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How to Move Creative Cloud or CS6 from One Computer to Another

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How to Move Adobe CC or CS6 Between Computers, or PC to Mac


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573 thoughts on “How to Move Creative Cloud or CS6 from One Computer to Another”

  1. Is it still possible to ask for a CS6 Platform swap? I use CC but my CS6 turned to be handy on some occasions. My Mac Pro is going to lose MacOS Support (mojave) and my CS6 is for windows (at the time the Windows HDD had more GB since I opted for an SSD for MacOS). Can I ask Adobe to change my license from Windows to Mac? I am a student and the license is educational if that matters.

    • Not sure. Creative Suite 6 is end-of-life and Adobe no longer sells it.

      Their website does say this:

      If you require a different language or operating system version of a non–Creative Cloud product you purchased from Adobe, you can exchange your product. For example, if you now run Mac OS instead of Windows, you can swap Creative Suite 6 for Windows for Creative Suite 6 for Mac. Or you can exchange your product for a different language version. Here’s how.

      So you could ask and see what they say.

      However, if you already have Creative Cloud, then there may be no need because you also already get CS6 automatically included with your subscription at no extra cost…

      Just download and run CS6 instead of (or in addition to) CC for the apps you want, and then you can install and use CS6 on the same computer(s), either on Windows or on macOS or both, as part of your membership.

      Hope that helps!

  2. I’m looking at getting a new computer and want to move my CS6 programs over too. My only concern is that I have the student & educator edition. Will I still be able to deactivate it on my old computer and install it on the new one? If so, what will I need to use to log in to everything and register the new computer so it can run CS6?

    • Yes, the instructions in the guide above work for all the Adobe Student/Teacher Editions as well…

      In the case of CS6, you would need your original serial number (a.k.a. product license key) in order to reactivate the software on your new computer.

  3. The background.
    I currently own and use Photoshop CS6 Extended only on a Windows 8.1 PC. I also use Lightroom 6.14 on the same PC, but also use it on a Macbook Pro for portability. I have read that there are restrictions with the CC versions running on the version of Windows I use. I would therefore like to use the CC Photography package on the Mac Book. but retain access to CS6 on the Windows PC.

    I appreciate that there may be file compatibility issues, but intend to keep the original files (from Camera) on a portable hard disk, so it should not matter if I process them on either device. I have been led to believe that once I subscribe to CC, my CS6 version under my account name will be disabled – is this true? This of course would limit me from using both versions. The reason I believe this is that when CC was first released for some unknown reason, I was offered a trial of it and accepted. Once I had done this, CS6 was disabled and I needed to contact Adobe to allow me to remove the trial and re-activate my CS6, at that point in time I could not see the point of CC for my level of usage, I now feel that some of the features would be useful to me.

    Whoever responds, Thank you.

    • Hi John, the complication with trying to run CS6 perpetual with CC subscription on the same machine was simply because CS6 was included as part of a CC subscription, therefore the licensing converted over to subscription. If you later stopped CC, then as you discovered, you needed to reactivate the CS6 perpetual licensing on that system.

      But there is never any “disabling” of your CS6 version in any permanent sense. So there’s no cause to worry about that.

      Also, there is no conflict at all if the two different versions (CC and CS) are installed on two separate computers… That seems to be what you are talking about, so there should be no problem for you with your plan.

  4. @John Haslehurst
    Just a bit of additional information to this… What I do not understand is that the version of CS6 that I use shows a license number with the word trial after it. This number is not the same as the license media that I have, on a second PC where the software is installed it does show my correct license number from the media but says it is unlicensed; not sure what is going on.
    Thanks John

    • Not sure either, but again if you are installing and activating CC on an entirely different system (your Macbook) from where CS6 is (your PC), then there will be no affect to your current licensing setup.

