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Adobe is NOT Giving Away CS2

There’s a lot of chatter on the internet today, including Twitter, claiming that Adobe is now giving CS2 away for free.

This is simply not true. What is happening is that Adobe has shut down the activation servers for CS2. Because of that, CS2 users were unable to activate if they reinstalled the software. In order to allow these people to continue to use their software Adobe has made available, for download, CS2 software which does not require activation.

The download requires an Adobe ID and in order to install it, a valid serial number.

The original announcement was made almost a month ago. Why it first came to light today, I don’t know but Adobe’s Dov Isaacs attempted to clear it up in a User to User forum post earlier today.

Bob Levine

Bob Levine

Bob Levine is a graphic designer and a consultant focused on providing InDesign training and guidance in developing efficient, collaborative workflows to those moving from QuarkXPress or PageMaker. An Adobe Certified Expert in both InDesign and InCopy, Bob has written articles for InDesign Magazine and is an Adobe User to User forums host. He has more than 15 years of industry experience and has been using InDesign since version 1.0. For more background, visit his website, or his blog,
Bob Levine

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  • - November 30, -0001
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39 Comments on “Adobe is NOT Giving Away CS2

      • Bob is actually correct. Adobe provided these as free copies for current CS2 unlimited license holders because they closed down the CS2 activation servers and all copies stopped working. That doesn’t actually mean they’re freeware, and in using these copies (at least beyond Adobe’s normal 30 day trial period) people are still effectively stealing from the company.

        Of course, this was all over a year ago, and most freeware sites are still hosting the links, so to do so in ignorance should not be prosecutable.

        I’m not sure whether Adobe have changed their stance on this since 2012 and whether the items are in fact free now? If someone knows, please post and put me out of my misery. I actually own PS CS3 but could really use InDesign and Illustrator CS2 if they are fairly available with my CS3 license (it’s not a CS2 license, but it IS superior..).

  1. I am not misleading anyone.

    The fact that Adobe has made the software easily available for those who purchased it, doesn’t mean you have a legally licensed copy of CS2 on your machine.

    That said, Adobe has clearly fumbled the ball on this and I don’t see this as any kind of issue for individuals.

    • This was all over a year ago, and most freeware sites are still hosting the links, so to do so in ignorance should not be prosecutable.

      I’m not sure whether Adobe have changed their stance on this since 2012 and whether the items are in fact free now? If someone knows, please post and put me out of my misery. I actually own PS CS3 but could really use InDesign and Illustrator CS2 if they are fairly available with my CS3 license (it’s not a CS2 license, but it IS superior..).

  2. Try doing the install. I downloaded the CS2 Suite I own it BTW but had activation issues after the last hurricane and Adobe said CS2 was to old for them to bother with so they wouldn’t help me reactivate it. I tried to install this but it contains no InDesign or Illustrator install options. The only install it will do it a custom of Photoshop and the web apps. Gonna dig into the disks and see if they have separate installs for Indy and Illy. now.

    • If you still need a hand, the TechSpot download links work fine – you just need to extract them all into the right folders. I hit on mine first time by chance but try selecting for Disc 2 the one that Disc 1 utilised via Browse. You also need to chang

  3. Well, there is GoLive. Thats is nice for simple work! Windows version runs oke, Mac I believe needs Rosetta

  4. Ok did the installs by using a utility to show hidden finder objects and then clicking on the InDesign and Illustrator install pkgs. That did the trick. Then I went back and did the CS2 install so Photoshop was installed. Only issue is I can’t do any updates on the software. Not a big deal as like I said I won’t use it much only for that odd job done in CS2 that won’t open in a newer version without issues. I may also go back and use it to impose large jobs with the PDF FPO option from Rampage as it’s a better workflow that Adobe killed with CS3 for no reason I can think of, and still won’t admit they did.

  5. It’s not clear why the give the possibility to download cs2 to everyone, giving regular key too. No warning about license or anything else. It seems free.

  6. A pity that Adobe hadn’t simply done this on purpose, when you stop and think about it. Or perhaps made it available at a token price.

    • I utterly agree with you. It’s outdated, unsupported, and they’re not even accepting new activations. The problem is that they assume fewer people will purchase the new versions: while this may be true, most serious amateurs and professionals will be stymied by CS2 not recognising the 64 bit architecture of new computers and will upgrade anyway or forget the whole thing if they can’t afford to.

