Adobe CS6 (Creative Cloud): Activation/Deactivation/Migration: Problems & Solutions

I get the main gist of Adobe’s CS6 Cloud concept, which is not as flexible as the Kindle model, but I am nevertheless slightly “cloudy” or at least hazy over practical details like how to seamlessly transfer from one machine to another, and I have concerns such as what would happen if my main machine became unavailable, for example due to loss or damage/corruption.  Or what would happen if I forget to exit or deactivate (whatever) on one machine (e.g. at a work location) then would it still be possible to work on another machine (e.g. at home or remote location)?  I am also concerned whether there is any potential for serious hiccups and delays to a project in progress, resulting from any unknown (to me) intricacies of Adobe’s license control system.  So I set forth (on the web) to find out:

My Summary:
(The following points are based on my own interpretation of Adobe advice e.g. at
I take no responsibility for their correctness, especially since I started from a position of such uncertainty.  However I hope they are helpful).

  • There are two stages:
    • Installation:
      • Can Install only to a maximum of two machines
      • These can be any mixture of Windows and Mac.
      • Could install to a third machine only after (deactivating if active and) uninstalling from either of the existing two machines.
        • (What an un-cloud-like nuisance, wasting time on this, together with worries over any possible loss of plugins, presets, preferences etc.)
    • Activation:
      • Activate/Deactivate: Menu:[Help] – in any of the CS6 applications.
      • Can Activate only one of these (two) “CS6-carrying” machines at a time.
      • Not as flexible as Apple’s FCP7 used to be, where the only condition was essentially that both instances could not be running at the same time.
  • Some potential problems, avoidance and solutions:
    • Virtual machine: Running CS5 software on a virtual machine can increase the activation count.   Solution: Start the software within the virtual machine then Menu:[Help > Deactivate].
    • Computer Modification: Changing (e.g. upgrading) a computer’s configuration (e.g. hardware, hard drive, or operating system).  Have your serial number handy, and click the [Chat Now] button on the Adobe webpage to talk with a live agent.
    • Locate your serial number:
      • Go to
      • Click Sign in, in the upper-right corner.
        • For Adobe ID, enter your email address. This email address is the address you used originally to create your Adobe ID and download or register your product.
        • If you don’t remember your password, click [Trouble signing in?] below the [Sign In] button.
      • From the Welcome menu in the upper right, choose [My products and services].
        • A list of your registered or downloaded products appears.
      • Click the triangle in the left column adjacent to the product name.
        • Your serial number appears below the product name.
    • Activation Error-Code: If your activation attempt fails with an error code number (for example 93:-12 or 93:-14), look up the code in Activation error codes:
    • Computer Inaccessible: Can’t access the previous computer on which you installed the software? Click the [Chat Now] button (at to talk with a live agent. Be sure to have any purchase-related information ready.
    • Failed to Deactivate before Unuinstalling: Uninstalled your software without first deactivating it?  Reinstall the software (presumably any one application) and then in that application do Menu:[Help > Deactivate].
    • Forgot to Exit the application on a works machine?  Tough (I guess), or maybe ask really nicely (and hope)?  A risky situation to be steered clear of…


  • The basic idea:
      • Creative Cloud members can activate their CC applications by using the Sign In or Sign Out commands from the Help menu of any CC application.  When you install your Creative Cloud application, you are prompted to sign in with your Adobe ID (usually your email address) and password. Signing in verifies your Creative Cloud subscription and activates your Creative Cloud applications.
      • When you sign in to your Creative Cloud application, you can use your software on two computers—for example, at home and at the office.  To use your Creative Cloud application on a third computer, you must first sign out of it on one or more of the first two computers. Then, you can sign in to the application on another computer.
      • Signing out of one Creative Cloud application deactivates all Creative Cloud applications associated with your Adobe ID on that computer.
      • To Sign In or Out: Start your Creative Cloud application (any of them, presumably) and Menu:[Help] where you will find  [Activate] or [Deactivate], as appropriate.
  • From my previous post, prior to acquiring CS6 Cloud-version:
      • Adobe Creative Cloud – Expectations & Reality
      • It is possible to deactivate one of these computers and reactivate on another but if this happens “too frequently” then a call to Adobe’s support office is required.
        • You can install the apps available in Creative Cloud on your primary computer and one backup computer, as long as they are not running at the same time. You will have access to both the Mac OS and Windows versions, so if you have a Mac at home and a PC at work, for example, you can install your applications on both.
        • How would I get CC on the thrid machine in that scenario?  Can CC activate and deactivate on the fly?   it can but when you install on the third machine it will request that you de-activate on the other two computers.  You can then reactivate on whichever of the previous two computers you wish to use Creative Cloud on it.
        • The only use case where you may need to contact our support team to allow additional activations is if you are actively trying to use the software on 3 different computers in a short amount of time.  In addition this would only occur if you were trying to reactivate all 3 computers.
        • … there is not currently a way to manage your activations.
        • … you can have both computers turned on and connected (to the internet) at the same time.  As long as you are only using the applications on one computer at a time it is not a violation of the EULA.
        • If you plan on using ID at home, it can’t be active at work. Nor any other app. Makes sense. Otherwise, we would be “lending” our sw to others.
  • ???

Comments are closed.