  5. My old PC laptop’s screen no longer works, and I need to reinstall CS6 onto new PC laptop. I have the original installation CD, however I purchased it from a reseller, not Adobe. On my now defunct laptop, I was getting messages from Adobe about this being “pirated” software with threats of disabling the program if I did not stop using this copy of CS6 and switch to CC. Can I reinstall CS6 from original CD on new PC laptop without subjecting myself to Adobe’s threats to disable my program? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Unlikely. It would go through the exact same activation process with Adobe’s servers, whether installed on your old PC or onto a new one.

      A couple of questions:

      1. You said you bought CS6 from an authorized Adobe reseller. Which one exactly (name), and do you still have the receipt? Was it a physical store, or an online website?

      2. Do you know if the reseller was Adobe-certified and legitimate? Did you check against Adobe’s official reseller list?

      If these questions are not able to be answered clearly, then you may have gotten ripped off by an unauthorized vendor or other scammer… For more details, see:

      Why Never to Buy Adobe Software from an Unfamiliar Seller

  6. Creative Cloud desktop app can only be uninstalled if all Creative Cloud applications (such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro) have already been uninstalled from the system. It means you have to keep Creative Cloud on your computer whether you need it or not. :(

  7. I have a new macbook pro and have just migrated my photoshop from one to the other seamlessly.

    Both versions of photoshop CS5 work on both computers currently. What happens when I want to sell my older computer with the photoshop on it?

    Do I need to deactivate it on my old computer or I lose it on my new one? Or can it be used on both macs? Will the CS5 on my old comp still be linked to me and the new purchasers of my old mac have access to my license and key? and potentially make me lose my CS5 on my new mac?

    • No, you’d simply deactivate and uninstall the software on your old computer (in that order), as outlined in the article above…

      The the Adobe application and license key would be 100% removed from the system.

  8. Thank you, this info was just what I needed. I have one more question. I have CS6 (DVDs) and one is installed on a mac and the other on windows (that I can’t deinstall anymore because that computer is gone).

    I need a new laptop and am debating switching from Mac to Windows. Would my deactivated/uninstalled mac version of the software be usable on a new windows laptop?

    And do you know if I stay with Mac, is the CS6 is still able to run on the newest Macs?

    • Hey Gea, with CS6 the software was sold for one platform or the other, but not both. So the version you have running on the Mac cannot be switched to Windows.

      You used to be able to do what’s called a “crossgrade” between platforms, which was no charge to you and could be submitted online directly through Adobe Customer Service.

      However, Adobe now states: “As Creative Suite 6 is no longer sold or supported, platform or language exchanges are not available for it.” So unfortunately, CS operating system crossgrades are no longer possible.

      But if you stay with macOS, note that you cannot run CS6 on the newest Macs. Creative Suite 6 from 2012 was mostly written as 32-bit applications, which are not supported on newer macOS versions, especially Catalina (the latest version):

      Why Don’t My Adobe Apps Work in macOS Catalina v. 10.15?

      Hope that fully answers your questions; if not, then just post back.

  9. Hi There, My Computer Crashed – Motherboard is likely fried. I purchased as a download the CS6 Master collection. I have all the registration info, so no issue in reinstalling. However, since I do have an extra Macbook Pro, I can take out the hard drive from the old Macbook and place it into the other one. Same configuration. Same model, compatibility wouldn’t be an issue. Will I still have to re-register? Are the product keys dependent on motherboard/system serial #?

    Figure that would be an easy and fast fix. Otherwise I may install all my apps with a fresh install. Which at times has taken me a month to do between projects.

    • That’s a great question, Sami. It is very likely that swapping your disk drive into a new machine – even if it’s the exact same hardware configuration – would not retain Adobe’s license activation… The reason is because it’s dependent on the exact machine (like a serial number) on which it’s installed.

      So if you no longer have access to your old computer because your motherboard died, then you’d need to re-activate (not necessarily reinstall) the software on that disk.

      If you are already at your activation limit (of two systems) for the programs – and obviously cannot deactivate on your old machine yourself, then you’d need to get in touch with Adobe Customer Care and ask them to reset the activation count for your particular product’s license key / serial number:

      Hope that helps!

