Photoshop/Lightroom: Loss of internet connection and license

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  • Updated 3 months ago
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  • (Edited)
Before I first purchased CC I asked on a forum the question, "will it still run if my internet is down", and I was informed yes.

I have moved to a small volcanic (desert) island where the internet isn't always good.  So far I have been luck in that it has been off when I have not needed to be at my computer.  This morning was the first time, but I thought it would allow me to catch up with photo processing and art work. Until I got the message that Adobe can't check my subscription!!!   So for most of the morning I might as well have gone back to bed!

Now we are hoping to move further inland, where connection problems are more than likely to increase.  I wasn't bothered until this morning, as I thought I would still be able to use Photoshop and Lightroom. :'(

So, have finally got internet back on I opened up Photoshop and Lightroom ok.  When it went down again they did stay open so I see that I must just have a connection in order to open them.

So I have to ask, is there ANY way that I can open Lightroom and Photoshop when my internet connection goes down? 
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Jill Terry

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Posted 10 months ago

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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Official Response
Hi Jill,

Sorry you're having trouble.

Two things which can lead to being unlicensed:

1) If you have the CC Photography plan, you will need an internet connection at least every 90 days to update the licensing token. Details here: https://helpx.adobe.com/creative-cloud/kb/internet-connection-creative-cloud-apps.html

2) If the clock on your computer is changed, this can also revoke the license. Two things can cause this:

   a) Your computer's clock CMOS battery/capacitor is bad and your laptop battery or desktop computer completely loses power causing the computer to lose its time. If this is the case, replace the CMOS battery. 

   b) You have your computer set to use network time automatically. If you're remote and tethered to a cell phone which may be talking to towers in different timezones, this can change the clock setting multiple times. If this is the case, set your clock to manual: https://helpx.adobe.com/download-install/kb/cannot-verify-subscription-offline-mode.html
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Adobe Dan, Chief Architect

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Hi Jill,

I'm the chief architect at Adobe in charge of our application licensing.  Here is how our applications are supposed to work while offline:
  • when you are connected to the internet, your application is able to reach the Adobe servers and it verifies your license.  When this happens, the application saves a "license credential" in your OS's secure storage (keychain on Mac, credential manager on Windows).  This license credential is timestamped with when it was retrieved.
  • when you are not connected to the internet, your application looks for an existing license credential saved from a prior launch.  When it finds this credential, it checks to make sure that the current time on your computer is later than the timestamp in the credential.  If it is, your application knows it is licensed and it runs normally.  But if your computer time is earlier than the timestamp in the credential, the credential is discarded and the application will not run until it can connect to the internet again.
What I believe is happening in your situation is that your intermittent network connection is causing the time on your machine to "jiggle" back and forth.  This is actually a fairly common problem when using wifi (and sometimes wired) connections in remote areas, because most computers are set to verify their time against the network, and some brands of router will provide unstable times to the network when their own upstream connection to the internet is intermittent.  I know this may sound crazy, because you probably don't see any obvious changes in your computer's clock, but even a jiggle of 10 or so seconds can cause your saved license credential to be discarded.  You would not be alone in experiencing this problem; many of our photographer customers who work in areas with intermittent networking have reported it.

As Jeff explained above, the workaround for this problem is to tell your computer *not* to set its time from the network (following the instructions in this help document: https://helpx.adobe.com/download-install/kb/cannot-verify-subscription-offline-mode.html).  Then, once you connect and get your license credential saved locally, your computer clock will not drift, and you will be able to work offline.

Hope this helps! -d.

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Thank you Dan, I love learning the little details!
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Lukáš Chmela

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Thank you for all the details provided. However, I am sorry for disagreeing with you. The official article referenced by Mr. Tranberry only states that:

You must connect to the Internet when you want to install Adobe Creative Cloud apps, such as Photoshop and Illustrator. Once the apps are installed on your computer, you don’t need an ongoing Internet connection to use the apps.

You can use the apps in offline mode with a valid software license for a limited period. The apps attempt to validate your software license every 30 days. You receive a reminder to reconnect to the Internet to validate your license:

These two paragraphs are simply either misleading or untrue at the moment. There is an ongoing debate on how the Adobe Creative Cloud licencing manager works when the internet connection is lost in an otherwise quality connection city area. In some circumstances, the application successfuly prevents offline work even if that happens to be a few-minutes drop out.

Link to the original discussion: https://forums.adobe.com/message/10810376#10810376

I have to point out that in what concerns me personally, I do have network time synchronization turned on. As far as I know, it is the Windows default setting and Dan's comment is the first time I am reading anywhere (unofficially from Adobe) I should do otherwise. Being a programmer myself, I totally understand that a time jiggle could occur in many circumstances and I agree that I would not notice even though my time indicator shows time with seconds. If, however, a time jiggle in the order of seconds or even minutes lasting a tiny moment can render a software installation unusable for the entire time of connection loss, it is a serius flaw in the software design by definition. It is understandable that time shifts in the order of days or even years hint the licence might be compromised but not necessarily so if it is a few-minute jiggle. Please note that for anyone trying to launch a Creative Cloud application when working offline, it is nearly impossible not to notice a shift of an hour or more the whole time the dialog keeps trying to connect to the server.

