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My Rosetta Stone boxed set doesn't work anymore. Can you help?

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When Margaretta McKenna upgrades her computer, her Rosetta Stone CD-ROM stops working. Can she upgrade to the new online version for free?

I purchased the Rosetta Stone Italian program many years ago. I was using it on my Mac computer. I purchased a new Apple computer, and now my Rosetta Stone is not compatible with the new system.

I emailed Rosetta Stone and they offered me three months free on their website.

I paid about $450 for the Italian program. Now they evidently have a subscription way of doing things.

I don’t see why I should have to pay for it now. I would like to have access to my Italian complete boxed set that I still have here. I can't remember when I purchased the program. I would like to have access to the Rosetta Stone program online if that’s the only way. If they have new CDs that are compatible with my new computer, I would take that instead. Can you help?

Margaretta McKenna, Brockton, Mass.

I'm sorry your Rosetta Stone CDs don't work on your new Mac computer. You must have bought those CDs a long time ago. Rosetta Stone discontinued its CD-ROM and digital download products in 2019.

Why doesn't the CD-ROM work on your new computer? The old system requires Adobe Flash Player, but Adobe discontinued that product in 2020. So if you didn't have Adobe Flash installed on your computer before then, your Italian language CDs won't work.

Rosetta Stone's standard offer to owners of its "legacy" products like your box set is a three-month subscription. That doesn't seem very generous, considering that you paid $450 for your Italian language CD-ROMs. (Rosetta was running a special for a lifetime online membership for just $199 at the time you contacted me.)

I've run into this problem before with CD-ROMs published by my former employer, National Geographic. Back then, as I explained, the issue was obsolescence -- technology evolving quickly and leaving consumers in the dust. That's what happened to you, too.

Although I don't publish the executive contacts for Rosetta Stone, they are easy to find with my guide to getting the name of the CEO. (All email addresses at Rosetta Stone end in, Rosetta's parent company.)

I contacted Rosetta Stone on your behalf.

"We no longer support CD-ROM and Digital Download Programs, although they may still work on compatible computers," a representative told me. "Since our online subscription is a different product with exclusive features such as translations, live lessons, phrasebook and stories, we aren't able to accommodate a transfer from the older product to the new online version."

But Rosetta Stone extended a discount on a lifetime unlimited languages subscription for $79 instead of $299. So you'll have access to all 25 languages with this option, including Italian and Spanish.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at [email protected] or get help by contacting him at


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