  10. So if I bought a used laptop with CS6 Master Collection, all I would have to do to transfer it to my desktop computer is find the serial number and then deactivate it, and then reinstall? What if the previous owner registered the serial number on with their own user id?

  11. I own and use a legal copy of CS5. Works great. I would like to try CC for a year to see if some of the new features will have a real benefit for me. If I don’t get the bang for my buck that I was expecting, I would like to go back to using CS5 full time.

    Can I install CC on a PC that already has CS5 on it? Is the install destructive to the CS5 in any way? Can I go back to CS5 without any hassles?

    Thanks – informative article.

    • Hi Doug, there’s no issue with CS5. The new Creative Cloud apps can download and run on the same computer completely independently of CS5, CS4, etc.

      It’s only with CS6 that there may be action neeeded if you later want to uninstall CC and return to only using CS6. But that’s easily fixed.

      Again though, there’s no issue with CS5 and CC together. You can see this yourself by installing the free Creative Cloud trial and moving forward. You’ll be able to run one version or the other (or both) at any time on the same system.

      Hope that answers your (good) question!

  12. If I install Adobe CS5 from DVD with an activation code, how do I receive the updates from the time the DVD was made until Adobe stopped supporting CS5?

    • It took me awhile to get back too you. Adobe says if you press “Updates…” from the Help menu, the computer will malfunction. And you would get either a blue screen or grey screen. And it will cost you a lots of money to get it fixed. It could ruin your computer if you’re not safe.

      Some say this is true. And other people who have tried say this is false. I built a $3,800 computer. Should I give it a try? Adobe says they will sell me Adobe CS6 for $400.00. And you will get updates forever. Adobe sounds like they want to rip me off. I might give ON1 RAW 2022 a try. I want my Adobe CS5 because I can export and import a huge amount of keywords and subfolders to my new computer. I don’t want to pay for something I already have. And like Adobe CS5 for what I do.

    • Selecting Help > Updates will not harm your system. There is no Adobe menu option which will ruin any computer. Not really sure where you heard that.

      Regarding CS6 for sale, that is definitely not Adobe offering it to you… Adobe stopped selling that product many years ago:

      You Can No Longer Buy CS6 from Adobe – Here’s Why

      There is no legal version of CS6 you can still buy. Creative Suite 6 is nearly 10 years old now, end-of-life, completely unsupported, and Adobe is no longer making or selling it to anyone.

      So what you were offered is for sure counterfeit. And using an illegal version of CS6 is neither safe nor a good idea:

      A Word on Adobe Software Piracy – “If It Sounds Too Good To Be True…”

  13. Hi, I own a legal copy of C6 that allows the license for two computers. I have tried to deactivate the old copy from a very, very old machine that barely boots up. I finally got it open and connected to the internet and I try to deactivate it but but the option is greyed out. I have tried everything. Any ideas how to deactivate the software? So that I can install on my new machine?

    • Hi Shannon, if you can’t deactivate yourself for some reason, then only Adobe Customer Support can help – and can reset your license activation count from their side.

      So you’d need to contact them directly, either via online chat or by phone:

      Be sure to have the information ready about the product you purchased, and ask them for assistance. Specifically, request that they reset the activation count for your serial number.

      If the agent says they can’t do it, then ask for a supervisor. It’s the only support they still provide for CS6.

  14. I have read through a number of the comments (including some that date back a few years) and have noted that the reactivation process has been generally considered to be relatively straightforward and without any great amount of hassle.

    Unfortunately, as I write this in April 2022, the process is now far from simple since Adobe has apparently made some changes along the way that now makes reactivation a real pain. Specifically, there now exists a problem with the Sign In process that causes a loop so that you can’t proceed to the point where you can enter your serial number to reactivate.

    Additionally, in another dialog area where you CAN enter your serial number and you try to Verify, the system always indicates that your serial number is not recognized.

