Adobe May Be Offering a Free (and Legal) Download of Creative Suite 2


Here’s some potentially huge news from the photo-editing software industry today: Adobe may be giving away its older Creatie Suite 2 for free. This includes Photoshop CS2.

It may sound sketchy or like a mistake to you, but it’s found over on Adobe’s website on a page titled “CS2 Downloads.” It appears to be down at the moment (we’re getting a “Site Area Temporarily Unavailable” message), but that may be the result of hordes of people trying to snag the software at the same time.

When it was up, the page included individual download links for the entire suite and for the individual programs in the suite. You can download Photoshop by itself if you’d like.

Here’s what the download page looks/looked like (click to enlarge):


As you can see, each of the programs is being offered alongside a universal serial number that everyone can use. The entire suite’s serial number is:


Photoshop CS2’s serial numbers are:

1045-0410-5403-3188-5429-0639 (Mac)
1045-1412-5685-1654-6343-1431 (Win)

Hopefully the website comes back online shortly. If you’ve been looking to dip your toes into the world of Photoshop, this would be a great way to get started on the cheap. Keep your eye on the page throughout the day!

Adobe CS2 Downloads [Adobe via]

Update: It appears that the downloads and universal serial numbers are intended for customers who need to re-install (the CS2 activation server was killed of at the end of last year).

Update: Here’s an official statement by Adobe posted on January 7th:

Effective December 13, Adobe disabled the activation server for CS2 products and Acrobat 7 because of a technical glitch. These products were released over 7 years ago and do not run on many modern operating systems. But to ensure that any customers activating those old versions can continue to use their software, we issued a serial number directly to those customers. While this might be interpreted as Adobe giving away software for free, we did it to help our customers.

Thanks for sending in the tip, Eric!

  • imagiag

    with CS2 being PowerPC, and Apple not supporting Rosetta for a while now, wouldn’t this be useless for Mac users? :(

  • Eric

    Who would want 32-bit CS2?

  • Mike Ermilio

    Somebody who doesn’t have Photoshop and who wants to learn. Yes it’s the old version of the software, but learning the UI is easy, learning the skills to use the software well is hard. Adobe’s software is one of the most pirated software in the world. Rather than try and curb it, they can give away the older versions for free, which allows people to learn on their software. And when they upgrade or get a professional job they’ll buy the current version. This makes sense for them as the free alternatives to Photoshop are getting better with each release.

  • Joshua Tobias George Barrett

    Exciting news. As a student I was considering buying the latests Photoshop student edition. I may still do simply because of the terrific discount but i’m interested to see whether (if this comes through) it will cover all the sort of bases I want from my copy of photoshop.

  • John Reinert Nash

    My 12-year-old daughter would benefit greatly from having access to old versions of Creative Suite. …and it certainly would set her up to want to get the current versions when she needs them for school / work in the future.

  • TypicalPetaPixelUser

    I came here to complain about something that’s being given away for free.

  • AppleistheDevil

    apple is useless.., yes

  • arrrrrgh

    …when you can get fully working CS6 from tpb :D

  • AppleistheDevil

    please just shut up….

  • G

    OMG something that used to cost a ‘fortune’ may now be free.. it’s outrageous!

  • Duke Shin

    Huh, better check the Pirate Bay:

  • Antonio Carrasco

    this is interesting, but some issues may arise if you have a digital camera that is not supported by whatever version of camera raw works with CS2. Not sure…

  • Leonardo Abreu

    CS2 is just too old…

  • tiredofit123

    TPB? Oh, The Pirate Bay. Some of us prefer to be honest, and if this is for real it’s still a good deal for those of us on a budget. Only real issue is the lack of RAW support, but hey, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

  • MarvinB7

    I know quite a lot of ‘artsy’ people who simply don’t have the money to buy any version of Photoshop. They just like to tinker and do little stuff here and there. I know they will certainly flip out with joy knowing they can do lots of great stuff with CS2 for free. Great idea, Adobe!

  • AppleistheDevil

    or maybe you are just too du..
    it is useless to tell you that people made a living with it 6 years ago that are better at photo editing then you will ever be.

  • AppleistheDevil

    well you can use tiff or jpg… and for raw you can use the free DNG converter.

  • bill

    site seems to be back up

  • HappyHipster

    Vintage Photoshop? Hipsters rejoice!

  • Rob

    they are giving it away for free and still people have to complain about it

  • G

    Slickdeals has the direct links to all downloads (from adobe)

  • Ivan

    I would. I currently have CS (legal copy, just to mention). Although I do most of my processing in Lightroom nowadays (also a legal copy, since 1.0, thank you), jumping to Photoshop only to prepare images for final presentation, or soft proofing and printing. Technically, all doable with Photoshop 7 apart from 16-bit layers (in fact, the main reasons I upgraded to CS, so I can support workflow RAW->LR->PSD(16-bit)->CS->target output(8-bit)).

    Now, I sometimes need to push a JPEG or two through Lightroom from cameras with no RAW support, just to do a bit of noise reduction and lens corrections, not really what the best use for LR is. But with PS CS2 I won’t need to do that anymore in LR, since CS2 has all I need for JPEG processing. (Also, spot healing brush may come in handy for fashion/portrait photography, I just can’t get used to equivalent tool in LR.)

