Photoshop CS2 Trial SMART installer - Can't outsmart it!

Discussion in 'Photoshop' started by JollyRoger123, Jul 28, 2005.

  1. Hey all,

    I thought I'd start this topic since I couldn't find a solution
    currently available on the web.

    I own adobe design collection (containing photoshop 7). I wanted to try
    out the creative suite for myself. I ended up doing a lot of work in
    InDesign CS2 and photoshop CS2. I then went on vacation for two weeks,
    came back, found my trial had ended, and was unable to open up my
    important files in my older adobe software. I thought all that I had to
    do was whipe out my drive and then reinstall the trials so that I could
    open my work and make my necessary changes. Not so easy!

    Yes, I should just pay to upgrade my software. It's the most logical
    solution to my problem. Well, I'm out of work and raking in scratch at
    the moment so I'm too frustrated to take the route just yet!

    My idea was to whipe out windows every 30 days and reinstal all of my
    trials until I can afford CS2. But to my amazement, after reinsatlling
    photoshop CS2, it was somehow able to see its past expired trial and
    forced me to quit upon an attempt to get it running.

    How did it know my 30 days were up as it existed in my past
    installation of windows XP???

    Was it sending a fingerprint of my hardware configuration over the net
    to adobe's server and comparing it to my past configuration?

    Did it embed some code deep in a designated sector of my harddrive?

    Did it embed code in the installation files so that future
    installations would have evidence of past use?

    I'm far from a computer genious and I know nothing of the sophisticated
    anti-hacking schemes that are written into software these days to
    thwart would-be crackers from breaking their protection. I did attempt
    to bypass all of the above senarios that could account for their clever
    protection and was unable to bypass the trial experation. Here's what I

    *I resinstalled Windows XP SP1 after doing a long format on C:/
    *I did NOT install any of my drivers (audio, video, LAN)
    *The internet was not enabled
    *My D:/ drive was disconnected in the case code was embedded there.
    *I installed photoshop cs2 trial from a DVD-R freshly downloaded from
    the web in the case that code was embedded in install files in the past

    I did all these things and still PS-CS2 **KNEW** that I had used it in
    the past on a previous OS and that my 30 days were up. HOW? Fresh new
    hard drive, no ability to access the magic portal of the world wide
    web, fresh install files, different hardware configuration. I'm
    JollyRoger123, Jul 28, 2005
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  2. JollyRoger123

    Norm Dresner Guest

    Magic! It's just magic. Get used to it.


    Norm Dresner, Jul 28, 2005
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  3. JollyRoger123

    KatWoman Guest

    do you have a friend with CS2 or a nearby Kinko's or similar, maybe they can
    open the files and save them in an older format for you?
    In CS there was an option to save in the newer format (not shared by older
    Hindsight is 20/20
    poor you

    Does this mean files I create in CS2 will not be able to be opened by people
    with older versions??
    As everyone upgrades on different schedules it sure makes it inconvenient.
    KatWoman, Jul 28, 2005
  4. JollyRoger123

    Caitlin Guest

    Maybe the trial software is time limited as well, have you downloaded a new
    trial version?
    Caitlin, Jul 29, 2005
  5. JollyRoger123

    Rich Guest

    the only way to 'fool' it is to delete the partition on your hard drive,
    create the partition again and the format it. You'll be able to get away
    with doing this every 30 days then - cheepskate :)

    Cs2 and CS both have a checkbox in preferences that say 'maximise
    compatibility' - check this if you want to be able to load your images in
    previous versions
    Rich, Jul 29, 2005
  6. Hey Rich,

    Well I do thank you for a working solution! I didn't think reseting the
    partition like that would be the solution after the already extensive
    lengths I took earlier, but now that you've some light it does make
    perfect sense that the the installer compared both installations by the
    partition it was on.

    And yeah, it's a "cheepstake" manuever, but I'm a graphic designer, out
    of work for the last 3 months, still in the process of working on a
    300+ hour self-promotion campaign (portfolio, etc). I'm newly wed to my
    wife and we were forced to move into my IN-LAWS until we can afford the
    costs of living on our own again, so Adobe is just going to have to
    wait until my wallet gains a little more weight after this work

    Thanks also for the backwards compatability tip! That's the real help
    clincher! After I follow your advice and have my foles openable in PS7,
    I'll drop CS2 and work with my beloved, ol' adobe design collection.

    JollyRoger123, Jul 29, 2005
  7. Ok then...

    Just to englighten those who may be curious, and to you Rich, I did
    what you said, and I deleted the partition, formatted, and did a
    re-instal of PS CS2 trial.

    Loaded the program with much anticipation, and BOOM! "Your trial period
    of 30 days have expired" (or something to that effect)

    HOWWWWWW? My lord! Do I need to buy a new computer and keep my current
    system outside a 5 mile radius the case that the installation has extra
    sensory perception and it simply feels my old installation somewhere

    Arrrrrrrrrrr..... guh!
    JollyRoger123, Jul 29, 2005
  8. JollyRoger123

    Scruff Guest
    Scruff, Jul 29, 2005
  9. JollyRoger123

    KatWoman Guest

    Well is it isn't legal to use the trial after 30 days I guess but
    It is kind of sad that Adobe figured out how to outsmart the "legal users"
    of their stuff when you can get bootleg versions for around $30.00
    completely "cracked". No expirations, no activations, no re-install issues.
    KatWoman, Jul 29, 2005
  10. JollyRoger123

    Hecate Guest

    IIRC, and I'm willing to be corrected, the software writes the
    information to a protected part of the drive root. The only way to
    reinstall is on a new physical disk, which is also your C drive.


