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July 21, 2014 1:35 PM   Subscribe

Is there any way to recoup the money I spent on Adobe products for Windows, now that I've switched to Mac?

Back in 2011 I purchased Adobe Design Standard 5 for my Windows computer (with an educational/student discount that put it at about $550, I think). Fast forward to 2014; I've just bought a iMac to replace my dying Windows computer, and I'm excited to jump back into my design work on my shiny new system.

However, after talking to the folks at Adobe on the phone, apparently I'm totally screwed: it sounds like I have to shell out another $500 bucks (again w/education discount) to purchase Adobe Design Standard CS6. The fact that I already purchased CS5 for Windows seems to be completely meaningless to them. It also appears that I can't officially transfer the license on an educationally licensed product, so selling it on Ebay looks like it's out of the question.

I'm not fond of the Creative Cloud, and I don't even need CS6; I just want my CS5 for Mac instead of Windows.
Am I really going to have to shell out $1000 for Adobe products in the span of just 3 years?
posted by brisquette to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
Install Windows inside a virtual machine on your Mac and install your Adobe purchase on that. Doesn't get you away from Windows but lets you continue to use the software.
posted by epo at 1:39 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

One option is to buy virtual machine software for the Mac and run your CS5 apps in a Windows VM. You might be able to run them in coherence mode to lessen the Windows->Mac transition. Not without its challenges, but it would save you $400.
posted by cnc at 1:40 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Short answer: yes.

Realistic answer, maybe.
"I'm not fond of Creative Cloud" is reasonable, but that licensing scheme is a lot easier to swallow than throwing another 5 bills at Adobe right now. With various discounts and intro pricing it really isn't bad. And if you use it, it is totally worth it.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:42 PM on July 21, 2014

Response by poster: I knew about the possibility of using the virtual Windows machine, but hadn't heard about "coherence mode." I'd be interested in hearing from anyone using that setup for Adobe design stuff.

If Creative Cloud would be $20 a month, forever, I might be lured into it, but I just can't deal with that $50 a month stuff and would rather put the money towards a one-time-purchase.
posted by brisquette at 1:48 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Coherence mode," which is a feature of Parallels and maybe other VM software, means that the Windows program appears "floating" in its own window, just like a native Mac program, rather than having a window of a Windows desktop with programs inside it.

It looks nice, but I can't picture this working well, performance-wise. Photoshop is a notorious resource hog, so you'd have to give almost all your Mac's RAM to your Windows instance. Even if you did that, I just don't think it would be very efficient.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:55 PM on July 21, 2014

You could run your old apps on a Windows VM - but that will require that you buy Parallels or VMware Fusion (~100 bucks) and also a windows license (~100 bucks).

Then the time to install, build the VM, and then the install/update apps. And now, you have two computers to do patches and updates and maintenance on - the second of which doesn't have such great performance to start with.

But, it will save you the cost of buying Adobe's products and may perform acceptably well that it is worth the cost and effort.

You also could look into alternatives for Adobe's stuff - the reason they keep doing this crap is because people keep buying their products.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:06 PM on July 21, 2014

If Creative Cloud would be $20 a month, forever, I might be lured into it

Okay then.
posted by phearlez at 2:31 PM on July 21, 2014

Phearlez, my impression is that the student discount of $20 a month is only for the first year.
posted by redsparkler at 2:52 PM on July 21, 2014

Yes, the $20 student discount expires after one year and the monthly rent increases to $30.
posted by Pudhoho at 3:04 PM on July 21, 2014

Sorry, my bad; I never looked past that because I am opposed to indefinite payments of any amount. However I would be somewhat surprised if Adobe resists the common "promotional price is indefinite if you're willing to call/threaten to cancel." But of course the cost of being wrong is $30 a month.
posted by phearlez at 3:41 PM on July 21, 2014

There are many valid reasons to resist Creative Cloud's subscription. On the other hand, you need to be aware that, in recent years, the Mac OS X platform moves faster than Windows, and backward compatibility is not as guaranteed. If Adobe does keep up to its end of the bargain, you will get regularly updated Creative Cloud apps that take advantage of platform transitions, such as PowerPC-to-Intel, sandboxing, AppNap, etc. (That's a big "if" though.)
posted by applesurf at 5:42 PM on July 21, 2014

I run CS 6 on Parallels. I am strolling with a pretty juiced Macbook Pro with 16GB of RAM and an SSD. Macappware occasionally runs deals on Parallels so you do not need to do retail. It is true that you will need a Windows OS install disk with license. It runs fine on the Windows side with no appreciable hit of performance but again, my hardware is probably different than yours so YMMV.
posted by jadepearl at 9:31 PM on July 21, 2014

VirtualBox is free if you don't want to pay for Parallels (although I think the student discount on Parallels is pretty good). OSX counts as an upgradeable product as far as Windows licensing is concerned, so if you can get a student discount on an upgrade version of Windows, you should be good to go.
posted by hades at 11:24 PM on July 21, 2014

If I were you, I'd avoid the performance overhead of virtualization (stuff like Parallels and VMWare eat up a lot of resources) and instead use Boot Camp to install windows directly to a partition on your hard disk. You can then boot into Windows whenever you need to. Windows running natively on the Mac performs a LOT better than any virtualization solution.

Don't sign up for the creative cloud - you own the software already, why pay monthly? In fact, if you'll permit a slight digression, "software-as-service" type stuff is very dangerous, especially for professionals. It means that if you don't have an internet connection (let's say it happens to be down for the day), you can't work.
posted by signsofrain at 10:33 AM on July 23, 2014

For what it is worth, Creative Cloud is not a "cloud" application in the sense that you run an application over the internet. The applications are installed and run from your local machine, and do not require an internet connection to operate (aside from once every 30 days or something as a license check). The "Cloud" name, in this case, is more about downloadingthe incremental updates and feature releases, and the integration with the (largely useless, in my experience) Adobe cloud storage.

Plenty of reasons to be critical of it, but that is not one.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:38 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fair enough dirtdirt, didn't do my research! However, paying monthly for... updates? When they used to be free? Or online storage? (When you can get gigs upon gigs from Google for free) and if the software deactivates itself without an internet connection, even if it's after X number of days... my advice not to use Creative Cloud is still, I think, valid.
posted by signsofrain at 4:37 PM on July 27, 2014

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