Too much quality time with Adobe tech support

Two weeks ago I came home greedily hugging my new copy of CS4 Design Premium and promptly spent over 6 hours trying to get all of it to install. Eventually I got everything but Acrobat to go; I wound up getting a copy of Acrobat Reader to open client documents over the last two weeks (and still had an old copy of Acrobat on my laptop to use for editing, thankfully).

I submitted a ticket with Adobe last week and it was finally answered today, although I didn’t understand the short answer. So I called tech support – and that was the end of my workday.

I spoke with a guy I could barely understand for 1 hour and 25 minutes. I spent about 15 minutes of that re-explaining what he could have read himself at the bottom of my ticket about what I’d tried, what worked and what didn’t.

About halfway through the call it dawned on him that I had the rest of CS4 installed fine and that it was only Acrobat that wasn’t working. I could detect the light bulb going off all the way from Colorado.

So… The last thing I’d tried was creating a new user account in Windows XP and attempting to install just Acrobat. That didn’t work. I kept getting a 1714 error saying that I still had an old version of Acrobat on the computer, even though it wasn’t listed in add/remove programs.

He went away for 10 minutes while I was on hold (I was on hold for most of the phone call actually) and happily came back to report that he’d found the solution.

“Please go to Adobe and search for this page: kb406241.” That’s ( to us supportees.

I said “Yes – that’s the page I have open right here in front of me. I’ve already done that entire procedure and it did nothing for my Acrobat problem.”

Total silence on the other end of the line for all of 15 seconds. Then “please hold on one minute.”

When he finally came back, he told me that it was obvious that my registry was corrupted. The only solution left was to reformat my computer.

Ummmmm…. no. I said “no.” I don’t have a couple of spare days right now to wipe my computer. There’s no way.

So he escalated my ticket to “Tier 1 Support,” gave me a new case number and assured me that I would hear from them in 24 hours.

I hung up and went online to search for ways to fully remove old copies of Acrobat. I found a few posts that sounded promising and I followed their directives:

  • Open the registry by clicking on Start > Run > regedit.
  • Export a backup copy of the registry first.
  • Do a search for Acrobat – there shouldn’t be any Acrobat keys in the registry; I found a ton of Acrobat 7.0 ones hiding in there.
  • Delete the Acrobat 7.0 keys AT YOUR OWN RISK. Be careful not to delete anything else.

I did this, then I rebooted my computer. I logged in, put the CS4 DVD in, and crossed my fingers.

Acrobat 9 Pro installed with no problems whatsoever.

So thanks Adobe:  you told me to reformat my hard drive because of an installation issue (documented in your forums) when all I really needed to do was clean up my registry. That’s some fine tech support for the many hundreds of dollars I’ve given you over the years.


  1. My last resort is making a phone call. When I do, I am very insistent. If I have trouble understanding the agent I waste no time and am very direct “I am having trouble understanding you. Please direct me to another agent immediately.” I do not take no for an answer. I also ask for another agent if it’s clear the guy is just reading from a script that starts so basic that it’s just plain dumb.

    I always use the Adobe forums first, and have found them very useful. If the answer isn’t already there, I post a question. I think you did that, to no avail, from our previous Twitter conversation.

    I have found that email tends (I repeat “tends”) to get better results. I certainly spend less of my time.

    BTW, be sure to post your solution on the forums!

  2. I went to the forums first, that’s where I found the thread from others having the exact same issue. And yes, I did post my solution.

    I hate calling and getting someone I can’t understand, but I’m glad the problem’s fixed so I won’t have to do it again.

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