    Hecate - The Real One

    Fashion: Buying things you don't need, with money
    you don't have, to impress people you don't like...
    Hecate, Jul 29, 2005
  11. JollyRoger123

    Scruff Guest

    Or free from
    I don't recommend it but it's all there for free.
    Scruff, Jul 30, 2005
  12. JollyRoger123

    ~^Johnny^~ Guest

    Hash: SHA1

    That won't work. Furthermore, reinstalling Windows, to a
    different partition, or moving the partition where Windows is
    installed with a program like Partition magic, will hose the
    activation on a regular install.

    Some of the information is stored in the master boot record (MBR).
    Yo can wipe partitions, reformat and reinstall until you are blue in
    the face.

    Writing zeros to the drive (or at least zeroing the MBR)_MIGHT_ work.
    I haven't had to try it yet (knock on wood).

    Windows XP doesn't complain when a partition is moved, but CS does.
    This is why I think Adobe's activation scheme is ridiculous.
    It's a little too late for that now. :-O

    Of course, you can copy those PSD files to another disc before
    wiping your MBR. And you should. When the MBR is gone, so is the
    partition table, thus there goes all the data on that drive.

    All for a lousy 30 day trial. Feh.

    Version: PGP 7.1

    -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
    ~^Johnny^~, Jul 31, 2005
  13. JollyRoger123

    ~^Johnny^~ Guest

    Hash: SHA1

    You need to wipe the MBR. Adobe puts pointers in the MBR to a hash
    generated by the installer, which varies whenever the user farts
    crosswise. Should this happen, the reinstall fails to activate.

    See my previous post to this thread.

    Version: PGP 7.1

    -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
    ~^Johnny^~, Jul 31, 2005
  14. JollyRoger123

    Hunt Guest

    Let's assume that the OP was telling it "like it is," and is really a pro, who
    is currently out of work, and is a legit Adobe user, who will one day part
    with his $ (or whatever) to upgrade.

    Then, it would seem that a low-level format of the disk, then fdisk, format,
    should re-write everything. Don't know what is required for SATA/ATA disks,
    but SCSI can be low-level re-formated from the BIOS on the controler card.
    Old, MSMs could be low-level re-formated via utility on a boot floppy.

    OTOH, I'd go into hock with the in-laws and just get the upgrade, as having to
    do a low-level re-format every 30 days would be more than I could handle.

    Heck, I balk at having to do a re-install on some of my plug-ins whenever I
    upgrade PS. Most are just copy to appropriate folder, but some require a re-
    install from CD, and re-entry of a 5000 digit S/N, which has to be found, if I
    forgot to write it to the CD case... I guess that just shows how blatantly
    lazy I am.

    Hunt, Jul 31, 2005
  15. JollyRoger123

    Hecate Guest

    I'd call it being economical with your time ;-)


    Hecate - The Real One

    Fashion: Buying things you don't need, with money
    you don't have, to impress people you don't like...
    Hecate, Jul 31, 2005
  16. JollyRoger123

    Scruff Guest

    How on God's earth is all that worth the effort?

    Scruff, Aug 1, 2005
  17. JollyRoger123

    Hunt Guest


    It is not, at least in my case. I'd take out a second mortgage, before I'd do
    this once! Actually, that was my point. I only commented on a possible way,
    should one be so inclined, which I am definitely not. However, the one aspect
    that I did not have experience with, was the low-level formating of SATA/ATA,
    but assume that OnTrack, or others, have the utilities, maybe on bootable
    CD's. As all my HDDs have been SCSI-x for the last few decades, I have not
    looked into SATA/ATA.

    Hunt, Aug 1, 2005
  18. JollyRoger123

    Hecate Guest

    You should, it'll save you a lot of money :)


    Hecate - The Real One

    Fashion: Buying things you don't need, with money
    you don't have, to impress people you don't like...
    Hecate, Aug 2, 2005
  19. JollyRoger123

    Hunt Guest

    Matter-of-fact, I'm starting to plan my next workstation, and will probably go
    with 4 SATA 400GB's in a RAID-0 array. I still may use my M-320 SCSI (non-
    RAID) disks and controller for image library. Also, that way I can power up
    all of my legacy SCSI peripherals, though there seem to be fewer of those, as
    USB/Firewire stuff just keeps replacing it. But, you never know when you'll
    need to read a SyQuest 44MB disk, for that one "special" client... :-}


    PS with SATA/ATA, what utility would you use to low-level format? Going back
    into the original post, on that one.
    Hunt, Aug 2, 2005
  20. JollyRoger123

    Stephan Guest

    You said you install the trial version from a CD.
    What if the download carries a time stamp? Have you tried a newer download?
    Sounds like a logical explanation to me. The other one would be the
    witting of a file on a protected sector of your drive. I am not sure how
    it works but I do have a drive with a very old GoBack file resistant to
    any level of formating.

    Stephan, Aug 2, 2005
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