Patient: Adobe Photoshop CS4

UPDATE on 02/11/2009 @ 2:45pm:
The Little Snitch method is not reliable. See this comment for a workaround.

A friend of mine recently got into photography. She went to Amazon, searched for the bestselling photography book, and purchased The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby. After starting to read the book, she asked me if I had Adobe Photoshop CS4 for her Mac.

I personally haven’t used Photoshop in a long time, so I didn’t have version CS4 in hand. I suggested two other readily available alternatives. One was GIMP which is an open source image editing program. The other was Aviary Phoenix which is a browser based online image editing service. She said she just wanted to use Adobe Photoshop CS4 since the tutorials in her book were based on it.

Adobe Photoshop CS4 costs $639.99 to buy, however, one can easily get it for free via piracy. I decided to go the piracy route, and here’s how I did it.

I went to Mininova and browsed the most popular torrents in the Mac category.

I saw one at the top that says Adobe CS4 Master Collection which includes Photoshop. The description said the torrent download comes with a serial number. I read the comments and someone named brumarug suggested to install Little Snitch to prevent the software from phoning home and invalidating the serial number.

I used Little Snitch before, and I remember you had to pay to get the full version. I searched for a free altnernative to Little Snitch, but the results didn’t return any good alternatives. I didn’t want to pay for Little Snitch, so Mininova to the rescue again.

I did a search for Little Snitch on Mininova and chose the most popular one. Fortunately, I didn’t have to download the Little Snitch torrent since someone named cino posted the serial in the comments. I got the actual program instead by downloading the Little Snitch demo from the developers site. I used the serial number from the comments to unlock the full version.

The Adobe CS4 Master Collection took about 16 hours to download using Transmission. I only installed Photoshop and unchecked all the other programs it came with. When Photoshop tried to phone home, Little Snitch popped up, and I chose to deny any connection forever.

Everything seems to be working great. Now, she can move forward with her tutorials and photography.

Alpha Mesh
Arrr! Prepare to be boarded.

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22 Responses to Patient: Adobe Photoshop CS4

  1. eksith says:

    I use CS2 at work and I must say, there isn’t much I saw in CS4 in terms of features that warrant a purchase at this point. At least for the vast majority of things I do.

    I guess it all comes down to what you need vs what you want.

    Before switching to Photoshop CS2, I used PS 7 and have been very happy with it despite the high price tag. CS2 Was given to me at work so I got it free. But, of course, it wasn’t “free”.

    I think Ubuntu Studio has to be the best free, comprehensive, multimedia platform for content creators. It pretty well matches a lot of what the CS Master Collection offers, though differently in terms of user interfaces etc…

    It may be seen as a down side that it’s an entire OS bundle and you will need a dedicated machine or partition to install it. But I think this is an asset as dedicating a machine will yield a “cleaner” system free from everyday usage cruft.

    Of course, it’s all GPL licensed, not Public Domain ;)

  2. jorel314 says:

    After I spent some time playing with Adobe Photoshop CS4, the serial stopped working.

    So it looks like the pirated Little Snitch isn’t too reliable. Upon further investigation, I found a way to get Photoshop working again without needing Little Snitch.

    Someone named BigSpender left detailed comments on how to get it to work without Little Snitch.

    Here’s what to do.

    – disconnect from internet
    – install Photoshop and start in trial mode
    – Open up Terminal and use the following command to delete Adobe’s cache.db file which stores information on your serial number…

    sudo rm “/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe PCD/cache/cache.db”

    – Use the following to block Adobe from phoning home…

    sudo nano /etc/hosts

    Enter the following at the end of the file.

    press “ctrl + x” to exit
    press “y” to save changes
    press “enter” to overwrite old version

    – start photoshop
    – enter the serial which was included with the torrent
    – if your photoshop serial stops working after an automatic update, then delete the cache.db file again and put in the serial again. Or you can disable automatic updates in photoshop by going to “help > updates…”

  3. Thank you so much for your help! Very easy and works GREAT! I subscribed to your blog as well..via my husbands recommendation who found you first.

  4. jorel314 says:


    I’m glad it worked for you, and thanks for subscribing.

    I wish you success in your photography endeavors!

  5. Paul says:

    is there a workaround like the one above to use on a windows machine?

  6. jorel314 says:


    I don’t have experience with the Windows version, but you should find some good advice by reading the comments here…

  7. Anonymous says:

    I dunno if anyone still reads these, but will this method work on other adobe products like illustrator and after effects?

  8. jorel314 says:

    This method works for any Adobe program included in the Adobe CS4 Master Collection which includes Illustrator and After Effects.

  9. Mariah says:

    Is there anywhere I can find a new serial number for my Adobe CS4 Suite? Like a keygen for mac or something?

  10. jorel314 says:


    Here’s some Adobe Creative Suite CS4 serials that I got from Serial Box


  11. pj says:

    hey…randomly came across your page and it’s great! totally helpful. quick q: just dl’ed photoshop cs4 from a rapidshare link, but it didn’t come with a serial number. will the serials above work for it or did it have to come specifically with my dl? any help would be great! keep up the cool work.

  12. jorel314 says:


    I believe you should be able to use any of those serials. I haven’t verified if they work myself though.

  13. kvg says:

    If you block adobe, how can you updates?

  14. jorel314 says:


    I don’t update my adobe software. I’ll just wait until CS5.

  15. Uwa says:

    Thanks so much for your info. I have a question before I try any of this (I’m a n00b, I admit it); do I need to download the torrent for this to work, or is it safe to download the trial version from & still use the above method? I’m asking because Adobe makes you register before you can download any trials & I worry about IP tracking.

    Also, if I need to download CS4 from a torrent, do I need some sort of extra firewall for the Mac? I once had Vuze installed on my old PC and was advised to use software like PeerGuardian to control P2P connections. I’m not familiar to the process for the Mac.

    Thanks, everyone. :)

  16. jorel314 says:


    I haven’t tried installing from the trial version myself. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work though.

    I’d recommend just using the torrent though. I use to download all my torrents.

    Hope that helps…

  17. Marvin says:

    Hmm why doing so difficult if you just full remove the program.. go to the website and reinstall the program and run trial version again.. i’m using adobe photoshop cs5 and i just past the 30 day’s trial limit i full remove the program went to the website install the trial version and i got another 30 day’s trial.. i’s free ands legal

  18. Mark says:

    Download FREE Adobe CS5 Master Collection with installation guide here:

  19. Nuzha Roy says:

    This site is awesome I’m going to put this in my bookmarks before I lose the url, I don’t
    think I’ll ever find my way back here otherwise!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I found a online KeyGen it’s free and worked great for me.

  21. Vanny P says:

    what about cs6 serial number? i have cs6 now but couldnt find serial number for cs6. let me know

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