Installing Photoshop CS2 on Windows 7 64-bit

Published: Tue, 08 Jan 2013 14:17:28 GMT

Adobe have kindly made Creative Suite 2 (CS2) available to download for free – you can download it at – however, there are a couple of tricks to getting it to run successfully on Windows 7 64-bit

Step 1 Download the required files

Download the following files from the link above:


Step 2 Extract the files

The Disk1, Disk2 and Disk3 files contain a compressed version of the files which originally came on CDs, the Disk1 file also contains the installer which will run automatically after extracting.

Run the CreativeSuiteCS2Disc2.exe, CreativeSuiteCS2Disc3.exe and CS_2.0_WWE_Extras_1.exe files and allow them to extract to their default locations. Do not run Disk 1 yet.

If you get an error “Unable to create the specified output folder!”, click ‘OK’ and retry – it should work the second time.

Error when creating folder

You now need to extract the files from CreativeSuiteCS2Disc1.exe, but cancel before the installer tries to install the applications.

Run CreativeSuiteCS2Disc1.exe and let it extract the files to C:\Creative Suite CS2, but when the white ‘Welcome’ window appears, click ‘Cancel’ then ‘Quit’.

Step 3 Move the files to the required locations

After the files have extracted, you will find that Disk 2 has extracted to C:\Creative Suite\Adobe Creative Suite 2.0\

Disk1 and Disk3 have extracted to C:\Creative Suite CS2\

Extras has extracted to C:\CS_2.0_WWE_Extras_2

You must now move both folders from C:\Creative Suite\Adobe Creative Suite 2.0 to C:\Creative Suite CS2\Adobe Creative Suite 2.0\ – you can then delete C:\Creative Suite\

Check: C:\Creative Suite CS2\Adobe Creative Suite 2.0\ should now look like:

CS2 Install File list

The required installation files after extracting and moving them.

If you do not move these files, you will be prompted to “Insert Disc 2” during the install and it will fail.

Step 4 Check the installation path

When you run the installer in the next step, it will default to install in C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe but the installer does not like the space in the file name and will fail. If you choose another folder (e.g. C:\ProgramFiles\Adobe), Photoshop will not start successfully and will show an error “‘Your Adobe Photoshop user name, organisation, or serial number is missing or invalid. The application cannot continue and must now exit.”

Open a command window (Start button, type CMD, press enter)

Type “CD \” to change to the root of your c: drive

Type “DIR /X” to see what the DOS name for your Program Files (x86) directory is. It is likely to be PROGRA~2 – Make a note of this, you need it in the next step.
CMD Window

The highlighted section is the part you need to take note of

Step 5 Run the installer

Navigate to C:\Creative Suite CS2\Adobe Creative Suite 2.0 and run Setup. This will run the installer which you cancelled in step 2.

Read and agree to the license, enter your name, company and the serial number which can be found on the download page.

When you are prompted for the install location, amend it to read c:\PROGRA~2\Adobe (where PROGRA~2 is the name you found in step 4) If the ‘Next’ button does not become active, press ‘Tab’ and it should become available.

Choose which components you want to install (probably ‘Entire suite’) and step through the rest of the wizard.

Register the software if you want to at the end, and check for updates.

Bonus: If you register, you will receive an email from Adobe which offers you a complimentary benefit – choose from:

Garamond Premier Pro
A new Adobe original typeface family, complete with optical sizes designed by Robert Slimbach.

2 issues of Photoshop® User
An award-winning, cutting-edge “how-to” magazine, packed with tutorials, cool tips and insider information.

2 issues of Layers® magazine
This magazine highlights hidden shortcuts and tutorials, with a more creative look into Adobe products.

Once the install completes, you should have a working CS2 installation! Try running Photoshop to confirm it starts correctly.

Let me know in the comments how you get on!

Update: Thanks to a couple of commenters spotting an error in step 3, I have uninstalled and reinstalled from scratch to make sure I get the steps all correct. Now with added screenshots!


