Broke Your CD? Visit Adobe’s FTP Site Full Of Their Software

Justin Pot 17-01-2013

Have a license for an old Adobe product, but can’t find your disk? Not an issue. As long as you’ve got your serial number you’ve got a legal way to download and run the software you paid for, thanks to a not-so-secret Adobe FTP site containing every version of pretty much every program Adobe’s ever offered.


It will blow your mind, and possibly cause you to forgive your dog and/or child for chewing up your thousand-dollar Creative Suite disks.

Last week the entire Internet was whipped into a downloading frenzy because of a simple rumor: that Adobe was giving away it’s 2005-era Creative Suite 2 (CS2), no strings attached. It sounded too good to be true – the Creative Suite includes everything from Photoshop to InDesign to Acrobat, so even an out-of-date giveaway is an amazing offering.

Turns out, of course, that this was too good to be true: Adobe didn’t mean to give their software away, and were only trying to help users who purchased the Creative Suite back in 2005 keep using it. Adobe was about to shut down the registration servers, without which it would be impossible to install legal copies of CS2 on a new computer. Adobe’s solution: offer full versions of the software online, without the need for the activation servers.

The site is right here, if you’re interested.

adobe ftp site


Of course, you’re only supposed to use these downloads if you’ve got a legal copy of CS2, so don’t download this if you don’t. They’ll work, but don’t.

You can see why this might be confusing: there was basically a page on Adobe’s site where anyone could download a pre-cracked version of CS2, complete with a working serial. It’s like BitTorrent without the malware risks.

Does this make life easier for software pirates? Probably. But does doing things like this also make life easier for Adobe’s customers? Absolutely. Because of these free downloads legal users can continue to use their products even though Adobe’s turned off their activation servers. (Hopefully Blizzard’s Diablo 3, which requires the Internet to even start up Can Your Computer Run Diablo 3? Let's Find Out [MUO Gaming] Blizzard games are known for their cartoonish, high-color art style. By focusing on character and level design the company can make new 3D titles that are attractive but also relatively easy to run. Gamers sometimes... Read More , keeps working after Blizzard shuts down the servers because of a similar offering. LOL, JK, UR SKREWED).

Anyway, if you think helping customers in a way that might also help pirates is somehow uncharacteristic of Adobe, you’re wrong. The company goes a long way to provide customers with working versions of their software, even if the disks they bought it on are long broken or gone. If you’re paying thousands of dollars for software you should expect high quality customer service, and Adobe delivers – at least in this way.


Adobe’s Not-So-Secret FTP Server

A staggering amount of the software Adobe’s sold in the past can all be found on one FTP server, which you can explore any time. Don’t believe me? Here it is:

Copy the URL to your FTP client of choice (best free FTP clients for Windows The 3 Best Free FTP Clients for Windows FTP is a useful file sharing method and the go-to method for uploading files to a web host. Here are the best FTP clients you can grab for free. Read More , 8 free FTP clients for Mac 8 Free FTP Clients For Mac Read More ) or just use your browser if it supports FTP. You don’t even need a password.

You’ll find working versions of most of Adobe’s software. Believe it:


adobe ftp

You can’t actually use any of this software without a license: you’ll end up with only the trial version, and some software will simply cease to work at all until you activate. But everything is here, and I mean everything: the programs that make up the Creative Suite from Photoshop to Premiere to Illustrator. Every version of Adobe Reader, ever. Flash, Air, something called Serious Magic…just explore, you’ll find a lot.

It can be overwhelming in its completeness – dig long enough and you’ll find Palm Pilot versions of Acrobat Reader and references to something called Viewer95. There are folders on this server created a full two years before Google was even founded: 1996.

adobe ftp site


It’s not just an FTP server: it’s a museum of all things Adobe.

And that Adobe FTP site is there for you to explore, because Adobe wants to make life as easy as possible for its customers. Broke your CD, but have your serial number? No problem; you can download another copy.

Does this make life easier for software pirates? Again: probably. But does doing things like this make life easier for Abobe’s customers? Again: absolutely.

Many are saying that Adobe made a mistake last week, that they suddenly got all sorts of positive publicity for giving away a free version of CS2 and that they should have seized that moment and publicly given away their product. I’m not sure I agree with that, and even if this was a missed moment it’s not like Adobe is doing anything to lock down. Other than one statement on an Adobe forum the company hasn’t officially said much of anything, and the downloads of working CS2 versions are still out there.

It’s just one of the many things Adobe does to help its customers that may or may not also enable piracy – and as the Adobe FTP site full of awesome demonstrates, Adobe’s been doing just that for a long time.