    As you can see, there are a few reasons some of use would consider CS2 quite useful, and I am looking forward to upgrading from CS.

  • Duhhhhh

    Forget Photoshop. How bout Indesign, Illustrator, and Premiere?

  • Dazam


  • AppleistheDevil

    if this was an error and adobe has pulled it…. they will be the biggest joke until april 1.

  • AppleistheDevil

    well genius…. what does SUITE mean?

  • Samuel

    I appreciate the amount of work and time and money goes into creating these programs but I refuse to feel bad for obtaining software I need through questionable routes. At some point I will be able to afford creative suite and i’ll buy it but until then anything free from adobe can only be good.

  • Samuel

    Complaining you cant use free software on your brand spanking new mac seems a little counter-intuitive.

  • Mansgame

    CS2 does more than what most people need, BUT I wish there was a way to use the new Adobe Camera raw for the new cameras on it. I suppose one CAN always get the free DNG converter…This is a great way to get kids hooked on photoshop though.

  • Roy

    How so?

  • Roy

    Defensive much? Before you resorted to a knee-jerk, ad hominem blurb about someone you most likely don’t know from Adam, did you consider that “too old” can mean any number of things? Like that it may no longer be supported by plugins that he tends to use?

  • Samuel

    I would consider the software you actually do need to use for your profession a more important purchase than buying a computer that is realistically vastly overpriced. Don’t get me wrong I love macs, I use one myself but lets face it, for half the price you could get a computer that had the same amount of power and then be able to afford photoshop.

  • Kyle Clements

    I could use RAW in Photoshop 7, how is it that CS2 does not have RAW support?

  • DarrenWard

    It’s an error but not on Adobe’s part. It’s for CS2 *owners* to reinstall it because the activation server has been shut down.

    From Adobe staff on the Adobe forums (no link because the comment would have to wait for moderation):
    “Special serial numbers that work with these downloads are included on the download page.
    However, please note that you are only legally entitled to download and install with that serial number if you already have a valid license to the product!
    – Dov”

  • Roy

    I’m not quite sure why you’re assuming that he’s a professional, or why he shouldn’t use free software even if he were.

    As for Apple’s pricing model, that’s a never-ending debate. For me personally, it’s a matter of synergy and Apple’s ecosystem which is just as much about the software (both OS and applications) as the hardware. I do believe though that compared to a theoretical equivalent offering, Apple’s hardware is not as overpriced as is often suggested. It’s just that most computers are not built to the same standard, and most people may not want them to be and pay a lower price because of that. More power to them. But you cannot compare prices if a competitor does not offer a product that is comparable on every level (components, materials, workmanship, usability details, design, etc.).

  • Simon Cooper

    Should I ‘acquire’ an aston martin until one day I can buy one?

  • Dave

    if someone would let you drive one for free, then why not?

  • AppleistheDevil

    that would be a bad joke…. and the cat is out of the bag.

    all websites reported this a free and legal version… :)

  • DarrenWard

    All the websites are wrong. Someone started posting wrong information and everyone else blindly copied it.

    Adobe can’t do anything about it though unless the software dials home and if the whole point of it is that the activation server is down then the software probably doesn’t dial home. It’s been so widely reported they’re probably going to have to honour it or risk a huge backlash.

  • Samuel

    i nearly added a bit for non professionals and of course they can use free software if they like, gimp is actually pretty damn good. But my point was they were complaining because they couldnt use this because they had too good a computer. That seems a bit … iffy.

    And you are of course right the mac pricing debate is a long and arduous one but my point does still stand that if someone is annoyed they cant afford photoshop and they dont have the required hardware to run the version adobe are giving away they could have probably bought a computer capable of running photoshop and then photoshop for the price of a mac.

  • Samuel

    If it was the only way for you to get to work then yeah probably.

  • JustPeachy1955

    Update: it seems that Adobe were not releasing free software after all. A message on the Adobe support forum indicates that the download page was meant for photographers who bought CS2, but needed to reactivate it. The download link has now been disabled

  • AppleistheDevil

    maybe you should remove the pictures with the serial????
    before you get you A$$ sued by adobe…..

  • Draden Sawkey

    So am I still aloud to use this?

  • E

    Pirated software is not a case of some letting you use it for free, they help you steal it.. kinda like someone giving you a copy of the Aston’s key so you can easily steal it (and let us not go into the debate about the difference of stealing bits and bytes vs something physical now).

  • G

    You’re basing your business on pirated software?! I guess you’re OK with customers not paying for your work as well then?

  • Darren Whitley

    It appears that my two Intel-based Macs won’t benefit from this at all.

  • E

    Intel Macs running Snow Leopard (or older) can run PPC applications, but as this was a cock up by Adobe you wouldn’t have legit license to run CS2 anyway (unless you bought it).

  • Mark N

    Downloaded and working great! Goes with Lightroom 4 just fine! Sweet!

  • De

    You need an updated version of adobe camera raw for newer cameras. Adobe only support the last versions of their applications for this.