Adobe Creative Cloud: Apps Running in Trial Mode; Can only "Download Trial"


After logging into with a Duke enterprise ID and accessing "Desktop apps", users only have the option to "Download trial" rather than "Download".

When downloading apps and opening them, the apps run in trial mode, notifying users with a variety of messages (depending on the app) that indicate limited functionality and that they must buy the software.


This is most commonly caused by users not signing in properly.  

It can also be caused by an error on the Adobe side that does not provision resources properly when the account was created.  Signing out and back in can resolve this, as can clearing the cache.  In some cases, the account needs to be deleted and re-provisioned.

It can also be caused by a bad hosts file in limited instances, and this is most common when end users have had previous versions of Adobe creative software installed on their computers.

Finally, your login may have expired.  Faculty/staff accounts need to have an active license to continue use.  Student accounts will be deactivated upon graduation or leaving Duke. 


  1. Make sure to sign in properly.  Anyone using the Duke license must sign in with an Enterprise ID.  Instructions can be found here: How to Sign-In to Adobe Creative Cloud
  2. Sign out and then sign in again (even if you signed in correctly the first time)
    1. For the download trial issue on, click Sign Out, then follow the instructions in step 1 to sign in again.
    2. For the issue within a desktop app or creative cloud app (if you have "download" rather than "download trial" on and the problem persists)
      1. Go to Help -> Sign out (username), then Help->Sign in within an application
      2. Or on the Creative Cloud app, click the gear at the top-right, click preferences, then sign out and back in
      3. If you have an update pending on an app, you won't be able to sign out until you update
      4. When signing into apps, follow the same steps to use an Enterprise ID.
  3. Clear your browser's cache.  There are good instructions here:'s-Cookies
  4. .  Then restart your computer, open a browser, and sign in again with the instructions in Step 1.
  5. Fix your hosts file.  Your hosts file could contain entries that keep your computer from communicating with Adobe servers.
    1. Download, install, and run the CC Cleaner Tool:
      1. Windows: AdobeCreativeCloudCleanerTool.exe
        1. A terminal window will open.
        2. Choose your language (type e for English)
        3. Type y to accept the disclaimer
        4. Type 12 to Fix Host File
        5. Type y to allow the program to continue
        6. If more than 0 entries were fixed, this probably fixed the issue.
      2. Mac: AdobeCreativeCloudCleanerTool.dmg
        1. Accept the license agreement
        2. Click the option to Fix Host File
        3. Click cleanup selected
        4. Click cleanup now to allow the program to continue
        5. If more than 0 entries were fixed, this probably fixed the issue.
    2. You can also manually edit your hosts file if you would prefer, but the process is more technical.
      1. Reset the hosts file manually.
  6. If you have followed all of these steps and the problem persists, contact the OIT Service Desk or OIT Software Licensing. Also, you may want to try on a different computer to see if the issue is local to your computer or if it persists across multiple computers with your account.

Article number: KB0022827

Valid to: June 5, 2025