Adobe Creative Suite 2 was a capable collection of powerful design tools, released in 2005. The main components included Adobe Photoshop (photo editing), Adobe Illustrator (vector graphics editing), Adobe InDesign (desktop publishing) and Adobe Version Cue (version control), while Adobe Bridge helped to link everything together.
Unsurprisingly, the suite isn't as leading edge as it was at release, but the programs do still have their uses. And, as Adobe has now made them available for free, you can now try out these old industry standards for yourself.
Be aware, this won't be for everyone. These are old programs, intended for use on Windows 2000/ XP and Mac OS X v.10.2.8–v.10.3.8 (PowerPC® G4 or G5 processor). We've managed to install CS2 on a 64-bit Windows 7 system, but this is unsupported and there's no telling what issues might crop up.
If you'd like just to try, though, here's what to do. Follow the download link to open a page at the Adobe site, and at a minimum download CreativeSuiteCS2Disc1.exe, CreativeSuiteCS2Disc2.exe and CreativeSuiteCS2Disc3.exe from the links at the top of the page (that's a bulky 1.07GB in total, so choose a system with a fast internet connection).
Run CreativeSuiteCS2Disc3.exe, make a note of the default extraction folder (it was C:\Creative Suite CS2 for us), and click Next > Finish.
Run CreativeSuiteCS2Disc2.exe, change the default extraction folder name to whatever it was for the previous file, and click Next > Finish.
Run CreativeSuiteCS2Disc1.exe. The extraction folder should be the same as it was for the Disc3 file, but change it if not, and click Next. (The aim of all this being that all the CS2 content should end up in the same folder.)
The installer will appear. Click Next and accept the licence agreement.
The "Personalization" screen then asks for your registration details. Enter your name, (optionally) company, and the serial number 1130-0412-8377-1896-9751-5759 (you can paste this from the clipboard).
Next, the installer asks where to install Creative Suite 2. By default this was C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe on our Windows 7 x64 system, but it immediately complained that "The path your selected for installation contains unsupported characters". This is misleading; the real problem is just that the installer is using a long file name. Manually enter C:\Progra~1\Adobe as the folder name on 32-bit Windows, C:\Progra~2\Adobe on a 64-bit system, press Tab > Next and all should be well.
You then get to choose to install some, or all of the suite's components. Your options are Adobe Illustrator CS2 (600MB), Adobe InDesign CS2 (400MB), Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Adobe ImageReady CS2 (450MB), and Adobe Version Cue CS2 (300MB).
We opted for the "Entire Suite" option, and clicked Next.
A Summary screen appears listing all the choices you've made so far. If there's a mistake, click "Back" and change it, otherwise click Install.
If a message appears telling you to "Insert CD 2 to continue installation", open Explorer, and switch to the default extraction folder (we'll assume it's C:\Creative Suite CS2). Manually copy the C:\Creative Suite CS2\Adobe InDesign CS2 and C:\Creative Suite CS2\Adobe Version Cue CS2 folders and their contents to C:\Creative Suite CS2\Adobe Creative Suite 2.0. Switch back to the installer, click OK and it should now continue.
Once installation is complete (which should only take 3 or 4 minutes, not the "up to 20" suggested by the setup program) a Registration dialog will appear. There's no need to bother registering, really - these are free tools, you're not going to get any support running them on modern PCs anyway - so the best option is probably to choose the "Do not register" option, and click Next > Done.
And with any luck, you should now have installed CS2. The issues may not end there, but you should at least now be able to launch and try out its various applications.
Installation is awkward, but if you can get CS2 working then there's still plenty of design power here (especially for free)