Troubles with Adobe CS products licenses

There are many troubles tagged with license term you can expect while using Adobe Products, such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Fireworks or others. That applies to Adobe CS3, CS4, and CS5.5 lines with some exceptions. Whether you are using the software legally or illegally here is some tricks and advises to overcome the problem. Of course, sometimes reinstalling can fix them all, but not always. Some people dare to reinstall the OS, but that’s an extreme case. Below please see the most common three license-related issues in Adobe products — AMT subsystem failure, Error “Licensing for this product has expired”, and error #16 — and selected solutions.

Adobe Joker

 §1. AMT subsystem failure

If you have seen message like the one below—fear not.

AMT subsystem Failure

AMT subsystem Failure. The licensing subsystem has failed catastrophically. You must reinstall or call customer support. — Sounds not too good, right?

There could be another one:

Adobe licensing stopped working

Licensing for this product has stopped working. You must repair the problem (I did not know I could repair the problem!) by uninstalling, etc…

Solution could be very simple for CS3 and CS4 (I guess, in Creative Suite 5 there is a different activation component, not FLEXnet): Go to Services (Administrative Tools -> Services) and check service “FLEXnet Licensing Service” — it should not be disabled! Put it to manual mode at least. This service marked as from Macrovision Europe Ltd, so odds are some nervous users could switch it off! Personally I would switch off anything from Macrovision.

Help from Adobe:

There are few solutions proposed, check them all:

  1. Apply the Licensing Service Update
  2. Set the FLEXnet Licensing Service to Manual and Start the service
  3. Rename the FLEXnet data folder
  4. Reset your permissions on the licensing service data folder
  5. Reset your permissions on the Adobe PCD folder
  6. Remove the SQLite journaling file
  7. (Vista only) synchronize the virtualized and non-virtualized PCD and caps files
  8. Reinstall (!)

§2. Error “Licensing for this product has expired” | Products affected: CS4, CS5

I have not seen that one, but here’s the Adobe solution in case you encounter:

They propose the following fixes:

Solution 1 (CS5): Enter a new serial number when prompted.
Solution 2: Turn the system clock back, start your application, and erase the stored expiring serial number.
Solution 3: Delete the PCD and caps database files, and re-install.

The error “The license for this product has expired” is unrelated to the error “Licensing for this product has stopped working”.

§3. Error 16

You may encounter the following message: Configuration error. Please uninstall and reinstall the product. If the problem still occurs, please contact Adobe technical support for help, and mention the error code shown at the bottom of this screen. Error 16. Additional unlicensed language packs found in the application folder. Please restart the application.

That I saw myself in CS5 and here’s a fix that worked for me:

1. Choose Start > Computer > Organize > Folder And Search Options, and then click the View tab.
2. In the Advanced Settings section, deselect the Use Sharing Wizard (Recommended) option and click OK.
3. Navigate to \Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\.
4. Right-click the Adobe PCD folder and choose Properties.
5. In the Attributes section, deselect Read-Only, click Apply, and then click OK.
6. In the Security tab, make sure that Administrators and System are listed and permissions for security are set to Full Control. If not, do the following:

1. Click Edit.
2. If the User Account Control (UAC) elevation prompt appears, then follow the instructions to accept it.
3. Make the necessary changes.

7. Click Advanced.
8. In the Owner tab, click Edit and accept the UAC elevation prompt if it appears.
9. In the Change Owners Section, click Administrators.
10. Select the Replace Owner On Subcontainers and Objects option and then click Apply.
11. In the Permissions tab, click Edit and accept the UAC elevation prompt if it appears.
12. Select Replace Permission Entries On All Child Objects With Entries Shown Here That Apply To Child Objects.
13. Click OK and Yes.
14. Launch your Adobe application.

25 replies on “Troubles with Adobe CS products licenses”

Hey, is there a way to fix the AMT subsystem failure in CS5? I can’t find any other info on the net about a fix.



THANK YOU SO MUCH. I tried to look for help in the adobe forums and it sounded a bit more complicated. This saved my life. I was about to call the help desk for my job to see if it was an issue on their end! You made me so happy. Thank you!

None of these worked for Me, and when I called Tech Support the tech was very polite and said we’re not supporting CS3 anymore.