    The copy of Adobe Creative Suite 6 (CS6) Design & Web Premium that I own was bought by me directly from Adobe back in May of 2012. I even still have the original receipt from that purchase. So, it is a legitimate copy that I registered with Adobe back in May 2012. In fact, I can log into my Adobe account and see my serial number listed for that product right there on Adobe’s own website. I also still have the original installation disk and the package it arrived in. So, this is most definitely NOT a case of having bought a questionable copy from some obscure vendor or website.

    I am able to install the entire CS6 suite but the problem comes when I try to activate it.

    Some background: I had been using CS6 on a Late 2011 MacBook Pro MBP) 17” screen laptop. Unfortunately, that MBP suffered a logic board failure, so it suddenly quit working. There was no chance or opportunity to deactivate the CS6 installation on that unit. I began looking for a replacement MBP which would be sufficiently old enough to be able to boot from macOS High Sierra (to allow compatibility with CS6 as well as other older software that I use) but which would also be “new” enough to hopefully have a decent number of years left on it. I ended up getting a 2015 Retina Display MBP with a 15” screen (note: Apple discontinued the 17” screen MBPs in early 2012). It has 16GB of RAM and dual graphics processors. While I waited for that MBP to arrive, I decided to contact Adobe support to have them clear any activations that were on my account so that I would have access to both activations that I’m entitled to.

    The 2015 MBP arrived a few days later with macOS High Sierra installed on it. I set up my account on that MBP and then got hold of the installer disk for CS6. The 2015 MBP does NOT have a built in CD/DVD unit installed in it, so I used an external Apple CD/DVD SuperDrive unit.

    The CS6 installation was completed and I then decided to apply updater files to Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop. Many years ago I had downloaded updater files for those 3 applications, and I’ve held onto those updaters over all these years. So, I had them available for updating my installation now. And it’s a good thing that I held onto those updater files since Adobe has changed things around so that the online update process no longer works in the normal way for CS6. So, that’s another thing that’s broken so far as CS6 is concerned.

    Anyway, I got the updates accomplished and that’s when I tried launching Photoshop CS6 Extended. Once the main Photoshop desktop appeared, up popped a window asking me to Sign In. So I filled in my email address and password and hit OK or Submit (whatever the button was labeled). After that I ended up being dumped back into the original Sign In window. It was an endless loop….no way to get past it to enter the serial number and get the activation accomplished.

    I went to the Adobe site and got into a chat with one of their Customer Support people. I explained the problem and asked if they had any info on how to fix it….or…. if they could just do the activation for me. The rep could not do the activation, but he asked if he could remotely access my Mac. I had never had one of the reps there ask to do that before, but I figured that he had to do something that he considered would be too esoteric for me to do, so I said OK. He got access and went into a Library area to access some Adobe support files. One of them was called Host, and he cleared some data in there and replaced the original file. After that, we tried launching Photoshop again and the same thing happened…the Sign In loop.

    After that failed, all he could do was give me some links to some postings in the Adobe user forum that dealt with the problem. He said I needed to go there and try to find an answer for myself since he could do no more. Their standard line is that CS6 is an outdated and unsupported product so there is little that they can do when something goes wrong. It’s left up to the customer to try to figure things out on their own. So, I guess I was lucky that he even offered to try that editing trick to try to get things working.

    Having said all of the above, I am running out of ideas on how to overcome the Sign In loop problem. It is my hope that, after having presented the information above, perhaps you have some info on how this can be fixed. All I want to do is to get my CS6 back to its normal state again and not be bugged (every time I start the software up) with that Sign In window.

    I have no desire whatsoever to have to rent my tools, so that’s why I have never signed up for the “creative cloud” plan that Adobe is pushing. To be sure, I do realize that CS6 is very long in the tooth, so I have also invested in the new Affinity line of applications: Designer (a vector application like Illustrator), Photo (a photo editor like Photoshop), and Publisher (a page layout application like InDesign). Affinity is making those available under a perpetual license so it’s a one-time payment of around $50 (less if on sale) and you don’t have to pay again till another major release comes out. So, I can access my Affinity apps when needed, but I still prefer to have some access to CS6 as well.