Andy: Thanks for your comments - I wrote the instructions from memory after some trial and error getting it to work and I made a few mistakes. I've uninstalled and done it again from scratch - the instructions above should now work for you - sorry for the inconvenience!
Andrew: Worked a Charm. Thanks so much
Alex: Thanks, it worked a charm!
Mj: Did exactly as written. Still got insert cd 2 to continue to install. Now what? Sure would appreciate any help.
Kay: Using this method the install went perfectly but I'm still getting an obnoxious freeze on the splash-screen after 'initializing' that makes Photoshop CS2 unusable. Do you have any idea what this could possibly be? Thanks so much!
jeremy: The picture of the folder in step 3 appears to also include all the files and folders that you will get once you have extracted Disk1. So if yours doesn't have nearly all that content, it should once you extract disc 1.
Jake: This guide works perfectly! Thank you so much!
Andy: I'd double check the files are exactly as per the screenshot, and that you have downloaded and extracted all the downloads. All the required files should be there, so there should be no need for it to ask for cd3...
Joe: Well it worked great, not asking for CD2 anymore, but now its asking for CD3!! Lol this is almost not even worth the trouble! Any suggestions on what to do now? I have all the files moved just like in your illustrations and still get this error message.
jake: It seems like step 3 needs a little clarification, as I think I did what you said, but am still getting the insert cd 2 error. Also, where should I extract disc one? If I let it go to default that's here- C:\Creative Suite CS2\ the folder you said I could delete after I moved the folders in step 3. I have working PS now, but I would really like Illustrator.
hoojacks: Thanks for the tutorial, but it still does not work. Perhaps some clarity is needed. In step 3, you say "You must now move both folders from C:\Creative Suite CS2\ to C:\Creative Suite\Adobe Creative Suite 2.0\ – you can then delete C:\Creative Suite CS2" There is only one folder and some files in Creative Suite CS2. Or did you mean both the Creative Suite CS2 and the Extras folder? I moved all the contents of Creative Suite CS2 into the specified folder AND the contents of the extras folder in there as well, and it is still asking me for Disc 2. In step 5, should we extract the file into the c:\PROGRA~2\Adobe folder as well, or just the folder it prompts? I imagine this doesn't make a difference, but it's worth a shot? Thanks again!
Samuel: Thank you very very much! Your guide worked perfectly for me on Windows XP 32 Bit. You helped me very much. I really appreciate this! Big thanks!!
Baxter Tocher: Thanks for this, Andy - it's much appreciated. Any idea what we need to do if there's not enough space on C:? My C: drive is a fairly small SSD, but I have a fair amount of space on D:.
Greg: For install try use direct Adobe Photoshop CS2. msi file. ( no setup.exe )
Andy: Hi Baxter, I haven't tried installing to another drive, but there should be no problem moving the installation files to another drive and doing the install from there. I suspect that if you try to install to anywhere other than c:\progra~2\Adobe that the licensing will not work. This will mean that Photoshop will not start successfully - there is probably a change which can be made in the registry to make it work, but I have not tested. I'd start looking in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\Photoshop.exe
Andy: Hi Sean, glad it's working for you! The file contains a video tutorial for the cs2 suite. Just unzip it and run vcs2.exe The extras directory which expands to c: by default contains documentation, sample images and plugins which you can install manually. I hope this helps!
marc: I just followed your instructions exactly on windows 7 64 and it worked perfectly! I'm stoked! Thanks so so much.
Lizzytish: Just wanted to add my thanks for your tut on installing CS2........ found similar on line elsewhere...... but missing the steps you included in yours........... worked perfectly............ like a charm ....... et voila .... found your link after spending hours and hours fiddling and stuff......... so I am a very happy camper!! Thanks a ton!! Your sharing is very much appreciated! LT
Paul B: Very helpful. Thanks for posting.
