Troubleshoot activation limit reached or sign-in failed errors for non-subscription products

Learn how to troubleshoot activation limit reached or sign-in failed errors for non-subscription products such as Adobe Creative Suite 6.


If you get an "Activation limit reached" or similar error in a Creative Cloud app, see Creative Cloud "Activation limit reached" or "Sign in failed" error for solutions.

To resolve other activation errors in Creative Cloud, see Troubleshoot Creative Cloud activation errors.


When you launch an Adobe app, you get an error stating that sign-in failed, there is an activation limit, or the maximum number of activations has been exceeded. These errors occur if you try to use the app on too many computers. To resolve the error, follow the steps in the subsequent sections.

Creative Suite (CS5, CS6)

A single license for Adobe CS6 and earlier applications lets you install an app on two computers. However, you can use the application on only one computer at a time.

To install the application on a third computer, deactivate the application on the computer on which you no longer want to use the software. Then, activate it on the new computer.

  • Uninstalled your app without deactivating? Uninstalling the app from a computer does not necessarily deactivate its license. If you uninstalled your app and are getting a message that you've exceeded your activation limit, try reinstalling the app on the old computer. Then, follow the steps below to deactivate the app on the old computer and activate it on your new one.
  • Want to deactivate your application? Deactivation disconnects an application from a valid user license. Once deactivated, you can reactivate at any time, if you choose. You do not need to uninstall an application from your computer to deactivate it. Uninstalling an application does not necessarily deactivate its license.
  • Want to verify and troubleshoot license issues? The Adobe Licensing Website (LWS) provides account information for Adobe Buying Programs customers. Use the LWS to find serial numbers, track orders, view purchase histories, check upgrade entitlements and points, change or add account contacts and information, merge accounts, and download software.

Have a different issue? If you are having a different activation problem, see Activation and deactivation troubleshooting.


Subscription version

Non-subscription (stand-alone) version

If you have a stand-alone, non-subscription version of Acrobat, you can use the app on up to two computers. To use Acrobat on a third computer, simply sign out of Acrobat on one of the other computers.


You must be connected to the Internet for these steps to work.

  1. Connect to the Internet and launch the app on one of your other computers.

  2. Choose Help > Sign Out.

  3. Try activating the app on the new computer again.

  1. On the old computer, connect to the Internet, and then launch the app.

  2. Choose Help > Deactivate.

  3. On the new computer, connect to the Internet, and then launch the app.

  4. Choose Help > Activate. For more information on Activation, see Activate and deactivate products.

For legacy Adobe products


If you encounter an error while trying to reactivate or reinstall certain legacy Adobe apps, learn how you can succesfully reinstall or re-activate older Adobe apps.

Our aging activation servers for earlier versions of Acrobat and Creative Suite (CS) applications had to be retired. Without the activation servers, these applications display an activation or connection error when trying to verify a license. 

Affected applications include Creative Suite 2, 3, and 4, Audition 3, Acrobat 7, 8, and 9 (Standard and Professional), Acrobat X, Acrobat XI, and Acrobat 3D Version 8.


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