Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium on Windows and Mac OS (Possibly)

I bought a discount copy of Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium, because (after much discussion with others) its feature-set seems to match my typical and forseeable production requirements more than those of other NLEs, including my current mainstay, Sony Vegas 9 (which I am still trying to wean myself off, but when any proper job comes along, I tend to fall back on the familiar and trusted, for low risk including avoidance of learning-delay).

Being (so far) a one-man-band who is traditional Windows user, I purchased the Windows version.  But, confirming what I had heard, it does seem that most media people I have met use Macs.  So should I have purchased the Mac version?  Are the versions exactly the same or have they different functionalities?  Is there an option for the license to cover installing the same product on both Windows and Mac OS provided only one of them is run at a time? (e.g. when on the same physical machine).  Ideally at zero or negligible cost of course.  For example Avid Media Composer does have this flexibility.  While the uncertainty remains, I will not open the box (in case it turns out that I need to exchange it).

Here is what I have learnt so far (mainly from web-searching, unverified information):

Differences between the OS-Specific variants:

  • It appears that for CS5.5 Production Premium (at least), the Windows variant has slightly greater functionality.
  • However it remains to be seen what will be the case for CS6, when it becomes available.

Some options are:

  • Volume licensing.
    • Intended not only for businesses but also for individuals.  If the “volume”is for two licenses, they can be for each of the OS’s.
  • Crossgrade.
    • But as far as I can tell it’s intended only for one-off (or infrequent) crossgrades, requiring “destruction of the software” on the old machine each time.  Shame it isn’t simply happy with repeatable deactivation/reactivation on each machine / OS.


A “quick” go on the Adobe Chat-Help service, after a slightly lengthy exchange, resulted in just a negative.  I guess the question was a little too obscure for that level of help, because other information (listed below) indicates that some linds of options at least do exist.

Next I web-searched (Bing), discovering:

What options exist for running on either or both of Windows / Mac?

  • Adobe Tech-Guides (Installing etc.)
  • Activation / De-Activatio
  • Article: “How to Install or Run Adobe CS5.5 on Both Windows PC and Mac OS” of 12 August 2011

    • it’s relatively straightforward to install and activate the software on up to two computers of the same operating system type – in other words, either two Mac machines, or two Windows PC’s.  But in most cases, with the platform selection for Creative Suite and Acrobat products, it’s “either-or.” Either Apple or Microsoft.
    • if you want to change or swap platforms entirely, and move your tools from one o/s to the other, you can do that with an
      Adobe CS “crossgrade.”

    • if you want or need to have the applications available on both operating systems (Windows plus Mac OS) at the same time – and that is to buy (or upgrade to) an Adobe volume license. Despite the name, anybody can do it (not just businesses and even for just one copy), though it does offer discounts for larger purchases… and there are some additional advantages too.
    • Here is the relevant section from Adobe’s volume licensing policies page re Cross-platform licensing
      • Adobe Volume Licensing (AVL) customers receive product serial numbers for both Windows and Mac OS, as long as the product is available for both and the two platforms are the same version.
      • Program members can choose to use either platform, as long as the total number of licenses being used does not exceed the number purchase
    • From follow-up to the article:
      •  …you can’t be running the software on both Windows and Mac OS at the same time.
      • …if you buy both back-up discs…one Mac and one PC…because it’s initially a download, then you CAN install to both 1 Mac and 1 PC without having to deactivate and reactivate when going back and forth. As long as you’re not trying to use both at the same time…
    • Author follow-up questioned the need to purchase backup disks, since the software should be downloadable for both OS’s.

Next I asked the supplier from whom I had made the purchase.  They said they will call me back.

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