    So, if you have any ideas on how to fix the Sign In loop problem I’d love to hear them! Thanks for anything that you may be able to offer.

    PS: I also have not been able to try to do an offline registration since there is no sign of a link choice labeled “Having trouble connecting to the internet” which you need to use in order to generate a Request Code. I think Adobe is really just trying to get people to finally leave CS and get sucked into the CC scheme. :( So, if you know of a way to generate a Request Code that doesn’t require access to that link, please elaborate! Thanks!

    – David

    • Hello David,

      If you can connect to the Internet but can’t connect to the CS6 activation servers, then make sure that TLS 1.2 support is enabled… Without TLS 1.2 connections enabled, you can’t connect to Adobe’s servers for security reasons – a change they had to make in recent years.

      We would suggest reading through this entire Forums thread for suggestions on how to proceed

      Can’t activate Creative Suite 6?

      Hope that helps; please let us know how it goes.

  15. Thanks for the suggestion and the link.

    Regarding TLS 1.2… that has been enabled by default, in macOS (and therefore its Safari browser) since OS X 10.9, which is 4 versions before the macOS version that I’m currently using.

    Regarding the Adobe forum link that you provided… I had already gone through that exact message thread yesterday and nothing that was suggested there worked.

    So, if there are no other options available that you can suggest then I will need to continue searching for a way out of this situation.

    Thanks anyway for your reply! Much appreciated!

    – David

    • David, if you even ran the Cleaner tool and also checked for any network activation issues, then you might try re-contacting Customer Support. Some commenters on that Forums thread have reported Adobe helping to get that issue working as recently as February.

  16. Since it’s late, I’ll mention this now and endeavor to post details later: from what I can tell, I’ve managed to fix the problem… but the solution I came up with is different from any single suggestion that I’ve seen so far. It “only” took me two to three days to stumble across it… no thanks to Adobe.

    The solution involved combining together parts of two separate posts (that I found online) to create a single approach which successfully avoids: the Sign In loop; the refusal by Adobe’s servers to recognize my serial number as legit; and the inability to obtain a Request Code.

    Sounds too good to be true, but I think it’s fixed.

    Details to come as soon as I have a chance to put it together.

    Watch this space.

    PS: Is it possible to post screen shots here? Or is that not a feature of this comment area? If screen shots are able to be posted, how is that done? Do I just paste them into this comment box? Or do I upload files to you all somewhere and you place them?

    – David

    • That’s great to hear, David – we’ll look forward to hearing more.

      Regarding screenshots, you can upload them somewhere and link them in your comment here. Better if you can use an image website which gives permanent links. is one.


  17. An update: I have been working off and on on my report regarding the workaround that I came across. It’s about 2/3 finished so it will be tomorrow (Tuesday) before I can post it.

    I have had to recreate some of my steps in order to get some screenshots, and I still have to process the screenshots so that I can upload them to that site you suggested.

    My comments, as usual, are running long in the text I’ve written so far, so I will post my report in 2 parts.

    I am hopeful that the screenshots will show up OK.

    That’s all for now.

    – David

  18. I have finished writing the text. I have finished processing the screenshot files. Last thing that needs to be done is to upload files to that image hosting site you suggested.

    I went to that site and uploaded a test image. There was a fair amount of data shown for it after the upload. The top 2 listings in the data stack were for “Link” and “Direct Link”. I’m presuming that one of those link addresses should be used in my comment text in order to link to the hosting site? If so, which of those should I use? I would presume that “Direct Link” would be most appropriate. Is that correct?

    If you can provide that answer, I can upload my report after I generate all of the links.


  19. In looking over the rest of those data points, I noticed others that might work too. For your reference, here are all of the items that are available for each file that’s uploaded at that image hosting site:

    Direct Link
    Thumbnail for forums
    Thumbnail for website
    Hotlink for forums
    Hotlink for website
    NOTE: there were also two items listed as “Markdown” with icons next to each one… don’t know what those are about.

    Which of those would be most appropriate to use within my comment text?


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