Jan 082013

Adobe have kindly made Creative Suite 2 (CS2) available to download for free – you can download it at http://www.adobe.com/downloads/cs2_downloads/index.html – however, there are a couple of tricks to getting it to run successfully on Windows 7 64-bit

Step 1 Download the required files

Download the following files from the link above:


Step 2 Extract the files

Error when creating folder

Error message when trying to create folder

The Disk1, Disk2 and Disk3 files contain a compressed version of the files which originally came on CDs, the Disk1 file also contains the installer which will run automatically after extracting.

Run the CreativeSuiteCS2Disc2.exe, CreativeSuiteCS2Disc3.exe and CS_2.0_WWE_Extras_1.exe files and allow them to extract to their default locations. Do not run Disk 1 yet.

If you get an error “Unable to create the specified output folder!”, click ‘OK’ and retry – it should work the second time.

You now need to extract the files from CreativeSuiteCS2Disc1.exe, but cancel before the installer tries to install the applications.

Run CreativeSuiteCS2Disc1.exe and let it extract the files to C:\Creative Suite CS2\, but when the white ‘Welcome’ window appears, click ‘Cancel’ then ‘Quit’.

Step 3 Move the files to the required locations

After the files have extracted, you will find that Disk 2 has extracted to C:\Creative Suite\Adobe Creative Suite 2.0\

Disk1 and Disk3 have extracted to C:\Creative Suite CS2\

Extras has extracted to C:\CS_2.0_WWE_Extras_2

You must now move both folders from C:\Creative Suite\Adobe Creative Suite 2.0 to C:\Creative Suite CS2\Adobe Creative Suite 2.0\ – you can then delete C:\Creative Suite\

Check: C:\Creative Suite CS2\Adobe Creative Suite 2.0\ should now look like:

CS2 Install File list

The required installation files after extracting and moving them.

If you do not move these files, you will be prompted to “Insert Disc 2” during the install and it will fail.

Step 4 Check the installation path

When you run the installer in the next step, it will default to install in C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe but the installer does not like the space in the file name and will fail. If you choose another folder (e.g. C:\ProgramFiles\Adobe), Photoshop will not start successfully and will show an error “‘Your Adobe Photoshop user name, organisation, or serial number is missing or invalid. The application cannot continue and must now exit.”

Open a command window (Start button,  type CMD, press enter)

Type “CD \” to change to the root of your c: drive

Type “DIR /X” to see what the DOS name for your Program Files (x86) directory is. It is likely to be PROGRA~2 – Make a note of this, you need it in the next step.

CMD Window

The highlighted section is the part you need to take note of

Step 5 Run the installer

Navigate to C:\Creative Suite CS2\Adobe Creative Suite 2.0 and run Setup. This will run the installer which you cancelled in step 2.

Read and agree to the license, enter your name, company and the serial number which can be found on the download page.

When you are prompted for the install location, amend it to read c:\PROGRA~2\Adobe (where PROGRA~2 is the name you found in step 4) If the ‘Next’ button does not become active, press ‘Tab’ and it should become available.

Choose which components you want to install (probably ‘Entire suite’) and step through the rest of the wizard.

Register the software if you want to at the end, and check for updates.

Bonus: If you register, you will receive an email from Adobe which offers you a complimentary benefit – choose from:

Garamond Premier Pro
A new Adobe original typeface family, complete with optical sizes designed by Robert Slimbach.

2 issues of Photoshop® User
An award-winning, cutting-edge “how-to” magazine, packed with tutorials, cool tips and insider information.

2 issues of Layers® magazine
This magazine highlights hidden shortcuts and tutorials, with a more creative look into Adobe products.

Once the install completes, you should have a working CS2 installation! Try running Photoshop to confirm it starts correctly.

Let me know in the comments how you get on!

Update: Thanks to a couple of commenters spotting an error in step 3, I have uninstalled and reinstalled from scratch to make sure I get the steps all correct. Now with added screenshots!



Jul 282009

Often when you buy a new PC or laptop, you don’t get the operating system on CD in order to reinstall it if you hit any problems. Instead, they have a hidden partition on the hard drive which contains all the system software – if you need to restore the PC, you hit one of the function keys while the computer is booting and it takes you into a recovery program. If you wipe your hard drive, though, you can lose that partition and you’re left without an operating system.

If you bother reading the manual it’ll probably have instructions for creating recovery media – you really should do this as your first action, it’ll save lots of messing about later.

Suppose the worst has come to the worst, you’ve deleted the partition and haven’t burned any recovery disks.

vista_labelOn a PC which comes with Vista installed, you’ll find a blue, green and pink sticker on it somewhere with a 25 digit product key (XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX). If the sticker mentions the brand of your PC (Dell, Advent, HP etc) then you have an OEM version of the software. If it doesn’t you probably have the full retail version and likely have a boxed Vista installation disk somewhere.

In my case, I had an Advent OEM product key. I had a full retail version of Vista (Home Premium Upgrade version) which I had bought to upgrade an XP machine a while ago. The good thing is that the Vista installation disk actually contains all versions of the OS – the product key supplied with the disk is what determines which version of the software you can install. I tried installing Vista using the OEM product key from the bottom of my laptop, but it was rejected as not being a valid key!

After much trial and error, I found a solution. A non-profit organization called Neosmart have produced a Vista recovery disk which is intended to allow you to restore from backups if you don’t have an installation disk. It appears to be the installer from the official Vista disk repackaged. It doesn’t contain any of the files which would be required to install a complete working Vista system though.

Windows Vista 32-Bit (x86) Recovery Disc

Download the iso file from the link above (you may need to Google to find a working download link) – it’s about 120MB in size,  and burn it to a CD using your favourite CD creation software – I used the excellent and free InfraRecorder and boot your failed PC from this disk.

Vista Recovery Disk Welcome Screen

Vista Recovery Disk Welcome Screen

Choose your language and location and then take the install option. You will be prompted at this point for your product key. At this point, eject the recovery CD and insert your Full Retail disc. Enter the product key from the sticker on your PC (don’t use an illegal one – it probably won’t work and you’ll soon have black helicopters circling your house, and guilt is a terrible thing to live with anyway)

The product key should be happily accepted and the Operating System will install as normal. Once the OS has installed, follow the wizard and set up your Admin user etc.

Once you are at the desktop go to the start menu, right-click on ‘computer’ and choose properties. Scroll down to the Windows activation section and you should see something like ‘3 days until automatic activation. Activate now‘. If you have an internet connection try activating by clicking the link – in my case this did not work. If this happens to you, choose the ‘automated telephone line‘ activation method. This will involve calling a toll-free number and entering the 54(!) numbers from the activation wizard using your phone, then typing the 48(!) numbers read out to you on the phone – this will result in an activated, legal copy of Vista.

Vista Phone Activation

Vista Phone Activation

Now make an image of your freshly installed system so you don’t have to go through all this next time!
– I recommend Driveimage-XML

Please leave me a comment if you found this useful!