Adobe: We Can't Activate Legacy Software, So Here's A Free Copy Of Dreamweaver

After an iBook-death forced her to migrate to another computer, Lisa found that she couldn’t activate her legally-purchased copy of Macromedia StudioMX 2004. Adobe insisted that the software was too old to be reactivated. Too old? It’s software! It took several calls and emails before Lisa found an employee who was able to help, not by activating her old software, but by sending her a free new copy of Dreamweaver CS4.

Lisa writes:

Recently, my ancient iBook died (again, but that’s another story). I’m not in a position to replace it right now, so I installed my equally ancient, but legally purchased and owned Macromedia StudioMX 2004 on my PC. Installation was fine, serial number checked out fine and then I tried online activation: fail. Since I wasn’t prescient enough to deactivate the software before my hard drive failed, my iBook was still the active computer. I called the activation hotline, figuring I wasn’t the first person who had a hard drive fail. Ann was pleasant but defaulted to “Too old. Can’t activate.” I cruised around a bit on the Adobe forums where a helpful Adobe employee named Dov told other old software owners that Adobe promised to honor all legacy software with activation, age notwithstanding. His advice was to call back and escalate. I got Ann again who escalated me to Daphne, who said “Company policy. Too old. Can’t activate.”

I’d love to be able to get a shiny new MacBook Pro and CS4, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. MX2004 worked just fine before my hard drive crashed and I wasn’t looking for product support, just activation. On an off chance, I emailed Dov who responded in less than an hour and said that while he couldn’t help me directly, he’d pass along my issue to customer care.

Another few hours later, I got a call on my cell phone from Bing who wanted to help. She tried to contact the old Macromedia activation server with no luck; she reserialized my software and we tried again. No dice. She had been so nice and had really tried to fix everything, so I was sad, but content. Then she knocked my socks off: she asked me to confirm the mailing address in my customer record and then told me she was shipping me a brand new copy of Dreamweaver CS4. Full retail, at no charge. We spoke at 7 pm Thursday night; I got the software in the mail today.

As soon as I can get my shiny new MacBook Pro, I’ll spring for the whole web design suite.

Great work, Adobe!

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.