Managing serial numbers is a headache in almost every creative studio. If you have more than 3 designers on a network, someone has to take responsibility for keeping track of which serial numbers belong on which computers.

Creativetechs recommends that creative teams stop buying single-user copies of CS3. For the same cost, your studio can get a site license with a single serial number for your entire team. Here’s our tip from last year:

Transactional Licensing: Avoid serial number headaches with CS3!

But back to today’s tip: What if you are using a single-user copy of CS3, and you need to change which serial number is installed on a particular computer? It turns out Adobe makes changing the serial number easy as can be. No need to uninstall and reinstall software if you know where this “Erase my serial number” checkbox is located.

How to Reserialize CS3: Erase serial number option.

To remove you old CS3 serial number, simply use Adobe’s Deactivation feature.

Choose Help > Deactivation from any CS3 application.

In the deactivation window, click the checkbox that says “Erase my serial number from this computer after deactivation complete.”


Click the “Deactivate” button.

The next time you launch InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, or any of the other CS3 applications, you’ll be provided with an opportunity to enter your new serial number — or even start a new 30-day trial period.


Changing the serial number on CS3 is just that easy.

We hope this little tip saved some designers a few wasted hours spent removing and reinstalling software.

Source: This tip inspired by a recent install of 3 new Mac Pro design workstations for the in-house creative team at Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center, where this particular technique saved a lot of time and energy. For a related issue, check out our tip on how to Change Microsoft Office’s serial number.