Adobe CS3 First Impressions: Installation Pain

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Like many of you, I’ve been looking forward to Adobe’s new Creative Suite 3. So, when I found the software package in my mail after I returned from vacation, I couldn’t wait to try it out. Unfortunately I had to wait, since Adobe seriously botched the install process. The problems I encountered can be traced to a beta of Fireworks 3 (I’ve heard of similar issues with a Photoshop beta) that I had installed. Fortunately that means most users won’t run into the problems I encountered. Still, my my experience might save a few of you a lot of aggravation.

Note: If you’d like to skip my tale of woe and go right to my suggestions for a (relatively) pain-free install click here…

The Installation: Take 1

The suite includes three DVDs – an install disk, a disk of documentation and “goodies,” and a video workshop disk. There’s also a small printed “Workflow Guide” that’s really more of a teaser for the new features than a useful guide.

I popped the install disk in and immediately ran into a minor problem, the installer, which is supposed to open automatically didn’t. A quick check of the Read Me file help me locate the program and get things started. I was then prompted to close all open programs including my web browser. That’s not unusual, but when problems arose, it would have been nice to be able to search for answers online without having to exit the installer.

After closing all my programs, I was ready to install, except for the fact that a copy of a Fireworks CS3 beta was causing a conflict and I wasn’t allowed to install the new Fireworks. I’ve never been a big fan of Fireworks (although it seems the new version might change that) so I figured I could correct things later and install Fireworks then. It was a BAD DECISION but it would be a while before I figured that out.

The rest of the install and the online registration went smoothly but slowly (hey, it’s a lot of programs).

I launched Dreamweaver and was prompted to activate (immediately or within 30 days) my CS3 license. Although I understand the need, I don’t like activation. There’s too many ways things can go wrong and then you have to waste time proving you actually own the software you paid for. In any case, the licensing says you’re entitled to install a second copy of the software at home or on a laptop but “You may be required to contact Adobe in order to make a second copy.” What this means is that, if you ever change computers, you have to deactivate the software on the old computer before installing it on the new one. In any case, the activation went smoothly and Dreamweaver recognized all my existing sites.

I played around with DW and the rest of the suite long enough to get excited by some of the new features and then decided it was time to go back and get Fireworks installed.

You knew it wasn’t going to be that easy

As I said, the problem was a Fireworks CS3 beta that I had installed. I ran the uninstaller (all CS3 apps have to be uninstalled, you can’t simply drag them to the trash) apparently successfully but when I tried to install the new Fireworks, there was still a conflict. Sure enough the old files were still on my disk. I ran the uninstaller again with no luck and then manually deleted the application. Again I tried to install Fireworks and, again, no luck.

After a little online research, I discovered that this is a “known issue” that occurs with users who installed certain beta versions of Fireworks or Photoshop. Fortunately Adobe offers CS3 Clean Script which deletes all of the files associated with the CS3 suite and allows a clean install.

There are however a few problems with Clean Script:

  1. It comes with this message: WARNING: Before running the CS3 Clean Script, it is critical that you back up your hard drive including all data, content, software programs, etc. Failure to do so, and failure to follow the instructions included with the script, could result in a loss of the contents of your hard drive.
  2. It uses the command line interface, which I suspect most users will find a bit intimidating.
  3. It deletes ALL files associated with the CS3 suite including all the applications I just installed. So before using it DEACTIVATE the suite. (FYI, you can access the Deactivate command from the Help menu of any CS3 application.)

In spite of my fear and trepidation, my computer did not burst into flames and the script did its job flawlessly.

The Installation: Take 2

I reinstalled the suite. There was no warning of a conflict this time and every thing seemed to go well (although it was still slooow). I opened a couple of the applications and, convinced that everything was working, I went home for the night only a few hours late.

One last issue

The next morning I launched Dreamweaver only to discover a new problem. All of my site definitions which had imported flawlessly after the first install had disappeared. It seems that Clean Script had wiped them out and the new installation hadn’t reimported them. After several minutes of panic, I realized that Dreeamweaver has a site definition export capability for moving sites from one computer to another or for simply backing up the ftp and other site information.

Using my copy of DW 8 that, fortunately, I hadn’t deleted i was able to export my site definitions. If, like me, you’ve never used this option, you’ll find the export button in the Manage Sites dialog that is accessed through the Manage Sites… option under the Site menu. You can only export site definitions one at a time. So it’s a repetitive but fairly quick (site definition files are small) process.

DW does allow you to import multiple site definitions in one step. So, after exporting all my sites, I reopened DW CS3 and imported them (the import button is also in the Manage Sites dialog, just below the export button. That took care of things and I was finally able to get back to real work.

Lessons learned

I would have saved myself a lot of aggravation if I had known to follow these steps:

  1. Uninstall any conflicting CS3 applications and betas BEFORE attempting to install the CS3 Suite
    1. If the application is a non-beta, you’ll need to deactivate it – under the Help menu – before uninstalling
    2. Be sure to use the CS2 Uninstaller program rather than simply dragging the application to the trash.
  2. If, after uninstalling conflicting applications, you still have a conflict, exit the installer and deal with the conflict BEFORE installing other programs in the suite.
  3. If necessary run the CS3 Clean Script to resolve and conflicts between existing applications and the CS3 suite but remember:
    1. It wipes out all traces of ALL installed CS3 programs
    2. Read the warning and follow the prompts exactly (it’s not as scary as it sounds).
    3. Make sure you have a recent backup (OK so it’s a bit scary)

Another note

There have been reports of the CS3 installation process turning off firewalls on Macs and the process does open access to some TCP ports for Adobe Version Cue. You might want to double check the status of things after the install.

Ready to roll

I’m finally up and running with CS3 and, I have to admit that I’m particularly excited about the changes to Dreamweaver. Its integration with the rest of the suite is a great leap forward and I can’t wait to test the improved CSS support and the built-in AJAX functions. I’m expecting a long and pleasant relationship.

Too bad it got off to such a slow start.

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