How To Fix CS3 Licensing Has Stopped Working

How To Fix CS3 Licensing Has Stopped Working

You Cannot Use this Product at this Time.

This has got to be the absolutely WORST thing anyone using Adobe Creative Suite products can see on their machine when they attempt to start up one of their programs. And more often than not, it happens to you at the WORST time. This has happened to me on two occasions with Adobe CS3 Master Collection. The first time it was partially fixed with a reinstall. I say partially because I still couldn’t use any of the video editing programs in the Master Collection (I previously upgraded from Design Premium) but since I didn’t need them at the time it was acceptable. The second  time around, however, a reinstall was not successful and neither were many other simple fixes suggested by both Adobe and other online resources. The FlexNet Services restart option did nothing for more as it was already running. The Adobe License Recovery program also failed at getting me back up and running.

Don’t worry, you CAN fix this!

So I finally found the solution over on RaisedByTurtles.org by Tom Lambert. In his Fix CS3 post Uninstall a Service in Vista, Repair Adobe CS3 and Clean Up the Registry both he and a Commenter Named JL provide detailed instructions as well as where to get the things you’ll need.

It’s not that hard, but it is time consuming. Also, it will wipe EVERYTHING Adobe off of your machine so only use this as a last ditch effort. But I’m guessing if your in a situation like me and you have no choice you’ll try anything. The one suggestion I do have is save anything you don’t want to recreate like color swatches, actions, settings, etc. It will save you some time once you have successfully reinstalled your Creative Suite software.

Here’s what I did to get Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection working after I received the Licensing for this product has stopped working error message.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Uninstall using the CS3  disc. Reboot.
2.Manually remove any and every folder you can find labeled ‘Adobe’.  Look in Users, Documents and Settings, Program Files, Roaming Profiles, etc. Reboot.
3. Download and Run the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility. Reboot.
4. Download and Run the Adobe CS3Clean Script – Level 1. Repeat.
5. Run the Adobe CS3Clean Script – Level 2. Repeat.
6. Run the Adobe CS3Clean Script – Level 3. Repeat.
7. Run the Adobe CS3Clean Script – Level 4. Repeat.
8. Reboot.
9. Run CCleaner. (If you don’t have it you get it at File Hippo.com). Reboot.
10. Install Adobe Creative Suite using discs.

Presto!

So there are a few things on JL’s list that I skipped and still had success. I think if you strip your machine of all things Adobe and start fresh there are only so many things left to clean up after the first few times through the cleanup script.  But this definitely worked and it also worked for a friend of mine who had the same problem with CS3 Design Premium on a Vista laptop. She actually had a slightly different problem where she couldn’t even install the programs from the disc. She just kept trying to install and all it would give her was Acrobat. She also spent MULTIPLE HOURS on the phone with Adobe support and it was absolutely useless. Very poor customer service from Adobe on this issue. Thanks, Krista for helping me out with this and taking one for the team with Adobe! I just can’t help feeling there should be some kind of class action lawsuit after so many documented cases of lost productivity have been documented across the web.

Good Luck!

Uninstall a Service in Vista, Repair Adobe CS3 and Clean Up the Registry

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13 Responses to “How To Fix CS3 Licensing Has Stopped Working”

  1. Tom Lambert

    I’m glad that worked for you Kevin. That post I wrote is one of those weird things: I get great satisfaction from all the grateful people, but it blows me away how much traffic it gets.

    When I wrote the post I told myself “This is for my reference. I doubt anyone else will get stuck like this.”

    Well, traffic has dropped a bit as more people are on CS4, but still I get 100 visitors a month (used to be 300 per month) looking for answers to that same problem (or at least going to that page).

    The thing I don’t know is whether traffic has dropped because CS4 fixed these issues, or if it’s that my post only mentions CS3, so the searches for CS4 go somewhere else.

    I think Adobe makes great software in general, but it blows me away how many people get stuck like this and can’t get back to a clean machine and clean install without jumping through all these hoops.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re back up and designing instead of wrestling with computer problems.

  2. Kevin Oh!

    Hey Tom,
    Well, we’re all glad you decided to write your original post, that’s for sure! I’m hoping my re-post of this information helps some more people find their fix.