Mike: Many thanks for this! I had a similar problem to Joe in that it asked for disk 3 but then found it had still installed the main Photoshop app and I was able to manually create a desktop shortcut and open successfully. Should also note I installed to D drive as I have a small SSD C Drive like Baxter. Then I noticed that Step 3 doesn't mention moving the folders/files from "Extras" to the installation folder and that is why disk 3 wasn't found - I should have checked your screencap ;) All it seems to mean is that Illustrator wasn't installed so no problem! Thanks again.
Sean: Thanks Andy. Everything worked properly. I had to do a double take on the instructions at step 3 but once I got that straight, it installed just fine. I have a couple questions though: 1) What do you do with the file? 2) Did the installer do anything with the extras folder? It didn't get moved into the main folder with the rest of the install files so did it get installed?
marc: Actually, does anyone know if the Premier Pro free download from Adobe works with windows 7? Is it the same idea, to update the installation path and make sure everything else lines up? Or will it work just fine, or not at all? Thanks!
Isaac: Thank you sooo much i was so confused by the tutorial on Adobe's site so i did some google'ing i came across your tutorial IT IS AWESOME......!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank You Soooo much
Elaine: Thank you, Thank you. Thank you. Wish I had found this thread 8 hours ago! BUT..Find it I did...finally. Thank you, again!
Nick: Thank you sooo much for posting this!
sathish: is working good. thanku
Svend: Hi. I installed PS CS2 on win 8 64-bit. The install worked fine (using the Progra~2 fix), but after a short while PS becomes unstable and eventually crashes. Any ideas what is going wrong(other than the fact that cs2 is written to a 32-bit system).
Philip Knight: Andy, I'll get to downloading and installing the whole CS2 but all I really need for now is Illustrator, and even that far simpler install is not working; so I'm guessing the same will happen with the whole enchilada. So need to solve this issue first: -- I have looked up and used the Program~2 alternative to Program Files (x86), but the installer hangs at the exact same place on the progress bar as it did when using the latter location -- about 60% in. I have to nuke it through the Task Manager--where there are 4 Installers happening for this. I run the installer as Administrator too. That seems strange: I can understand 2, installers -- one for the 32-bit program itself and maybe another for the 64-bit OS to convert or accept a 32-bit. That said, Firefox shows two Adobe Flash plugins running when fired up. So maybe irrelevant. Whatever the case, what am I doing wrong? Thanks. _____________ PS: The reason I'm primarily interested in Illustrator at this point is because I have Illustrator 8 (yeah, really old -- ca. 1997) and I think it's a 16-bit program so it won't install on Win7. It worked on XP.
Philip Knight: PS: I think I know why this install (or any other of CS2 or its parts WON'T work for me: I don't have a purchased version of CS2 and I don't do crack or pirated software. I thought the serial number provided was equivalent to a purchased version. IF I'm mistaken and I can make this work without a purchased version, let me know. Please :) Thanks.
tizhimself: Blew my mind1 It installed perfectly. Thanks...
Lilly: Thank you!!! No more gifts from Adobe for registering but this still works! Thanks!
Tiziana: Thank you sooooooo MUCH!! I was almost hopeless, then I found this!! ^^ THANKS!
Jeff: Thank you very much for writing this article. I have spent over 6 hours on this today with numerous chat windows with adobe and even a gone nowhere phone call that lasted over an hour. It was stupid. I really appreciated finding this. My problem was the renaming the install location. Something so easy, yet so frustrating. (Like Most computer problems. :)) Anyway I just wanted to say thank you and that I appreciated it. --Jeff
Steve: Just want to add my thanks to those above - very much appreciated. Steve
Richard: Your tutorial worked for me. I have not run CS2 through its paces so there is not way really to know if I have a fully functioning version. It does seem to be working fine except for the the Help application. When I click on Help, I receive an error message: "There was an error bringing the Help application forward. You may need to re-install the application and the Help component. Is it possible that the Help application was corrupted during the download phase and/or install phase? Thanks for your great contribution! Richard
