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I created a new VM in VMware just the other day, with the latest Windows 10 Enterprise Trial.

Then I installed Adobe Creative Cloud, with a freshly registered account, and downloaded Photoshop inside of it. It immediately said "Trial expired", and when I try to run it, it just says that my trial has expired. Even though this is the first day that I have it installed in the VM, and the account was registered today.

This seems very strange to me. Is VMware secretly leaking some kind of data into the guest OS (the VM) from the host? Some sort of "unique identifier", which Adobe uses to "bust" me for wanting to try Photoshop for another few days to see what has changed since the last time I used it (like a year ago, with an old Adobe account)?

This all makes me feel very uneasy. I don't understand how it can be possible since it's a fresh VM, with a fresh Adobe account.

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Here's some potential things it could be.

  • They could be identifying your Drivers list with VM hardware. It's not hard to scan for virtual machine components, since VMWare has to label the drivers somehow. They could be reading the Drivers as a VM, then have code to say "That's a virtual machine, so it's somebody trying to install our stuff for free." Believe me, it's not hard to identify a VM.
  • They could be tracking it via your internet. Try a VPN'd virtual machine.
  • It could be an Adobe side glitch, in which case I wouldn't worry.
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  • IP tracking is unlikely. There are companies with hundreds of Photoshop users behind a single IP. – gronostaj May 9 at 12:39
  • It’s not like VMware products are trying to hide the fact that it’s a VM. There’s like a thousand signs, starting from the DMI information. But yes, they could just be blocking VMs outright. This is in fact a checkbox in many licensing systems. – Daniel B May 9 at 14:56

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