Error: "Unable to validate serial number" | CS6


When you launch or install a Creative Cloud or CS6 product, you receive the following error:

"We are unable to validate this serial number for <product name>.  Please contact Customer Support."


Note To Creative Cloud Members:
Creative Cloud does not use serial numbers, instead users sign in with their Adobe ID.

1. Obtain the serial number

Every Adobe Creative Suite product you purchase comes with a serial number. Use the serial number to claim ownership of your Adobe Creative Suite product. Here is where to find your serial number:

  • Retail DVD: The serial number is on the back of your DVD case.
  • Retail electronic download: The serial number is in the email receipt from the Adobe Store. The Adobe Store sends the receipt to the email address you used as your Adobe ID when you purchased the product. Retail customers can obtain their serial key through their account as well. During all Online Store download orders, the serial number is automatically registered to your account.
  • Registered serial numbers: If you have registered your serial number with an Adobe ID, this serial number is in your account under the Adobe ID.
  • Educational: Teachers and students can obtain their serial number from the Adobe Educational website.  For assistance obtaining your educational serial numbers, visit one of these sites: 
  • Volume Licensing: The serial number is on your Adobe Open Options/Adobe Volume Licensing license certificate. In some cases, it's necessary to contact your Adobe reseller or Information Technology department to obtain this information. The serial number is also listed in the Licensing website (LWS). If you misplace your certificate, you can log in to the account and obtain the serial number for your order. (Note: You have to be listed as a contact on the account ID number to view the serial numbers on the order.)
    Important: When you buy software through Adobe volume licensing, it's necessary to download it from the Licensing Website (LWS). You can also install the software using the CD or DVD that came with your volume licensing order. If your serial number doesn't work, you could be trying to use it to activate a retail or trial version of the product.
  • Retailer/Reseller (OEM): The original equipment manufacturer provides the serial number. OEM products are bundled with hardware or other software. (For example, you can sometimes buy a computer with an Adobe product already installed.) Contact the company that bundled the product.

2. Re-enter the serial number of the Creative Suite product that you are installing.

The title bar displays the name of the product being installed. The following information can help you enter the serial number correctly.

  • The installer is product-specific. A separate installer has been created for each Adobe Creative Suite product. For example, you cannot enter your Photoshop serial number to install another product in the suite.
  • The installer is platform-specific. The serial number for Windows does not work for Mac OS.
  • Serial numbers are numeric. Do not enter alphabetic characters.
  • Ignore the hyphens when you enter the serial number. (The installer and launch workflow accept serial numbers with hyphens if you enter them inadvertently.)
  • The installer works for only one platform (Mac OS, Windows), but works for all the following. (The installer works for software in all languages.)
    • All languages
    • Full or upgrade serial numbers
    • Retail, educational, volume license, or reseller (not bought directly from Adobe)
    • Trial version

3. (Launch) Reinstall the product with the serial number.

The product installer allows you to install as a trial or as a serialized product. If you are installing a trial version, specify the installation language when installing.

  • If your serial number is for a different language set than the installation language, you get this error message. 
  • The following language-specific software installs two language packs. Each line represents a new language group. You can serialize from either language in the pack. You don't get an invalid serial number error if you install in one language and serialize in the next.
    • en_US (Universal English)\en_GB (International English)
    • fr_FR (French)\fr_CA (French Canadian)
    • es_ES (Spanish)\es_MX (Latin American Spanish)

Reinstall the product and enter the serial number when prompted.


 Experiencing issues while activating or reinstalling older Adobe apps? Learn how to access or reinstall them.


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