#1. "RE: Photoshop CS5.5 and other Adobe software - Help" In response to Reply # 0
It sounds like Photoshop is looking for the program to have been deactivated on your older machine before allowing you to complete the activation on your new one. SInce it is now dead, you obviously can't do that. I believe if you call Adobe Customer Support (800-833-6687) they should be able to deactivate the copy that is registered on your older machine so that you can complete the activation on your new PC. You should not have to remove it from your new PC in order to do this. The website says that support is available from 5 am-7pm EST, M-F, so you may have to wait until Monday to reach them. You will also need the serial number from the copy you are trying to install and probably your Adobe ID.
#2. "RE: Photoshop CS5.5 and other Adobe software - Help" In response to Reply # 0
Colorado Springs, US
Yes, it's still true that you can have two copies installed: one on a desktop and one on a laptop. You can even get fancier and have copies installed on more computers than that, but have only two activated at a time. You can deactivate the others, but leave the program on the drive. If you want to start using another, you can deactivate the unused one, and then activate the new one. BTW, I don't do this, but it's possible and allowed.
Years back I had a mother board that died, and I was faced with a similar problem as yours. I chose to move to Macs at that time (not because of the failure), so I was looking at a completely clean install on my new computer. I called Adobe's support hot line (the number you call varies depending on where you're calling from - in the US it's 800-833-6687, Monday through Friday) and they removed that extra registration from my records while we talked. They also switched my licenses from Windows to Macs. It was pretty quick and easy. They also have a chat capability, which might be fine for this.
Given additional insight I have into your schedule , I would try deactivating the license on your desktop temporarily, which should allow your laptop to activate. Then call the number above next week. You'll then be able to activate your desktop by the time you need it.
#4. "RE: Photoshop CS5.5 and other Adobe software - Help" In response to Reply # 0
Once, a long time ago, oh in the PS7 era, I had the problem and it was easily solved with a phone call. That was before on-line help became possible and the critical path through the screens became just a bowl of spaghetti. However, there is this link on the Help page that seems to address this problem and, miracle of miracles, includes a telephone number.