    Interesting comment on CS4… we’re considering upgrading in the near future. I’m hoping Adobe has fixed this bug, I really don’t want to go through another round of this. But, as I understand it Adobe “upgrades” are really brand new installs of more recent versions (you can run CS3 and CS4 simultaneously) so I am expecting I would run into these licensing issues again if I don’t do a clean before installing. I’ll keep you posted.

  3. Tom Lambert

    Thanks Kevin. I’d definitely appreciate it if you kept us posted RE CS4 and these sorts of issues.

    I’m curious and I’d be curious to know whether the methods in my blog post are needed and if so if they actually work with CS4.

    In a perfect world, traffic to that page (and this one) would drop to zero because the problem is solved at the source.

    Take care,
    Tom

  4. deborah

    Adobe has created such a huge problem with this that the have had to create the “Adobe AIR” installation trouble shooting tool (Adobe Installation Repair = AIR) as well as a licensing registration cleanup tool (LicensingRepair109). Their support staff in India has a handbook of things to try, but neither the two tools, nor the FLEXnet restarting suggestions, nor the deletion of cache folders and .db files in the PCD folder work.

    I’m really glad for this post and after about 6 solid evenings trying to fix this issue both using online tools and by calling support, I hope I can finally solve it tonight.

    I think the CS4 issue is the same issue – the core of the problem seems to be with CS3. If you get CS3 working correctly, then CS4 will install – if not, then CS3′s licensing issue will manifest again when it causes a conflict with the CS4 install (even if the problem never cropped up in CS3).

    Adobe has lost a ton of goodwill over this. What a loathesome thing to do to clients who have paid full price for their software and expect to be able to use it without so much pain.

    Thank you so much for your post.

  5. Jacksonville Computer Repair

    Hi,
    Very nice information. Thanks for this.
    Regards,
    Jane

  6. PD

    Let me just say that I was without Adobe CS3 applications for three days. Finally, I ran across these step-by-step instructions. IT TOTALLY WORKED! Thank you.

  7. Krissy

    Thank you a million times doesn’t even begin to cover it!! I have spent 5 days on this problem and finally found your info above. It did the trick and I am forever grateful! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!!! Now…back to work! :)

  8. Grace

    I am so so so so so greatful for this, After a afternoon of tears, I think this has finally worked for me…Although I still got a licensing messgae…the program still opened….weird..but its working for now so a BIG thank you!

  9. JOSEPH MARCELO

    hey! i solve myself,

    open MSConfig at Run (Star > run> msconfig)

    -under the SERVICES, hide ALL MICROSOFT services
    - check the FLEX LICENSING SERVICES

    -run again your application… CS3
    -enjoy!

  10. Emily

    Adobe has created such a huge problem with this that the have had to create the “Adobe AIR” installation trouble shooting tool (Adobe Installation Repair = AIR) as well as a licensing registration cleanup tool (LicensingRepair109). Their support staff in India has a handbook of things to try, but neither the two tools, nor the FLEXnet restarting suggestions, nor the deletion of cache folders and .db files in the PCD folder work.

    I’m really glad for this post and after about 6 solid evenings trying to fix this issue both using online tools and by calling support, I hope I can finally solve it tonight.

    I think the CS4 issue is the same issue – the core of the problem seems to be with CS3. If you get CS3 working correctly, then CS4 will install – if not, then CS3′s licensing issue will manifest again when it causes a conflict with the CS4 install (even if the problem never cropped up in CS3).

    Adobe has lost a ton of goodwill over this. What a loathesome thing to do to clients who have paid full price for their software and expect to be able to use it without so much pain.

    Thank you so much for your post.

  11. Amy

    Thank you a million times doesn’t even begin to cover it!! I have spent 5 days on this problem and finally found your info above. It did the trick and I am forever grateful! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!!! Now…back to work! :)

  12. Carolynne

    Unfortunately that Windows Cleanup Utility is no longer available. So now what?

  13. Kevin O'Hara

    Hey Carolynne,
    You could try something like CCleaner or Revo Uninstaller 2010. Or just go through the steps listed and skip that one altogether, you may have luck without it.

    Good luck!

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