An Activation Process That Works

Last December I purchased a Dell XPS 420 and included in the package were some fine products from Adobe.  The package included Photoshop Elements 6.0, Premiere Elements 4.0, and Soundbooth CS3.  When I switched from the 32 to the 64 bit version of Windows Vista Ultimate, I forgot to deactivate Soundbooth CS3.  Actually, I didn't forget.  I didn't know it was required from a license management point of view.

A month or two later I installed Soundbooth on my laptop.  Activation worked and I've been using the product for sound edits.  A couple of weeks ago I tried to install Soundbooth on my Dell XPS 420 again and use it, but it would not activate. 

This weekend I started digging around on the Adobe website to see if their license allows for the product to be installed on more than one computer.  The FAQ at clearly states that I can do that.  Here's the relevant entry text:

"The activation process supports installation on two machines. The Adobe product license agreement allows the primary user to install the product on a primary computer and also on a home or laptop computer for his or her use, provided that the two copies are not used simultaneously. While the activation process supports installing and activating Adobe software on two machines, the usage of the product on the second computer is restricted to the user who licensed the software. Allowing others to use a second copy of the software violates the product license agreement."

Cool!!! Now What?  So I check the support area for a telephone number.  What's the chance I can get this resolved on a Sunday afternoon?  Sure enough, technical support is open for business so I ring up the folks on their support line.

I explain the situation to a nice gentleman handling support calls.  We go through the process of telephone based activation which is similar to Microsoft products.  He reads me back the authorization code and a few minutes later I am fully activated.  That was one of the more pleasant supports calls I've ever had to deal with.  I didn't have to wait on hold for any lengthy period of time, the CSR was polite and knew exactly how to fix the issue, I could understand him and he could understand me, and everything was resolved in less than ten minutes.  Wow.

I am fully functional again, or rather, the software is. I can move the license at will to another machine when desired.  Soundbooth has a Deactivate function off the Help menu.  I simply use it to deactivate, then install and activate on the new machine.  Nice.  I wish all software did this, including ours.  I know what you are thinking because I've had this discussion with many people over the past couple of years during Windows Vista demos and discussions.

Adobe seems to be doing the right thing at least at it pertains to consumer product use and license management.  Be sure to look carefully at your Adobe products before you flatten a machine.  Don't make the same mistake I did.  Manage those digital assets wisely.

Comments (6)

  1. Jordan says:

    So when is microsoft going to ditch the indian-based call center for Windows Activation?

    Although if they do, ill lose my fun game of asking them a question that they dont have a script for, such as "how is the weather over there".

    It can get interesting.

  2. Keith Combs says:

    The person I am referring to in this article was likely in India and did a good job.

  3. Brian says:

    Found myself in the same boat this past week with my copy of Photoshop CS2.  When I rebuilt my desktop to Windows Vista Ultimate in December of last year I thought I had deactivated it, but nope.  Didn’t discover it until last week when I was installing it on my new laptop and it wouldn’t activate.  Called, and as you found, was treated very professionally and with no issues at all got my system activated.  As with your experience I dealt with someone in India and had no issues understanding them or them understanding me.  

  4. The Dave says:

    So clue me in, how is Microsoft any different?

    Assuming you answer the questions correctly (and if you don’t, you probably don’t qualify for a reactivation anyway), it’s about a 5-6 minute call including reading the code to the machine first.  I’ve never once had a hassle, or had a request declined.

    One of the perks of relying on VoIP is that I can pull my call logs historically.  I can only find one example of an activation call going over 10 minutes, all others were 5-7 minutes long.  Only once did I get hung up on, and that was during the automated system.

    Maybe I’m just different?

  5. Keith Combs says:

    Dave, you mean to tell me you’ve never burned through ALL of you activations for a product?  I have.

  6. The Dave says:

    I can’t say that I have — The automated systems will refuse activation, but phoning has always resolved the issue, on both OEM and retail licenses that have been installed dozens of times.

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