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

  1. Ah, thank you for such a kind and quick response. It took a good number of tries, but yes, after following the directions very carefully, I was successful in downloading the program.

    Thank you SO much and I am sorry I was blind to the directions to begin with!

    • No problem at all Stefanie – glad it worked out and thanks for circling back to let us know. Be sure to make another disc backup of the installation files now just in case you ever need to install your software again!

  2. J*sus! CHR*ST! How complicated and long winded is this! Absolute madness! I am upgrading from PC to MAC, I thought I could run my PC CS5 software through a Windows emulator on Mac? Now I have no idea what to do… madness

  3. Hello,

    My Macbook recently crashed, I had the Adobe CS4 suite installed on that computer and my work computer. I recently purchased a new laptop and it will not let me fully install the CS4 Suite saying that the SN is already being used on too many computers. My hard drive on my old laptop is fried and I cannot turn it on to deactivate the suite so what are my options?


  4. Hello,
    I have the Windows version of Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 and Adobe After Effects CS3. How can I get this version to run on my new Mac OS X Snow Leopard? Is there a way to switch from Windows to Mac software without the pricey upgrades?

    I talked to Adobe recently and they want to charge a bundle for the upgrades to do this. Any thoughts on how I can get this software running on my Mac?

    Also, do you know if there is a website online where I can trade with somebody my Windows for Mac software?

    Thank you!

    • Welcome Ryan, the only way you could do it without buying new Adobe software is using some technique to create a Windows environment separately on your Mac computer – this is possible with multi-boot or virtualization software. If you’re interesting in learning more about this (what is involved and the expenses), see this previous comment.

      But outside of that, you can’t switch or change older Adobe software to be cross-platform. You can however buy or upgrade to new Creative Suite products that will run multi-platform, on both Windows and Mac OS.

      Regarding options for older versions, we know of no good or safe way to exchange operating systems other than Adobe’s crossgrade process described in the article above. As for trying to find someone else wanting to go in the opposite direction, it’s unlikely because almost everybody is looking to go from the PC to Mac now – and it’s also problematic because trying to find used or older software online on someplace like eBay is enormously risky – so something like a “swap” would not be recommended unless you personally knew and intimately trusted the other person.

      Sorry the news isn’t better but hope this helps!

  5. Thank you for the explanation. I presently own a single-user version of Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Standard for Mac. I want to reinstall onto a new Thinkpad PC.

    Do I need to employ the crossgrade process through Adobe, or will the software allow me to simply install into my new PC? I’m afraid to mess up the new PC, which was “difficult” to get my Mac files on to, but I did it and want to use my Adobe programs.

    I own the license and have not installed in any other machine. What problems will I encounter?

    Thanks for your help.
    Kenny G

    • Greetings Kenny, sorry to say we know of no good and simple way to run native Mac Adobe applications on a Windows PC… You could try to find and set up virtual machine software that would allow you to install Mac OS X on a Windows partition, but there might be additional costs, performance could be slow or uneven, and you might have to employ hacks and/or break Apple’s licensing.

      The easiest and most direct approach would be to move up to the current release of Creative Suite – either via the platform crossgrade as described above, or upgrade to a new version of CS5.5 that will run on both operating systems.

      The good news is that any new release of CS will open and import all your existing older project files without difficulty.

  6. What if I use both Windows AND Mac on two separate computers?

    My desktop runs OSX, and my laptop runs Windows 7. Is it not possible for me to install a copy on both?

  7. okay, so I’m having a bit of an issue here….I just bought MY FIRST MAC!!!
    (early 2011 macbook pro 15.4′ i7 quad 2.2GHz 500MB/7500 running Lion 10.7.3)

    So I bought it off craigslist, and the guy said he would give me the disks for cs5. (master suite) of course he lied, its hacked.

    Now I already own a copy of cs5 (design standard version, that i bought of course) BUT ITS FOR MY PC

    My problem is that all his cs5 programs work on the mac EXCEPT InDesign (which i need the most).

    every time I try and start ID, it says “network connection was lost for the file InDesign, saved days or the file was modified by another process” then it says “A serious error has occurred, please restart”

    Of course the guy is totally blowing me off now, and I’m stuck. Can anyone please help me?

    The catch is that he installed master suite, and I don’t want to lose those killer (and expensive) programs if i call adobe and order a copy for my mac using my original purchase of design standard. Is there ANY way i can JUST install a patch or hack for InDesign, or fix it in some way without interfering with the other programs.

