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Adobe CS6 is still an installation mess

Posted by BobM on May 19, 2012

I'd hoped that instead of spending all their time spraying "new car smell" over the apps, Adobe would take a little time to actually clean up the installation and user experience of them.

No such luck.


I've been using the CS5 Master Collection for a couple of years now having skipped the rip-off CS5.5 release, but figured I'd finally get with the times and move to CS6.  The upgrade price penalty for having skipped CS5.5 was a scam, so I also decided to try Creative Cloud; at $30/mo for the first year and even at $50/mo the next, it's cheaper than the $1000+ Adobe wanted for the static upgrade -- even though I'd prefer a standalone copy I actually own, but hey, what the hell, right?

The CS5 Master Collection was a mess. While it had a generally unified installer for all the apps, it was a bit clunky to use.. but you usually only had to suffer through it once.  However Acrobat came as a completely separate disc with its own installation and serial number.  OK, whatever.  Unfortunately, by the time you were done putting on this "suite" of apps, you were left with this "suite" spewed across multiple locations on your system.

Most apps wound up in a folder in your Start menu (yes, I'm on Windows) called "Adobe Master Collection CS5" (from what I remember it was actually more verbose, but I've since renamed and reorganized the mess myself.)  However, inexplicably, several random components were put in another folder called just "Adobe", like the ExtendScript Toolkit and a couple of other fragments.  An annoyance, but I guess I sort of see their logic in that these are shared components not necessarily tied to a particular CS release.  Whatever.

But then Acrobat 9 puked its self directly into the All Programs menu.  And so does the obnoxious 'Adobe Help' app.  What?  Oh yes, and Acrobat spits an icon on your desktop too, another thing I hate installers doing without asking.

Moving on to CS6, I was hoping for the best.  But, much to my dismay, Adobe is still utterly clueless when it comes to the user experience, with less understanding of organization than ever before.

I can't speak for the disc-based package, but when you join the Creative Cloud, you wind up -- with no fanfare whatsoever -- on their cloud website which serves as the management interface to the cloud its self, where you can ultimately sync, store and access document files.  There is no "Thank you and welcome to the Creative Cloud, click here to get started downloading apps." Just a grey website with a few buttons at the top and a sidebar with some other links.  Not a big deal, but a missed opportunity to welcome users to this amazing new way of giving Adobe money, which they presumably would love to force all of their users onto if they could... you know, to keep heretics like me from skipping releases.

Anyway, once you either click one of the app icons shoved over on the right or switch to the 'Apps and Services' not-really-a-tab tab, you see a big grid of all the products available to you.  Click one and you get to download and install the Adobe Application Manager, a local app which actually does the work of downloading and installing.  Keeping with the Vomitous Start Menu Syndrome, AAM puts its self in the root of your All Programs menu, and also pukes its self onto the desktop.  My eyeball twitches.

AAM is a simple app with little else to do but select an app you want to install.  You get no other choices to make, no other options, no other indication of what else might wind up on your system as well.

The first thing I put on was Photoshop.  This puts both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions on with no choice one way or the other.  I've been using the 64-bit version of Photoshop for years as I have no 32-bit plugins requiring the old x86 version.  But you get no choice... you will download and install both versions whether you wanted them or not.

It installed its shortcuts into the root of the All Programs menu.  ARRRRGGGGH.

The second thing I installed was Illustrator.  Same thing... 32-bit and 64-bit without an option, and it too puked its self directly into the All Programs menu.  Is it just me being a control freak, or is this behavior actually desireable to people?

Acrobat goes on next.  Again with the shortcuts thrown into the All Programs menu, and as a bonus Acrobat icon puked onto my desktop too.

At some point along the way a few other things appeared;  A new program folder was created specifically for "Adobe LiveCycle ES2" which contained only a single shortcut to the program of the same name.  Way to organize, Adobe!  Another shortcut to "Adobe Help" appeared, which isn't actually help at all, but rather the "Adobe Help Manager."

Next I moved on to Premire, which actually installs Premire, Encore, and Media Encoder -- again with no choice -- but they are all 64-bit only, so at least you don't wind up with 6 apps.  However, all of the shortcuts it did install wound up in a folder called simply "Adobe" - an improvement over being puked into the All Programs menu like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat did.

Why the lack of consistency -- or really any thought what so ever -- put into organization or presentation?

That's as far as I've gotten installing apps;  I can only guess where Dreamweaver or InDesign will wind up.