Mary: Worked like a charm! Thank you! Thank you! I had CS2 on my old computer. I could not install it on my new laptop -- it would not give me an authentication code. When I called the Adobe help line I got a recorded message sending me to a dead link on Adobe. When I called Adobe and got a live person, they told me they no longer supported CS2 and I was simply out of luck (in other words, gee, why don't you buy the newest version?) You really saved the day for me. God bless you!
Janet:* Hi. I've followed your instructions to the letter but when I try to run "setup" as per step 5 I get the following error message: Missing or Invalid Personalization Information Missing resources library Any ideas? This is driving me insane!! Collette: Thank you that was great! One comment (which might have been addressed already) where you say "You must now move both folders from..." it might be clearer if you said "you must now move the two folders from..." But otherwise clear, comprehensive and it worked!!
Don A: The very least that I can do is to say "Thank you." I worked perfectly as far as I can tell. There were so many other links that were leading me astray. Thanks again.
Debbie: Thank you! I just spent ages typing this exact thing out on someone else's question on the Adobe forums, only missing out how to find the accurate DOS code. Progra~2 generally works for Win7 64 bit. Thanks!!
Dave: This worked perfectly on a 64 bit Windows 10 install.
Susan: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I just got a new computer and have the old CS2 CDs but the serial number no longer worked. Went to Adobe "chat" and was given a link with serial numbers and programs. Spent hours trying different ways to get CS2 on my computer. At my wits end, I googled and found you. Thank you so much for taking the time to clearly explain how to make it happen because I kept getting hung up on "Insert Disk 2". Out of desperation, I even tried inserting the old CD 2 I have but that didn't work!! I'm not overly techy. :) I can't believe your directions worked. God Bless you for not keeping this fix to yourself.
lezav: The latest version of win7 sp1 now allows 'program files (x86)' as folder name in CMD (as opposed to porgam~2).... and since adobe does not allow parenthesis in folder names, what to do now to install cs2?
Ali: Thank you so much. You have fixed the "user name, organization, or serial number is missing or invalid..." which had suddenly started happening on Photoshop and I tried everything to get rid of. I'm so happy - you've made my afternoon. Your instructions were easy to follow (like Susan, I'm not very techy) and they worked. Thanks :)
Larry Swarts: Awsome, thnx
Steve M: Hi......followed all the instructions but getting install CD2.....???
John Howard: I cant tell you enough how helpful this was. It worked just as you said it would. Thank you so very much, you made my week. Please keep up the great work you are doing for all of us. John Howard
Rob: Thanks so much. Your instructions were invaluable. The installation worked perfectly. You are a savior.
Steve: Hi, I'm having the same trouble as Janet had (comment 23). I followed the direction word for word but must have missed something?
Avijit Das: Thank you so much. You have fixed the “user name, organization, or serial number is missing or invalid…” which had suddenly started happening on Photoshop and I tried everything to get rid of. I’m so happy – you’ve made my afternoon. Your instructions were easy to follow (like Susan, I’m not very techy) and they worked. Thanks :)
Cici: These instructions helped a lot. One issue I'm still experiencing is that I can't get InDesign to work. When I open it, it prompts me to enter the serial number. Once I do, the program shuts. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling just InDesign twice, and I get the same problem every time. I don't have this problem with the other programs; some of them prompted for the serial number, but once I entered it, the program opened and functioned. Any ideas of why it's doing this or how to resolve the issue? Thanks.
Dorothy Card: I would hug you if you were here. We struggled for 3 days before we found your instructions. Read them over and over until I understood each step and then went for it. It worked like a charm. Installed on new Dell Optiplex 5040, Win 7 Pro 64 bit. We had purchased Adobe Creative Suite CS2. Yes I know it's old but it works for us for now. Old Dell died. Saved us big $$$$. Thank you for sharing!
alchemistj: Your Baller! Have saved me doing this a 2nd time now! Thanks!
Mark: This was EXTREMELY helpful, thank you…

Originally published on my blog at

Home Icon of a house with a precipitous roof Home