Adobe CS3 – Licensing for this product has stopped working


WTF Adobe. I just spent an entire day trying to fix a bizzare licensing issue with Adobe CS3 and it seems I am not alone.

I was just working along as usual, I had Photoshop and Dreamweaver open like I always do when all of a sudden I get a popup that says “Licensing for this product has stopped working. You cannot use this product at this time. You must repair the problem by uninstalling and then reinstalling this product or contacting your IT administrator or Adobe customer support for help.”

What the… I click the X and everything went away. When I tried to re-open Photoshop the same popup appears and the program will not open, nor will Dreamweaver or Flash. I freak out, this how I make my living. Next I’m Googleing like a bat out of hell trying to figure this anomoly out and there in the number one spot is Adobe with a solution page. They have this “License Recovery” exe and a whole page of “if that doesn’t work try this” … “or this” … “or this” etc… I tried every one of there solutions. I was opening up System folders and renaming them, changing FLEXnet settings and nothing worked.

This page at Adobe crashed Firefox every time as well. I’d get about 3 minutes before my machine would freeze. I’d do the old three finger salute, cntrl-alt-delete, nix Firefox and everything was OK. I had to do this about seven times before I got through all the “This did not help” comments. Finally near the bottom of the page a comment gave me the idea that finally worked out.

The enlightened one, iBookmaster, inserted the installer disk and unchecked all the applications. This causes the installer to repair/install shared applications such as the copy protection files. This worked for me as well and finally, 5 or 6 hours later (minus lunch and a swim) I could open Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver again. Here is the Adobe page that crashes Firfox after 3 minutes…

This got me thinking, does Adobe have any competition in the realm of image editing. I don’t think so. Photoshop is like the Bell Telephone of desktop image editing software. is good for fixing photos and has layering but is definitely not as comprehensive as Photoshop. Does this worry me? Well, it didn’t until today. Still, Adobe is a rock solid company and I have NEVER had a problem with them. There stuff is a little pricey I suppose but I use the baJesus out of them and make the money back in less than a week.

40 Replies to “Adobe CS3 – Licensing for this product has stopped working”

  1. I am a new user of Adobe products. Can you walk me through how you fixed the L/C stopped working problem?

    You have mentioned:

    “The enlightened one, iBookmaster, inserted the installer disk and unchecked all the applications. This causes the installer to repair/install shared applications such as the copy protection files. This worked for me as well and finally, 5 or 6 hours later (minus lunch and a swim) I could open Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver again.”

    What exactly, I need to do to fix the problem? I appreciate your help. Thanks Meena

  2. Hi, great site! On several of your pages I get the error “Internet Explorer Cannot Open the Internet Site Operation Aborted” after the page displayed, and I thought it must be on my side, but some Googling suggests that it is the placement of some of the java ads. I guess you could tell me not to run IE, but I am a computer tech and I need to run what my customers are having problems with 😉

  3. Thank you Shae. It is without doubt the Typekit scripts (fancy fonts) which are hosted off site. I got the error in IE as well, page comes back on refresh.
    hmmmm, not cool.

  4. OK.. Finally I was able to install the product with my husband’s help. Wow, over 15 hours.. Had to remove all the instances of Adobe like someone has mentioned.. Registry etc. Thanks for trying to help me out. Meena

  5. Hi, I just wanted to update my experience. The repair install did not work for me, nor did deleting the flex directory. I ended up uninstalling and scrubbing it with the Adobe uninstall app (twice) then running CCleaner and removing all the registry entries STILL there after all that. Then reinstalling. If you just bite the bullet and do this, you are looking at about an hour to uninstall, an hour to reinstall, and however long it takes to run the cleaners in between. It’s just a slow process even on a fast computer. Make sure Norton, etc. is disabled during this saga.
    Anyway, running great now! Thanks for the post 🙂

  6. This wonderful Adobe/FlexNet license problem has just happened to me for the 4th time. I’ve tried every fix I can find on as many of the forums/websites that I can find. Nothing works except for uninstalling & reinstalling the full suite or programs. (I have CS3 Master edition) It’s more frustrating than I can describe, not only does it take a full day of productivity away from me when I have to uninstall/reinstall but the error happened this time while I was with a client. I mirror everyone else’s frustruations. This suite is far to expensive to continue causing this problem. If anyone finds yet another solution to try, I would be more than happy to try that the next time this fails…at the rate I’ve been going, I expect that to be before the end of the year. Good luck everyone. I hope this doesn’t keep happening to you, like it has to me.

  7. My suggestion is to be VERY CAREFUL installing their UPDATES. I don’t think they are testing them out before deploying these updates. One more thing, the solutions they are publishing, some of them are scripts which they are not explaining anything about. How do we know what these scrip is actually doing on our computer files??? Well, hope for the best!!

  8. I agree, Meena. I have turned off the updater. I have not installed any updates yet, but I think it is a good idea to do it manually and make sure others are not having problems with any particular update. In trying to deter pirates they may be driving their paying customers to other software (as if there is any other software as good as theirs, but I’m sure I will be checking before my next upgrade.) Also beware of Adobe Reader updates… mine happened after an Adober Reader update. I have not reinstalled the Reader, which was on the computer at purchase time; I now just have Adobe Acrobat Professional installed.