    Will it help to install the InDesign update?

    Could this problem be related to updating to Lion 10.7.3, which just came out yesterday? (I bought it yesterday and he had already updated it so I don’t know if ID was fine before the update)

    I guess what I’m saying is: can i have my cake and eat it too? (Don’t judge me, i made my $500 contribution to Adobe, so please spare me the lecture about hacked programs) I just don’t have the $1200 dollars to buy Master Suite.


  8. OR, do you think Adobe would give me a Mac version of the Cs5 i already purchased for my PC, and let me upgrade it FOR A SMALL FEE?

    • Hello Sonny, you can definitely upgrade your legitimate PC version of CS5 to a Mac version of CS5.5 using the crossgrade procedure that’s described in detail in the article above…

      Or, alternatively you could upgrade your CS5 to a “business” license for CS5.5 that will actually run on both platforms – both Windows and Mac OS with one purchase.

      A final option (which is more complicated with a separate environment and not free) would be to run the PC software on a Mac using virtualization, emulation, or multi-boot software, as noted in this previous comment.

      But if you purchased a computer that you believe has a hacked version of CS5 software on it, we would strongly advise you to not use it – either the hack or the computer.

      It’s very very common these days for those Adobe cracks to be backdoored, or otherwise laced with malware – and you won’t find out until it’s too late… Returning it would be the best and safest thing you can do, and this highlights once again why never to buy software from eBay and Craigslist. Good luck.

  9. Yes, unfortunately the guy is blowing me off and won’t return my calls so I’m stuck with it.
    Is there any way to check if it is backboned with malware?

    Also, can u recommend a site where I can learn to create a windows 7 partition?

    This is my first Mac and I want to learn these things but just don’t know of the best resources….yet
    Thanks for your help.

    • Unfortunately Sonny, from what we’ve seen – the only way to be absolutely certain there is no malware remaining or lurking on your system after introducing unknown/untrusted hacked or cracked software to the deepest level, is to completely reformat the hard drive and reinstall the operating system fresh and clean…

      As for the technicals on how to create and manage a disk partition for Windows on a Mac, we don’t have anything in particular to share but if you’re interested you might be able to google or bing it.

  10. I have CS4 running on two computers. I am purchasing a third computer and want to upgrade to CS5 on the new one. My question is, can I still run CS4 on the other two computers while the new one has the upgrade to CS5?

  11. Hi ProDesign,

    My wife has a legitimate copy of CS5 loaded onto her OS X desktop and would now like to install it onto her OS X laptop. Unfortunately she can’t find the installation code and never bothered to registered with Adobe. Can she now register and request the code? Nobody else could have registered it.

    Is there a specific place where OS X stores the code?

    Or lastly do you know of any programs for the Mac that reveals product codes? She still has the installation disks.

    Thank you in advance for any comments or suggestions.

  12. Hi ProDesign and thanks for your reply! We did manage to get the activation code through a combination of using a program called “Mac Product Key Finder” and Adobe Live Chat help. The program managed to list a number of serial codes for various Adobe products installed on her computer, but when she tried to enter the listed code for CS5 the installation said that it was an invalid code.

    The next step was to talk to an Adobe representative via live chat. When she first contacted Adobe, she was told that it wasn’t possible to retrieve the code if she didn’t register the suite with Adobe. However, armed with the serial number she got from the MPKF they graciously supplied her with a new code that worked!

    This time she promptly wrote the code down and stored it in two safe places.

    Now back to your original question: I still don’t know if she registered the suite with Adobe. If she goes to Help > Product Registration, will she be prompted to create an Adobe account? Unless one was created during this transaction, I don’t think she has one.

  13. Hullo!

    As you suggested to Stephanie on Dec. 4th 2011, how might one create a backup disc of the installation files? I travel a lot, and I’m looking to burn this to my flash drive so I can access it on the road if/when required.

    Many thanks.

    • Sure Megan. How you make a backup copy of your Adobe software depends on whether you got it via disc or download… If on disc, just copy all of the files and directories on it to your flash drive, exactly as they are.

      If you received your product via a download, then copy the 1 or 2 files that you downloaded to the flash drive, before installing. The .EXE file (on Windows) or .DMG file (on Mac) is the one you will run to install the product.

      If you no longer have access to those original installation files, you can download them again as trial versions, and then use your valid purchased serial number to permanently activate your software.

  14. Hello. I have Adobe Master Suite CS5 on my laptop which run Windows 7. I want to install it onto my flash drive, how do I go about doing that? I need to restore my laptop.

