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Adobe activation is ridiculous, and a failure

Adobe activation is ridiculous, and a failure

Adobe has managed time and time again to tick me off with software activations. Well it's time someone else besides me gets to know what these problems are. Honestly it's getting to a point I will likely use another photo editing product when CS4 gets too old.

What's the problem you ask?

The problem is that with Adobe's new activation system you can only activate your software on two computers, and that's fine with me. But where this breaks down is the activation system itself. You have to actually DEactivate your old installation to move it to a new computer. If you don't you will install it on another computer fine, but then be told that you can only use it as a trial version until you activate it.

Now let's see where this can fail:

  1. You uninstall the software and forget to deactivate it.
  2. Give away an old computer and forget to deactivate it
  3. Your hard drive fails and you CAN'T deactivate it
  4. You reinstall your operating system, and forget to deactivate it
  5. Your computer gets stolen and you can't deactive it
  6. Your computer no longer works and you can't deactivate it

I could go on, but I won't. All of these are very common things that can happen to you, or your computer. Hell I just decided to wipe and reload my system to install Windows 7 64bit, and now I get to deal with Adobe activation. (Why else would I be needing to write this huh?)

So when you activate your software for the third time, you are then told you need to deactivate your other copies. Well I can't deactivate them because they are all old installs that no longer exist.

The oh so, friendly Adobe activation wizard gives you three choices:

  1. Deactivate a copy, and validate this new install
  2. Use a different serial number
  3. Buy a new license

Let's see, I can't do option 1 as previously stated. I can't do option 2 because I don't have another license key, and I won't do option 3 because I'm not throwing money out the window.

If you follow option 1 through it fails, and gives you a link to adobe's activation help. On that site it tells you that it should automatically detect the replacement of a hard drive and go about it's merry way. I can tell you from experience with my system, and with two other customers that this NEVER happens. Reading on I find out that Adobe limits you to re-activating your software 20 times (I'll go on about that later) . Everything else seems to be useless on the site, so I dug up the activation contact page. I can either do chat, or phone. The chat is only Monday to Friday, so I can't use that this weekend, so I call the phone number. I put my serial number in... and it asks me for another number that is never on my screen. So I mash the keys some to get it to error and pass me to support. There I wait... and wait... for almost an hour. So I hang up, and call the number again and take the operator/customer service rep option... and wait some more. I waited for about another 30 minutes before I figured that "Hey these jerk's don't do weekends at all". Never was I told what the phone hours were for the reps, or what queue position I was in. So I need to wait for a week day where nothing is going on that I can waste on these clowns.

Let's jump to that 20 activations thing again. Think about this, if you are a person that constantly upgrades their computer hardware, and uses their licenses legit. You can easily be shut off from using software you paid for. Even if you DO deactivate your licenses, you still have this issue. In fact you would be more likely to have this issue if you did deactivate your license. So if your not sure if a motherboard replacement will trigger the activation wizard your left wondering if you should deactivate or not. If you do, you lose one chance to install your software again. If you don't you have to wait for Adobe to activate your product again.

Now let's compare this to an activation system that actually works, like oh... let's say Microsoft's Windows XP. If I wipe out my system, replace the drive, have it stolen, etc. I can always reinstall Windows XP as long as I have my Windows CD/Product key (Which I keep seperate from my computer). After installing Windows XP, I get the option to activate, and if I have'nt activated it in several months or years it just goes through fine. However if I've just recently reinstalled, or activated it I am told activation failed and to call Microsoft. The phone number sends you to an automated system that can usually activate your software 90% of the time. However once in awhile it sends you to a person, and you give them your code, they ask two or three questions and give you the confirmation code. This normally takes me around 5 to 10 minutes to do if I have to call, and less than 10 seconds if I can over the internet. This service is provided 24/7, and I have only called ONCE and been told the system was down and to try again in a couple hours. Then what about limiting the number of times you can activate? Well Microsoft does'nt say exactly, and they leave it at their discretion. However this means to me that they will decline to activate your software if they see you activated it several times in a short time period.

Adobe's system is a joke, plus throw in the fact they stirctly limit you to 20 activations and it makes you wonder if you should spend that $700 on them, or someone else.

It's not like they are a small company, or a very niche product that only a few thousand customers use and have. There is no reason a product that is likely used my a million users does'nt have 24/7 activation with customers representatives. Now I could probably call tech support, and make them activate it, but why can't the phone system re-direct me to them? Why does'nt it tell me "Sorry we don't work these hours" instead of letting me wait and guess that I might be getting someone.

Adobe, you need to fix this, and fix it now. This will make me not want to use ANY of your products. I've already decided to go with Sony Vegas for video editing because of this. I love my photoshop, but I'll drop it and all nearly 15 years experience I have with it to go to another product. Making me wait to activate is one thing, but telling me that I can only activate 20 times and that's too bad crosses the line.


Last Updated: 10/18/2009 11:22 PM

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