  9. Norman,

    You are right. In my case also, right after Adobe Reader update, L/C issue started!! Anyway, in my own way I have escalated the issue to Adobe. I am also thinking of printing out bolgs which are full of their poor customer services and complains from many customers and sending to their executives via FedEx. It is not going to take too much.. I am so frustrated with this problems, that next time that is exactly what I will do. Thanks for your post and help.

  10. Very strange! I had the same problem. I cleared Temp Folder and Temporary Internet Folder and it worked!!!

  11. – Deleted the HD/Library/Preferences/FLEXnet Publisher folder
    – Ran the CS3 installer with all items unchecked
    That worked after a restart.

  12. One month since my last license failure & it happens again. I’m on the phone with customer service but they so far have very little helpful information so far. Wish me luck. I will be writing the CEO a letter after I have done what customer service suggests. Then, I’ll be filing a report with the BBB. I just don’t understand why they don’t stand by their customers and fix this problem.

  13. Sonja, did you do the Adobe updates again? I have been afraid to do them for fear I will have more downtime. So far so good… If you didn’t do them since your last reinstall, though, that would mean that’s not the problem. My theory is that it is a rogue update that they need to fix. My reinstall was the 22nd… a little over a month.

  14. I had read one of the posts that theorized the Adobe Updater was a cause of the failure. So, I turned off the Automatic Update right away. So, at least in my case, not doing the updates had no impact on preventing the failure.

  15. Well, What do you know? Adobe CS3 stopped working again!!! No updates and out of blue – stopped working.. Is this product’s reliability in question??????

  16. Hi Meena & everyone else with CS3 headaches. Make sure you call Customer Service & get your problems documented by Adobe. I’ve heard that the company may be working on something to help people with problems. So, make sure they have your name in their systems to (1)document the high concentration of users affected & (2)be a documented sufferer when they put out a solution.

  17. Thanks Sonja. I will call them. Anyway, this time I un-installed everything and re-installed it .. But came back with error after 5 hours of work!!! Thanks for the support everyone is providing here.

    Regards, Meena

  18. For the fourth time, it happens to me. I fixed it doing the following: (1) uninstalling CS3, Adobe Acrobat, Flash player (2) deleting any Adobe folders left, (3) deleting the FlexNet and Macrovision Shared folders. (4) Run Spybot and fixing any problem (5) Installing python. exe (For some reason, when CS3 crashes, it messed up python; I found out about it, when I try to follow Adobe instructions, at one point, it would tell me that the system could not find pythom23.dll nor python25.dll) (6) Install CS3.
    Does anyone have an idea why it keeps happening? It seems to me that something remains on my system which makes the CS3 suite crashes every month around the same day.
    May 14,
    April 15,
    June 9,
    July 8.

  19. That’s horrible Eva, glad you got it working again though. It happened twice to me but I’ve never heard of it happening FOUR times to anyone, let alone on a monthly basis.
    I have yet to hear any type of explanation from Adobe or otherwise. Thanks for posting your solution.

  20. I had the exact same problem, which I’ve hopefully just solved.
    I deleted acrobat 8.0 professional, which I’m not sure was part of the solution or not, but was crashing anyway.
    Also deleted Version Cue, again probably not part of the solution.
    I had (from new install) abobe stock photos which needs to be deleted, it’s no longer a valid piece of software.

    So to the cure, first of all I downloaded and ran the adobe licencing repair tool from

    Then I had to deactivate my CS3 on my old laptop before I could reactivate it on the new one. Opening any of the CS3 software, go to help, deactivate.

    Hope it helps someone 🙂

    Cheers, and happy web building

  21. I’ve never heard of this problem, now you have me worried that my Adobe Acrobat will randomly do the same thing! I hope you got this fixed without too much trouble.

  22. solution from “Philippe” worked for me after trying everything else.

    Renamed \Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Adobe PCD\cache\cache.db
    restarted photoshop, entered serial number

    Just fixed a moment ago so can’t comment on this being a permanent fix

  23. Hi… Please help.. 🙂
    I’ve uninstalled The Adobe CS3 Design Premium (pirated) except Flash CS3 Professional in Windows XP Professional. Now I wanted to install a licensed CS3 Standard which has Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator and Acrobat 8.
    On installation a window states:
    ” Installation cannot continue until the following applications are closed”
    • Adobe Updater
    Q 1. How do I find and close the updater?
    Q 2. How will the updater be enabled/activated?

    Please let me know the process step by step!

  24. @Philippe Says:

    February 17th, 2010 at 6:46 am
    This error was solved for me 32but/vista by renamed the file \Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Adobe PCD\cache\cache.db – no reinstalling nor patched – version CS3. Found the solusion here : february 11 2010 input@

    Please excuse my ignorance but what is the new name of the RENAMED file? I know this might seem a bit dull but am I correct in thinking that the data base file is the one that has to be renamed?

    Thanks in advance.


  25. It’s been a while and I upgraded to CS5 long ago but I believe it doesn’t matter what you rename it. Photoshop thinks it is gone and creates another.

  26. I’ve tried this and it hasn’t fixed the problem for me 🙁 Anyone got any other ideas on how we can resolve this licensing bug on startup? Thanks

  27. tried all none could fix (except reinstalling), so i looked around and found the copying adobeupdate.dll file again into photoshop folder (c:\program files\adobe..) fixed it…

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