  7. @Chris: I completely agree with you. I think Adobe should have just said “CS2 for Everyone who Wants It,” then had people register before downloading — so they can try to upsell them to a decent version of the software. Over the next couple of years, I’m sure a bunch of these freeloaders would have upgraded to the creative cloud.

    • I’m actually looking at the CC right now, but I honestly cannot justify getting it on our current budget of zero. So I looked into these free offers yesterday as I needed InDesign and Illustrator (the latter for a single project).

      Is there any way I can buy a cheap activation licence from Adobe? I really do want to use and keep the software. Not illegally. However, if they won’t actually provide it in any other way, I can’t pay a premium for CS6 and CC either.

  8. I would like to download the CS2 version on my mac but it says that power pc items are no longer supported. Is there a way around this?

  9. It’s probably a good idea to download these installers if you have files created in CS2 (or earlier) so that you have a way of opening them in the future.

    Likewise it’s probably a good idea to keep a few old machines around running XP/10.6.8 to run older software and obsolete file formats.

    • Does having a full licence for Creative Suite 3 or above render these morally and legally downloadable?

      What about a partial license for full or partial CS2 product?

  10. My daughter crashed my computer last week by plugging her phone into it. I have it back and want to reload CS2 but have not been able to. What can I do? The telephone number doesn’t work. This is a legal purchased program. Does Nordstroms come to my house and take a dress back that I bought because its five years old? No, it doesn’t. Can someone help me? I filing a complaint with the Minnesota Attorney General’s office against Adobe.

    • @Merlin: Not sure why you can’t reload CS2, but you should be able to reach Adobe at Sorry we can’t help with installation problems here (we’re not adobe).

    • Yeah, I have had the same problem trying to re-load my InDesign CS2 program, which I purchased legally at great cost many years ago, onto my new computer. The telephone number doesn’t work and there is no one at Adobe who can help me re-activate my program, which as of today no longer works on my computer. I too intend to file a complaint with the state Attorney General’s office.

    • Absolutely. I’d love to know too, and preferably for a low or discounted price, since I’m poor enough as it is and already own an updated license for the Photoshop components.

  11. I am a legit owner of CS2 and cannot afford to buy a newer version. Of course, my discs will no longer activate. But I cannot figure out how to install the free version. I get to a certain point and need to choose a destination folder. When I click next, I get an error message saying that destination contains unsupported characters, and I need to choose another folder. I have no earthly idea how to do that, and I cannot find it among adobe’s instructions. Can’t figure out how those of you who never owned the software are able to get it!

    • You need to use the short version of the Program Files folder’s name.
      To find this you can search for the folder using MS DOS – there are various tutorials on the internet to help with this.
      However in this case the most common variants are C:\Progra~2\Adobe and the same with a 1 instead of the 2, depending on how many folders you have in directory C: that begin with the characters Progra.
      Type one of those in where it asks for the file path and click around a few times or open and close the Browse window until the installer recognises the pathway, then you should be fine.
      Check your appropriate Program Files folder after installation to be sure CS2 installed in the right place.
      You HAVE to install it in C:\Program Files\Adobe on a 32 bit machine, or C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe on a 64 bit machine; the path above is just an easy way to access those folders without using special characters. Installing it anywhere else causes a critical activation error.

  12. It’s still available and as yet unclarified, even after I searched the net for ages, I’d still like to know, and apparently someone WAS still watching the link.
    Oh well.

    • @Debbie – I am a legitimate licensed CS2 user trying to install on a newer laptop downgraded to a 32-bit environment. I feel like I have followed all your instructions; downloaded the “free” discs (set of 3) to desktop, extracted all files to same folder location (C:\Creative Suite CS2), ran install from disk 1 and used C:\Progr~1\Adobe for location. After disk 1 is complete, I am still receiving the never-ending “please insert CD 2 to continue installation” message.
      How do I get past this?

  13. I purchased my Adobe CS2 program many years ago. Had to purchased a new Hard Drive for my Computer.
    Lost all my contacts & erase all my programs I had bought. I had no problems reinstalling my Office Microsoft..
    I reinstall my Adobe CS2 program. Can’t activate Adobe doesn’t activate over the phone.
    I need an Authorization Code to activate my program. I don’t want to download anything for free.
    I do own my own program.
    Please I need your help.

    Sincerely, Antoinette

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