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My computer's on the fritz and in preparation of the thing going into the basement, I need to grab all the old software from it. In this case, namely the copy of CS5 on it.

I hear of a deactivation process (go into Help->Deactivate from any CS software) where it would free up a claim card of sorts to use the CS on the new computer when I get one.

When I go into the deactivator tool, there are two buttons: Suspend Activation and Deactivate Permanently. What's the difference?

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without looking it up, how about just assuming that suspend will disable the software without removing any serial numbers, and deactivate premanently probably removes the serial from that machine permanently. With the first option allowing you to temporarily use it on an other computer without having to re-activate when you are done? – ufotds Jan 27 '11 at 18:09
Don't you love how DRM complicates things? ;) – Jakub Jan 27 '11 at 18:57
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Adobe's activation servers keep track on how many active activations a serial number has; so both need an internet connection.

Suspend Activation Deactivates the software but won't lose your serial number. It is useful if you want to temporarily use a copy of your license on an another machine. (Note that you could use the 30-day trial option too, if you need the software only for a short period of time and haven't used the trial period yet — but this isn't your case.) You could later rather easily reactivate the software again.

Deactive Permanently Deactivates the software and deletes the serial number from your disk. It is useful if you're planning to

If you wish to reactivate the software later on that computer, you'd have to enter the serial number again.

*) I don't know for sure if permanent deactivation is required prior to CS5 reinstallation on the same machine, but that's what I would do just in case.

In your situation, permanent deactivation is the way to go.

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Further question: is there any risk then, in Suspending Activation and then nuking the OS, reinstalling, and installing the same copy of CS5? – digitxp Jan 27 '11 at 23:55
If on the same hardware, maybe; if on different hardware, most probably. The risk you're taking is time loss, since problems with activation can be dealt with the customer service. – koiyu Jan 28 '11 at 1:12

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