Adobe CS3 Install HELL

Adobe Master Collection Black Bar

OK I won’t make yet another post on how horrible the install for CS3 has been. Let’s just say that I opened the box from UPS Wednesday around 5:00 PM and only a short 34 hours later I actually got it installed. In the end I took the shotgun approach and tried every solution I could find at the same time and it worked… so here is my recipe for a CS3 installation….USE AT YOUR OWN RISK

You will need for this recipe, the following ingredients:

(I should mention that this is for a Windows XP machine)

0. Copy and Merge the Install Files

Make a directory on your hard disk (i.e. C:\Software\ )
copy the “Adobe CS3” directory from all of your install disks into this directory letting each copy overwrite any duplicate directories. You want to end up with one directory (C:\Software\Adobe CS3) that contains the contents of all of the Adobe CS3 directories from each of the source disks.

1. Uninstall ALL Adobe and Macromedia products.

This includes FlexBuilder 2 and 3 Beta and in my case ColdFusion 8 Beta, also the AIR Beta runtime.
(note I did not uninstall ColdFusion 7)

2. Uninstall ALL Adobe and Macromedia products.

No not a typo… just go check and do it again if need be.
and if you didn’t do it the first time I said it, do it now.

3. Delete the applications\Adobe directory

Remove the C:\applications\Adobe directory. Yep just delete it.

4. Reboot make sure that there are no active installs/uninstalls

How do you do this… try installing an a program that uses a .MSI installation file. My suggestion would be the
Windows Installer CleanUp Utility
because you will need this later in the process anyway.

5. Run the CS3 removal utility

Run the
Adobe CS3 Pre-release Cleaner
but use the hidden level 4 clean. It doesn’t show on the menu. It’s sort of like the Spinal Tap level 11. (Actually I wish they had included a level 11!)

6. Run the CS3 removal utility AGAIN!

Yes again, in level 4 keep running it until it doesn’t actually do anything at the end.

7. Make sure flash player is really gone

Run the Adobe Flash Player Uninstaller

8. What the hell, run it again for good measure

9. Fix the registry permissions

Run the Adobe Acrobat registry ACL repair utility

10. Yep you guessed it… do it again

OK Looking back over this post and my notes I realized that I missed a couple of things between steps 10 and 11

10b: run Windows Installer CleanUp Utility (You probably installed it in step 4 above. ) It will be in your programs menu. Run it and remove any remnants of left over installs for Adobe and Macromedia products that you have removed. Oddly enough sometimes the un-install/modify install is left behind in the Add/Remove programs list after an uninstall.

10c: Manually fix registry permissions… I don’t know if it actually had an effect on ANYTHING. Basically what you want to do is open regedit, right click on HKEYLOCALMACHINE, select permissions, select Administrators at the top and check the Full Control – Allow box at the bottom, then click Apply, then Advanced then check the “Replace permission…” box at the bottom, the click Apply. It will take a minute or two but regedit will try to replace permissions on all subkeys of the HKLM, you will get an error message that permissions for some keys could not be updated. Unfortunately there is no way to tell which key.
You can stop here, but if you want you can do what I did which was do the same thing for all the other top level keys. In particular I would do the HKEYCLASSESROOT, HKEYCURRENTUSER and HKEYCURRENTCONFIG. I believe I also spent some time poking around in the sub keys looking for anything that I thought the install might be trying to modify and doing this same process to keys. Unfortunately there is no way that I have found to update registry permissions en mass.

Now go make sure that your user id you are using to install is a member of the local administrators group in windows.

11. Clean the registry

Run RegClean

12. Clean the registry AGAIN repeat as needed

Keep cleaning the registry, until the reg undo file that it generates does not change. (i.e. open up the last two files in notepad, if they are different run it again)

13. Stop everything else running.

Go to Start->Run and type “msconfig” and hit enter.
On the “General” tab of the System Configuration Utility select “Selective Startup” and uncheck all 4 boxes under it.
Go to the “Services” tab, click Enable All, then check the “Hide All Microsoft Services” check box, then click “Disable All”, now click “OK” and let the system reboot.

14. Install

Go to the directory you setup in step 0. and run the Setup.exe. If you encountered any problems when copying the files from the DVDs, determine which program those files belong to and skip the installation of that program. (I had to skip AfterEffects for the time being.) Also if you are so inclined you might skip installation of Acrobat Pro, this seems to be the one program that is causing the most problems with installation.

If this ends up working for you… Please come back and comment.