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Adobe CS2 is Now Available for Free, Sort Of

A bit of buzz has stirred after Adobe strangely put up its Creative Suite 2 software, including programs like Photoshop CS2 and Illustrator 2 up for download for free on their website. The free downloads included a full version of the program that didn’t require a unique serial key to be activated.

Of course many believed that Adobe were putting the software up for free simply because they had turned off the activation servers for the eight year old software, which would make sense as a new purchaser was much more likely to buy something newer that would better support the current OS’s. However, only part of this was true; Adobe did in fact shut down the CS2 activation servers late last year, but as complaints started to hit the company about not being able to re-download a package they had already purchased, Adobe then followed to put the program up for free to these customers.

Adobe then told customers that to legally use the software, they still had to have purchased a valid license beforehand, but the doors to the free downloads and serial keys are still open, and in fact, Adobe have even opened it up wider by turning off the requirement to log into adobe before accessing the page.

CS2 may run poorly on newer OS’s, and it’s outdated to say the least, but as it’s been put up for free to download, I don’t expect anyone will hesitate to grab themselves a copy, even if doing some seems to fall into a bit of a grey area. CS2 might be outdated, but for those with really basic photo-editing needs, it could still be more than enough to meet their needs.

Do you think it’s fair to take advantage of Adobe putting the software up for free on their website? What are your experiences with CS2 on newer operating systems?




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  1. Same with Microsoft Office 2007 of course. Grab a free download from Digital River, install, edit the file proof.xml accordingly, and have a fully activated product… Nice…

  2. I think Adobe should view it as a marketing opportunity. I design most of our organization’s stuff in photoshop, but with CS2 available for free, would be happy to learn InDesign without the pressure of a 30 day time limit. If the software is really that good, then it will produce incentive in me to eventually upgrade to the full version. I think Adobe should totally give CS2 away, and in doing so, expect that in the long run, they will see more sales due to greater exposure.

  3. Nobody really cares, probably not even Adobe since they have CS6 out now, and CS2 wouldn’t hurt CS6 sales by anything more than a minuscule amount. Here’s the bottom line: if you put something up on the internet for free (because you don’t have to pay to download it, even though legally you do), nobody will care if you put a big “The serial numbers below should only be used by customers who legitimately purchased CS2 or Acrobat 7 and need to maintain their current use of these products.” message. They’ll just ignore it and download it anyway.

  4. I wish all software companies (hint, hint Microsoft, IBM, HP) would put online old code that they have no intention of supporting anymore. It is a lot safer for people who need say, a copy of DOS 6 for an old CNC machine, to download a clean copy from Microsoft rather than some nafarious warez site. What’s the point of keeping such code locked up? Will freely downloadable DOS 6 somehow canibalize Windows 8 sales? NO!!! In fact, it will likely build a lot of good will with new customers considering investing on a platform to know that they won’t be left out on a limb in a couple of years.

    When I buy hardware or software, I do take into serious consideration their past history of consideration for legacy products. Its one of the reason’s I’ve been telling people for years to steer clear of Gateway. Just TRY to get a replacement part, software drivers or batteries for a Gateway notebook that’s even 24 months old. Gateway used to be an awesome company. No so since the mid 90’s.

  5. Forrest Hopkins


  6. I think it is smart marketing to offer older software and OS software for free

  7. I doubt the newer operating systems will be that huge of an issue. I’ve been running my (legal) version of Photoshop 7.0 for years now–and on Windows 7. I never got around to upgrading as it does what I want, and now since mine is pretty old, an upgrade keeps getting more and more expensive. It runs rock solid for me and is 2002 software. I may “update” to CS2 though (2005 software) just for fun.

  8. Yep, but mostly because I bought Photoshop last year and then my HD crashed and I had to get a new one and at the moment, I have nooo idea where my PS disc is, so I can’t use that version until I do, so it’s nice to have something in the meantime. I’m a paying customer, I just bought a newer version and can’t currently access it.

    • simply log into your adobe account (mandatory since CS5) and re authenticate. you can even download the binaries too. If you have forgotten your adobe ID then give them a ring and they will reauthenticate you. Adobe customer service is quite good.

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