All I wanted was a deauthorisation so I could try a clean install. None of the other tools like the Cleaner or License Repair worked. The ONLY option left is a low-level format to try and reinstall.

BTW the way the CSR suggested that we “could upgrade to CS5.5 and take advantage of the newer technology”. I love the demo of CS5.5 but have you ever tried to get explain this to some one who’s steeped in their ways and is like a flint when it copes to making the NECESSARY Purchase so your company can survive in this rapidly changing business.

i… tried your solution for Error 16, and i have no idea how, but it worked, even though i got several error messages along the way, and right after step 13 i got a nice “ACCESS DENIED” message that made me want to punch the screen. but, for some reason, it still got fixed! i’m still cautious though, since the issue might as well come back, but still, thanks a lot.

The resolution for the Error 16 (unlicensed language pack) really works out. Initially I thought PS CS5 is not compatible with Yahoo Messenger 11 or After Effects CS4. Thanks so much !!!


I’m using CS3. First I was using it on XP. Got my new computer and have been using it on Windows 7 pro for 6 months now with no problems. Yesterday my Java updated, and now CS3 suite does not work.

1st, I got the:
“Licensing for this product has stopped working—You cannot use this product at this time. YOU MUST REPAIR THE PROBLEM BY UNINSTALLING and then reinstalling this product or by contacting your IT administrator or Adobe customer support for help.” message.

Since it said to REINSTALL, that’s what I did. Only it would not install.

Adobe customer service is a joke. They with their non USA thick accents could not offer any help. They seemed stupid around this issue.

Then I did a system restore thinking I can go back to “things” before all the drama started.

Instead of fixing things, I got other message:
“AMT subsystem failure—The licensing subsystem has failed catastrophically. You must reinstall or call customer support.”

Again, tried to reinstall, and still will not allow me to install.



The error 16 solution isn’t working for me.

I’m running Windows 7 Enterprise. I follow each step and get a little confused once I reach step 11 as the options available to me don’t appear exactly the same as the above instructions suggest. ..nonetheless I have managed to get the Adobe PCD folder (which is actually in Program Files x86\Common Files\Adobe as opposed to the normal Program Files folder) to be owned by Administrators and have Full Control applied to this folder, all sub-folders and files.

The error 16 and then the unlicensed language packs error messages still appear when I try to run Photoshop Cs5.1 (64 bit).

…just to clarify when I mean when I get confused by the step 11 I’ll explain exactly what happens…

10. Select the Replace Owner On Subcontainers and Objects option and then click Apply.
– the moment I click apply I get a pop-up message saying: “If you have just take ownership of this object, you will need to close and reopen this object’s properties before you can view or change permissions”
– I hit ok. ok. ok. ok etc and go back to step 4.
– i get to step 10 and I get this stupid message again. And I say to myself “I did that already” so I click ok on the pop-up message, click ok while inside the ‘edit’ of the owners tab, and click on the permissions tab.

11. In the Permissions tab, click Edit and accept the UAC elevation prompt if it appears.
– there is no Edit button here so I click on the change permission button. I now see an almost identical window with an add, edit and remove button. i click the edit button.
12. Select Replace Permission Entries On All Child Objects With Entries Shown Here That Apply To Child Objects.
– there is no select replace permission entries etc option here… so i just click ok and am back on the previous window (the permissions tab which shows the add, edit remove buttons and above those the everyone, administrators and system which are all showing full control, , Apply to this folder, subfolders and files).
– there are 2 check boxes under the add, edit and remove buttons. “Include all inheritable permissions from this object’s parent”, and “Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object”
– I suppose this is what I’m supposed to click. I click it, then click apply and then I get a pop-up message saying “This will replace explicitly defined permissions on all descendants of this object with inheritable permissions from Adobe PCD. Do you wish to continue? …I hit yes.
13. Click OK and Yes.
14. Launch your Adobe application.
– same error 16 message appears >.<

Please help me :'( T_T

On step 12: there should be “Replace all child object …” checkbox. It is strange if you don’t see it.

perhaps i didn’t do something exactly right or whatever.. I DID however find a “Replace all child object…” checkbox. and I clicked it. and I hit apply, ok etc…

i see the checkbox after clicking on the change permissions button on step 11. (as opposed to clicking on an “edit” button.)

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