  15. Hi. I purchased adobe creative suite student version about 2 years ago. I had this license for two computers and my last laptop has major problems so i purchased a new one. The old laptop has a problem so does not connect to the internet. Do i need the internet to somehow deinstall the software so i can reinstall it onto my new laptop or can all this be done without the internet? The license for my second computer is on my desktop which i used during university so no longer use it so i need to somehow transfer the old license from my old laptop which does not connect to the internet but still works.

    • Welcome Usman, thanks for your question. In order for any Adobe software to deactivate itself, it needs to connect to the Internet… So if one of your installed computers can no longer do that, then you will be unable to deactivate it yourself.

      However, all is not lost… What you need to in that case is follow the recommendation here and that should help. Good luck!

  16. I have a question, can I reinstall my Adobe CS6 software on the same computer (with same hardware) without deactivating it in the first place? My computer never goes out to the Internet and I often reinstall my OS after 90 to 180 days.

    • Hi Daniel, great to see you again and thanks for your question. It could work to uninstall and reinstall on the same exact computer without doing a deactivation, but just to be certain and safe you might want to take the extra step to choose “Suspend Activation” on your Adobe software (as mentioned above) before you wipe the system…

      Of course, if you don’t go out to the Internet for that, then it wouldn’t work – but completing that action may be better than the reactivation of the software failing on you unexpectedly down the road.

      Worst case, if it doesn’t work then you’d have to contact Adobe Customer Service to ask them to reset the activation records they have for your serial number in their database.

  17. Hi, I have an old mac I wanted to deauthorize and uninstall adobe on, but I’ve already been using adobe on my new mac with the same ID etc. Since all support on adobe suggests you ‘deauthorize adobe on your old computer BEFORE authorizing it on your new computer’ can I safely unauthorize adobe on my old mac without too many problems in still using it on my newer mac?


    • Yes Jessica, you should have no problem with that at all – because you’re actually allowed to have your Adobe software authorized on up to two computers anyway, so long as they’re not being used at the same time.

      So deauthorizing the product on your older machine should not impact the continued use on your new computer.

      Hope that answers it for you, if not then feel free to post back!

  18. My Mac laptop which contained my CS5 and Lightroom 3 software was stolen recently. both are student editions. I bought LR3 through Adobe online so i have access to the serial number and i still have the original discs for CS5 which was purchased at an Apple store. When i buy another laptop am i able to reinstall and activate the software even though i am unable to deactivate the software from my stolen computer?

    • Sorry for the loss Lisa, but there’s some good news: you can definitely recover your software. You need to contact Adobe directly with your serial numbers and ask them to manually deactivate all installations for those licenses… Then the database on their end will be cleared and you can start anew and reinstall the products on your current computer(s), up to two of them.

      Hope this helps and good luck with it!

  19. Thank you so much for the quick response.what a great site you have, I really appreciate the advice and you pointing me in the right direction. Thank you for your help!

  20. Hi ProDesign,

    I’m currently running CS3 (which is an upgrade of a CS2) on my Windows PC, and would like to do a crossgrade to CS6 for my new Mac.

    In your article you mentioned that I can actually purchase the new software upgrade first, then submit my crossgrade form, download the 30-day trial for my Mac – and when I get the serial for the Mac CS6, I can just activate it then and there.

    Sorry for the noob question, but I’m at the crossgrade form and the info that I’m about to fill in here, is it for the current Windows CS3 that I’m running, or the new Mac CS6 that I’m about to purchase? Thanks in advance!

    • Hello Ian, thanks for your question. The answer is, Adobe will only crossgrade from the current version on the other platform…

      So the serial number you enter on the official crossgrade form will be the CS6 release you are buying (or already own).

      You receive this serial number immediately if you order the download version, or within a few days in the mail if you order the boxed version.

      Hope this helps! If you have any further questions, just post back.

  21. Has anyone had trouble going the ‘downloading the trial version’ route ?
    I’m unable to download the trial version of CS5 Design Premium….it always takes me to CS6.

    I did indeed lose my discs and so I’m trying to download the trial and enter my serial number. I still have a second download available to me from the program I purchased in 2011.

    Adobe refuses to help me. They truly think it’s reasonable the customer purchase the entire program again only 14 months later. I spent $400 last year and they want me to spend another $400 upgrading to CS6 despite having used only one of the two downloads available to me. I’m just in shock at the greed.


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