Thank you again for the time you have taken to engage in the topic. Hopefully Adobe will make their efforts to investigate the issue further.

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David Converse

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Hi Dan, appreciate hearing from you and let's do this again. Unfortunately, your approach is a problem as you may have noted from this thread. And the new licensing window in Bridge (and I believe InDesign?) is getting a lot of complaints. It starts to draw but remains blank and blocks the program until the license is verified, for some of us on about every launch.

As for changing from network time, many customers work in a corporate setting where they are not allowed to change time settings. A corporate IT department is not going to change this for Adobe.

The perception is that Adobe engineers don't understand real-world usage and that a lot of changes over the past decade have been marketing-driven and are NOT helping regular users.

Bottom line- expiring a token because time shifts while a user is offline, preventing use of paid software, is nonsense. We all know it. You need to convince management that user-hostile design is not in anyone's best interest.
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Lukáš Chmela

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Thank you, Dan, for your kind response and for all clarifications. I will be looking forward to the future release. Let me wish you all at Adobe happy Holidays and a pleasant new year.
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Adobe Dan, Chief Architect

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Official Response
Hi Lukáš and David,

Thanks much for your thoughtful replies.  I believe we are actually in complete agreement about almost everything :).  Here's some follow-up information and answers to some of the issues you raise:

1. We agree that the current design is too brittle.  In fact, we have already made changes in our design to avoid this problem (one, as Lukáš suggested, is to be more permissive of time jiggles) and product updates that incorporate those changes will likely become available starting in February or March of 2019.

2. This "network time jiggle effect" is very rare, so much so that we didn't see this scenario in extensive real-world testing (including feedback from literally millions of machines in use by actual customers).  If we had seen it before we shipped, we would, of course, have fixed it before we shipped.  We feel terrible that we have put customers like Jill in the position of having to use a workaround like turning off network time syncing, and we are well aware that network time syncing is turned on by default by all OS manufacturers (with good reason - SSL connections depend on an accurate machine clock).

3. The point about this really hurting users who are using, for example, corporate-controlled machines, are well taken.  Clearly such a user would have to ask for an exception from his administrators, and those can be hard to come by.  The feedback we are getting from the field, luckily, is that essentially no corporate network environments have this issue, and that most users who encounter this issue in the field are photographers who maintain their own machines independent of corporate standards.

4.  It has been suggested that this change in our licensing software was motivated by marketing concerns and ignored real-world experience.  This is the exact opposite of the truth.  Our in-app licensing software has, for years, been one of our biggest customer support problems, and this revamp was intended to address all of the issues we knew about.  On the whole the revamp has been successful at meeting that goal: based on every measure we have available, this revamped licensing software is causing problems for way, way fewer customers than its predecessor (by one if not two orders of magnitude), including those customers who work offline.  Unfortunately, whenever you change software you introduce bugs, and clearly this is a bug that we introduced that we were unable to detect before it bit people.  We feel terrible about that, and are doing the best we can to keep them running until we can get them a fix.

Hope this helps put things in context.  We are doing our very best to meet all of our customer's needs, and we are very sorry that we don't always succeed.
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Glenn Davy

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EVERYONE WHO IS FOLLOWING OR HAS READ MY POST ABOVE ABOUT SIGNING IN ERRORS AND FRUSTRATION - PLEASE READ (ESPECIALLY JEFFREY TRANBERRY)

If there is one thing I'm an expert at, that's making a complete ass of myself. Above I went on a tirade about not being able to sign in to Adobe CC 2019 and thus not being able to open Bridge/PS/LR when on the road this past weekend. If you haven't read it, I basically tore a strip off Adobe over this because I have logged in on the LT I was using within the past 90 days and yet (so I claimed), Adobe wouldn't let me load the program. Well, what I had forgotten was that I had changed my Adobe ID, and had not logged into the LT (at least with CC) since that time. THAT is why Adobe wouldn't let me use any of the programs, because to them I really did look like a potential pirate.

I owe Adobe, you folks, and especially Jeffrey a sincere, heartfelt apology at my idiocy. This was all my doing and my problem, and NOT Adobe's. This whole thing didn't dawn on me until tonight when I went to log into Adobe CC 2019 on the LT and my Keychain fields came up listing my old ID. The problem, as I say, is entirely mine, and mine alone.

Adobe, folks who supported (and/or disagreed with) me, and again, especially Jeffrey, who has been of immense help and encouragement that things will get better despite my unfounded tirade, I apologize. In future I will think (if that's possible anymore) before I type, and I will keep my remarks to that of the actual problem rather than expressing frustration (except maybe at myself) or passing judgment. This episode tonight will not be repeated, at least by me.

Again, I am sorry. Jeffrey, let's let things lie wrt the single app renewal until closer to the time, but thank you for your offer. Honestly, that part isn't something I'm all that concerned about at this point.

Thank you for reading and please, either use my complaint above as an example of what not to do, or just ignore it completely.

Glenn
(Edited)
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Glenn, no problem. Despite everyone’s best intentions, mistakes happen. Just glad it’s sorted for you. What you described sounded an awful lot like the time jitter issue on this thread. I can see how you and I both were confounded by your experience. Thanks.
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Glenn Davy

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Thanks Jeffrey. You are indeed a class act. Appreciate the sentiments.

Glenn