Get Free Adobe CS2? It’s More Complicated Than It Seems…


Image credit: Wikipedia

Adobe have decided to make their Creative Suite 2 software available for free, rather than maintain the licensing servers. At the time of writing, their download page is getting hammered, so we’re mirroring the links here for you. At first we’ll just have the links to the main CS2 downloads, then we’ll update to the full list of files.

Update 1: Apparently Adobe only meant these to be offered to existing license holders, so bear that in mind while you’re downloading – if you never had an existing license, you shouldn’t be grabbing these. Okay?

Update 2: It seems that Adobe are trying to retroactively change their position on these downloads. According to forums user CaptainSmingey, an Adobe rep originally said the files were available to anyone with an adobe ID:

“Yea CaptainSmingey we are aware that the software is available for all users with an Adobe ID. Please keep in mind that due to the age of these software titles it is likely that they will not function properly on modern operating systems.”

The post in question has since been edited to include the line:

“You will want to have a valid license for a software title affected by the activation server outage.”

Update 3: Here’s the latest official comment from Adobe Staff Member Jeff A Wright:

“Effective December 13, Adobe disabled the activation server for CS2 products and Acrobat 7 because of a technical glitch. These products were released over 7 years ago and do not run on many modern operating systems. But to ensure that any customers activating those old versions can continue to use their software, we issued a serial number directly to those customers. While this might be interpreted as Adobe giving away software for free, we did it to help our customers.”

So… does this mean ‘we’ve effectively given the product away for free’ or not? It seems like they don’t want to say they gave it away for free, but they also don’t want to admit to any error on their part, so they are blaming this on some kind of misinterpretation that came about as a result of them helping their customers. A direct statement on the matter would surely be more helpful than this vague answer, and I’m surprised this is the best the Adobe PR dept could come up with.

Update 4: It seems that the licence that the CS2 files shipped with (and continue to ship with as of now) don’t give Adobe the authority to stop anyone from using them as long as they obtained them from Adobe. Using the links below should provide users with a legal copy of CS2 until Adobe change the language in the licence. Forums user Ozpeter has a good explanation of why this is.

The previously linked statement by Jeff A Wright has been removed and replaced with a word-for-word repost by ‘Community Admin,’ here, and then moved again to here. This is apparently the official statement – as I said before this is pretty non-committal, most likely because of the licensing issues mentioned above.

Update 5: Once the official statement – such as it was – was made, the original download page came back up: http://www.adobe.com/downloads/cs2_downloads/index.html. Adobe is also offering the following localized versions (some are incomplete – that’s pretty unfair IMO):

Individual Products

Installation Issues/Errors

These were all taken from various places on the Internet as issues and fixes to the CS2 installation process

Windows 7 and 8: if and you’re having trouble installing CS2 you can use VirtualBox from Oracle. Ninite also offer it as part of their awesome installer packager. You will need a valid XP image/installation disk, but you can then run a virtual XP on your Win7 and higher machine.

Windows 8 Pro may also include Hyper-V, which is a similar virtualization tool. Again, you will need a valid XP image/install disk.

If you have a “Disk 2 error” installing the Suite, you should rename the extraction folder for disk 2 to make sure it matches the disk 1 and disk 3 folders. By default, disk 2 extracts to a different folder.

To fix the “Error: the path you select for installation contains unsupported characters. Please choose a different folder for installation.” error, you can either edit the installation path, or follow Adobe’s fix here

A further fix for an installation path error is to use the old DOS-style shortpaths to folders, e.g. C:\Progra~2\Adobe. This will install your CS2 files to C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe. You can get current short path names by running dir /x in cmd.exe