the auto-update process before installing newer versions of Adobe software. The Creative Cloud update components will result in errors if you are attempting to update Creative Suite 6 for one example. The key is to make sure the shared Adobe components are not newer than the perpetual software title being installed, licensed, and updated.

  17. adobe dude

    @ProDesignTools
    In addition, now all the content a user/company made with those “unauthorized versions” is also subject to face potential claims of infringement by third parties.

  18. adobe dude

    @bm743
    In another stunning adobe gaffe, someone at adobe was told to remove public links to the updates, but instead deleted a whole server containing most of the updates for older adobe software and there are no backups.

    • Not sure if that was a gaffe. We believe the removal of many older product updates was intentional by Adobe, as they would possibly contain the potentially-infringing technology in legal dispute as well.

  19. IntheKnow

    Real big news this time around

    1. Adobe is having lawyers figure out if they can revoke all pre-cc perpetual licenses

    2. The photography plan is to be discontinued with no replacement.
    Users now will have to either get the full creative cloud or subscribe to each application individually

    3. Big price increase for creative cloud for the full plan to $120 per month

    4. No more student/teacher discounts, full price for everyone

  20. Windows95Fan

    I want Adobe to restart the development of Creative Suite 7!

  21. adobe dude

    Well, the phase out of perceptual licenses has started by adobe refusing to honor licenses of cs/cs2 owners that need replacement software due to activation servers shutdown. Adobe is telling those customers tough luck you must subscribe to creative cloud or we don’t care about giving you replacement software that adobe promised in writing if the activation servers ever went offline. The lawyers okayed it so the next software to fall will be cs3/cs4 and then cs5/cs6 and it’s just a matter of weeks till the cs3/cs4 phase out starts. Letters will be sent to all perceptual license holders that their license has been revoked.

    • Sorry, that is simply untrue.

      Starting in 2012, a non-activating version of CS2 was made available for several years before it was finally discontinued… What that means is that anyone who owned CS2 could easily download an fully-functional release of the same software that requires no activation or licensing servers whatsoever, forever.

      The same thing is now happening with CS3, whereby its old activation servers were retired but nevertheless Adobe currently offers a revised version to existing customers that works in perpetuity:

      Download Adobe Creative Suite 3 Products

      Lost your installation media for a CS3 application? If you purchased a retail licensed CS3 product, you can download replacement installers. Or take advantage of an upgrade offer.

      The aging activation servers for Creative Suite 3 (CS3) applications had to be retired. CS3 applications use the activation servers to verify a license.

      Receive a new serial number and installer: Get a new serial number and installer so you can reinstall CS3 applications successfully. These special versions do not require activation.

      Once again – and it bears repeating – Adobe has been swapping these releases for versions of the same software that works in perpetuity with no further activation ever needed by the user. That is the opposite of “revoked.”

      And even today, customers who may have somehow missed the previous multi-year trade-in period to freely swap their CS2 products could still be offered an alternate license for Creative Suite (e.g., CS3) by Adobe Customer Service.

      In other words, no perpetual licenses were ever revoked and no existing license holders have been disenfranchised. So what you claim is completely inaccurate.

  22. Ken Seaton

    Hi – I had to reset my laptop to fix an issue and have now lost Indesign CS6. As you know, it’s not available to download and I can’t get anywhere with Adobe tech support.

    I have the same software loaded on to my desktop, is there any way to transfer/copy this to my laptop to be able to continue working? One client uses CS6…

    • Hey Ken, really wish we could help out, but it doesn’t seem possible to transfer an existing installation from one one computer to another… AFAIK, Adobe software always needs to be installed from scratch in order to properly set up the licensing and activation for the new system.

      As described in the article above, it’s only if you owned a valid perpetual license for CS6 (or CS5 or CS4) that Adobe would offer you replacement installers.

      As an alternative – if you still have a client using CS6 – then this article might be helpful for you:

      Are Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) Files Backwards Compatible w/ CS6?

  23. Ken Seaton

    @ProDesignTools

    OK thanks. As the song goes… Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again…

    Nice to know on the IDML feature described in the linked article, thanks for that!

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Adobe Limits Software Version Downloads, Incl. Some Direct Links
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