Image Credit: by OtnaYdur via Shutterstock

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  1. louis ryder
    March 31, 2013 at 7:25 am

    its good not great as not many cd's are adobe

  2. Jignesh Solanki
    March 28, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Thanx for the info. Mainly other website not provides the same

  3. Rama moorthy
    February 10, 2013 at 7:20 am

    But some cs6 products and many cs products setup are not available .. only having Updates and Plugins....

    • Justin Pot
      February 10, 2013 at 11:14 pm

      All of CS6 is there, though you might need to do some digging. You can download a trial of the entire Creative Suite if you want.

      • Rama moorthy
        February 11, 2013 at 3:04 am

        Haha .! I am digging it for about 2 weeks and many cs6 products are not there and also many cs5 cs4 cs3 cs2 products are also not there.. I have searched through FileZilla remote file search .. it took 4 hours(slow internet) hours to complete and zero results ..! if you have time can you please show the link for Adobe After Effects CS6 .. I dont need download from adobe site, because I want to download it to my server using SSH .. I can download it only from ftp ..!

  4. Choon Khai
    January 26, 2013 at 4:25 am

    I love this! It's good to know that the Adobe software I bought past few years for work, can be downloaded. Sometimes I'm a little unwilling to buy newer version because of the hefty price, so I remain using my old one until it's unreliable for my workplace.

  5. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    January 19, 2013 at 3:32 am

    This makes a pretty solid customer service. How many times we've heard that we need to buy another copy when our disc is broken/stolen/missing?

  6. kadek pranata surya
    January 18, 2013 at 4:23 am

    wow it's really freee.. thank youuu...

  7. Richard Steven Hack
    January 18, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Given that older versions of Adobe products are mostly crap - and in fact newer versions aren't all that wonderful in terms of reliability - it's a toss up how "wonderful" this is.

    Since they probably aren't making much, if any, money off this old stuff, they might as well give it away for free - except it would probably expose how many people really do NOT need all the "features" software companies cram into their products in order to get you to "upgrade", i.e. sell you the same thing all over again.

    It's like the old "piracy" arguments about whether a pirate would have bought the thing in the first place (usually not), therefore it doesn't matter whether it's been "pirated". It ends up boiling down to "we don't want you to have anything free whether it costs us anything or not."

    So Adobe is letting people download software that can't be used without a license anyway. Uh, is that somehow different from what most "shareware" companies do anyway?

    Not to mention that a number of companies actually DO let you use old obsolete software even WITHOUT a license! The only thing amazing about this story is that it's Adobe even allowing you to download it...

    • Choon Khai
      January 26, 2013 at 4:20 am

      Of course.. It's meant for their customers, not those who have no license. If I bought CS3 last few years, I would still download it and use it, since it's the paid copy which can be used in my workplace.

  8. Drew Bookout
    January 18, 2013 at 12:49 am

    this is awesome!!!!!! thank you Adobe, now if only other companies would get on board. I've had this issue with a bunch of pieces of software especially microsoft products, and when you call them they just try and get you to buy a new version for it. which then leads to me using torrent sites just to try to get a copy of the disk (for actual legal reasons) which turns out to be a HUGE pain in the....well you know. So once again thank you Adobe for hosting a useful FTP and thanks Make Use Of for actually letting me know it exists.

  9. Scott Macmillan
    January 17, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    I always liked CS2 and really don't have any real need for all of the advanced features they have added to the newer versions.A smart move by Adobe and a happy user.

  10. John Mack
    January 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Kinda crap how it's actually believable to release the chackles off an outdated product in need of Rosetta (which is not in Lion and Mountain Lion) or special tweaking in Windows versions newer than XP.

  11. Mihovil Pletikos
    January 17, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    great :)

  12. Anonymous
    January 17, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    From a marketing standpoint, this is a pretty shrewd move. Even if you only use the trial versions, its a smorgasbord of products one may not normally consider trying. Most major manufacturers (Adobe included) provide deep-deep discounted 'academic' versions of the latest products for those who qualify; this allows everyone else to get a taste, even if they are older (and obsolete).

  13. Matheus Pratta
    January 17, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    My opinion about last week's release of CS2: it's already a sorta old version (2005), so it won't have some of features from more recent versions, like improved performance or hardware acceleration, etc... Probably will be matching somewhere near GIMP or so...
    If the person wants one advanced feature the person may get the most recent version.

    This can create some good thing for Adobe, since people will know better their products, etc. Piracy already existed before they releasing it freely, so I don't think it's a big chance related to this...

  14. Anonymous
    January 17, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Thanks for this awesome article...