Issue

When you start an Adobe Creative Suite 3 application, the application returns the error message, "The licensing subsystem has failed catastrophically. You must reinstall or call customer support." or "Licensing for this product has stopped working."

Reason

This issue has several possible causes:

  • You moved the application out of the folder to which it was installed.
  • You ran a restore on your system (Windows XP)
  • You don't have user access to a necessary component of the application due to permissions restrictions or configuration of the system or application
  • The FLEXnet Licensing Service has been stopped and is disabled (Windows)
  • You do not have permission to access the contents of the Flexnet Publisher folder (Mac OS)

Solution

Do one of the following solutions:

Solution 1: Verify that the executable for the application is located in the folder to which it was installed.

Try starting the application from the application file (Mac OS) or .exe file (Windows) located in the install folder.

By default the application will be installed to the following location:

  • Windows: C:\Program Files\Adobe\[application name]
  • Mac OS: Application folder/[application name]

Note: This error will appear if the user has accidentally copied the executable to the desktop rather than creating a shortcut.

Solution 2: Restart and enable the FLEXnet Licensing Service. (Windows Only)

  1. Open the Administrative Tools control panel.
  2. Double click "Services".
  3. Scroll down to FLEXnet Licensing Service on the list of service and double-click the service to open its properties.
  4. Change the Startup type to Manual.
  5. Click the Start button to start the service.
  6. Restart your Creative Suite 3 application.

Solution 3: Verify the user has permission to access the contents of the FLEXnet Publisher folder. (Mac OS only)

  1. Navigate to the FLEXnet Publisher folder located at ..\Library\Preferences\FLEXnet Publisher\FLEXnet.
  2. Right-click the FLEXnet folder and choose Get Info from the context menu.
  3. Verify the currently logged in user has Read & Write access to the FLEXnet folder and files it contains.

Note: You may have to repair your installation after setting permissions on the FLEXnet Publisher folder. Once you have set permissions on this folder, if you are still unable to launch your Adobe application use the Add or Remove utility located in ..Applications\Utilities\Adobe Installers\ to repair or reinstall your application. You may also have to re-enter your serial number when you first launch your application.

Solution 4: Repair disk permissions. (Mac OS only)

To repair disk permissions using the Disk Utility:

  1. Choose Go > Applications, open the Utilities folder, and then double-click Disk Utility.
  2. Select the volume on which you want to install Illustrator.
  3. Click the First Aid tab, and then click Repair Disk Permissions.

Solution 5: Try to install as a new user or an admin user. (Mac OS only)

To create a new user account in Mac OS10.4.x or later:

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click Accounts.
  3. Click the plus sign at the bottom-left corner.

    Note, if nothing happens click on the Lock symbol to authenticate your rights to make changes
  4. Type a user name and a password that you'll remember, such as  test.
  5. Click the Security tab, and then select Allow User To Administer This Computer (10.3.x), or just select Allow User to Administer This Computer (10.4.x). This makes the test user an administrator.
  6. Close the Accounts window.
  7. Choose Log Out from the Apple menu.

Solution 6: Remove the application/suite and reinstall.

To deactivate the component or Suite:

For all Creative Suite 3 applications: before you uninstall, you must deactivate the application. If you have an entire Suite installed, then you only need to deactivate from one application.

To deactivate the component or suite: From the CS3 application, Choose Help > Deactivate and follow the on screen instructions.

To uninstall the component or Suite on Windows:

  1. Close all applications currently running on your system, including other Adobe applications, MS Office applications, and browser windows.
  2. Run the uninstaller:
    1. Go to Start Menu > Control Panel.
    2. Double-click Programs And Features (Windows Vista) or Add Or Remove Programs (Windows XP).
    3. Select the CS3 program or suite, click Remove, and follow the on-screen instructions.
    4. Repeat for each CS3 program or suite that you wish to uninstall.
  3. Remove all files related to CS3 from your system:
    1. Go to Start Menu > My Computer.
    2. In the Address bar near the top of the window type one of the following:
      • On Windows Vista, type: \Users\<user_name>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe
      • On Windows XP, type: \Documents and Settings\<user_name>\Application Data\Adobe
    3. Delete files and folders with CS3 in the name.
    4. In the Address bar near the top of the window type one of the following:
      • On Windows Vista, type: \Users\<user_name>\AppData\Local\Adobe
      • On Windows XP, type: \Documents and Settings\<user_name>\Local Settings\Application Data\Adobe
    5. Delete files and folders with CS3 in the name.

To uninstall the component or Suite on Mac OS

Note: There is new uninstall functionality on Macintosh. Do NOT drag applications to the trash to uninstall.

  1. To safely uninstall on Mac OS X, double-click the product installer in Applications/Utilities/Adobe Installers.
  2. Authenticate as an administrator, then select Uninstall Components and follow the on-screen instructions.
  3. Repeat for each CS3 program or suite that you wish to uninstall.
  4. Delete all of your preferences files before installing the shipping version.
    1. Go to Users/<user_name>/Library/Preferences and delete files and folders with CS3 in the name.
    2. Go to Library/Application Support/Adobe, and delete files and folders with CS3 in the name.

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