Program Transfer/Licensing Question
March 8, 2009 8:53 PM   Subscribe

Can I transfer Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign to a new computer without the CDs?

A friend sold me a computer with these programs installed awhile ago. Unfortunately, the processor is not suitable to run these programs (it is a 1.5GHz Celeron, and I need at least 2GHz). I don't have the CD's or any license information. I want to buy a new computer and transfer these programs to it, but I am worried that it will prompt me for the license codes. What can I do to make this transfer successful?
posted by jaseaco to Technology (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As far as I know, it's impossible to do that legally. Why not see if you can upgrade your processor (and ram)?
posted by Phire at 9:26 PM on March 8, 2009

Sadly the short answer is no.

When programs (except for old DOS and 16-bit programs) are installed, they don't just copy all of the program files rom the CD. They also make many entries into databases on your computer (such as the registry) and place files into the Windows system directories that it uses to run your program along with the program files themselves.

While you could copy the files from your old computer into the new computer, when you went to run Photoshop you'd receive an error message along the lines of "unable to locate photoshop.dll" or some other such fie.
posted by Man_in_staysis at 9:27 PM on March 8, 2009

I am willing to upgrade my laptop's processor, but how do I do this and still keep all the programs?
posted by jaseaco at 9:33 PM on March 8, 2009

I am willing to upgrade my laptop's processor, but how do I do this and still keep all the programs?

Egh. Do you qualify for any student pricing? (example 1,2,3) That will be soooo much easier and cheaper in the long run, in my semi-professional opinion.
posted by niles at 10:10 PM on March 8, 2009

(That is, you probably can't upgrade your laptop CPU, and even if you can, which, really, you probably can't, it'll be expensive/really difficult. It's not like swapping out desktop parts at all.)
posted by niles at 10:12 PM on March 8, 2009

If you don't have the CDs or the license information you essentially don't have the applications. If the person you bought the computer from transferred the licenses to you, you'd be okay. (Or the CD's but the licenses would be better, Adobe gets cranky about multiple installs on the same license.)

What you have is the equivalent of used paint. Once it's on the wall you can't move it in another room.
posted by Ookseer at 11:10 PM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

Yeah and upgrading a laptop is usually pretty impossible with any reasonable success. The processors are hard to get at, expensive (compared to normal ones) and in many cases the motherboard will be very limited in what it is able to drive anyway. 1.5GHz to 2GHz is probably a bit too far. The only things you can reasonably upgrade in laptops in RAM and Hard Drives (and sometimes things like WiFi cards).
posted by sycophant at 12:14 AM on March 9, 2009

Legally there is no way as legally you don't own the copies. If you don't particularly care about the legalities then there are plenty of places online where you can find out how to hack trial versions or places where you can download full versions. Not that I would recommend this approach as you could end up with a virus.

The only other alternative is to splash out big bucks for legit copies.
posted by twistedonion at 2:14 AM on March 9, 2009

Would it not be possible to make a disk image of your current hard drive, and then copy that onto a new laptop's hard drive? This could be completely wrong, I don't know.
posted by entropic at 7:00 AM on March 9, 2009

Assuming the CDs are merely missing, you could ask your friend to write you bill of sale for the machine, including that s/he transers all rights and interest in the licenses for X, Y, and Z programs to you. It would help immensely if you can get copies of his/her original bills of sale for those programs (to show that the friend had licenses to transfer). Then appeal to the companies for replacement disks. If the programs are older than a year or two, your versions may be unsupported and you may be looking at upgrade fees, but these are generally a whole lot less than a new license.
If the CDs aren't missing, just being kept by your friend, then it would seem s/he doesn't intend to give up the licenses, and your use would probably constitute an illegal copy, on whatever machine. Depends on the language in the EULAs, of course, but if you don't have the CDs, you probably don't have a copy of the EULAs, either.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 9:52 AM on March 9, 2009

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