Monday, August 23, 2010

Warning: Acrobat 8.2.4 Causes Crashes

It's been a long time since I posted here, I apologize for the lack of updates. It's been a little difficult to encourage myself to draw after my grandmother's passing. I have some sketches scanned though, and I'll sort through those soon to share. I also have some recently completed projects that I'd like to share as I'm pretty proud of how well they turned out for my clients :)

Unfortunately, I'm resuming posts with some bad news. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen my tweets about the issue I had with an Acrobat update recently. the Acrobat Pro 8.2.4 update crashed the program within seconds of launch, even if I didn't open a PDF!

You can also see that other mac users have encountered this issue, with complaints in this thread on the Adobe forums.

Here's the error I received:
Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional cannot be launched at this time. You must launch at least one other suite component (such as Adobe Photoshop) before launching Acrobat 8 Professional
(launching Photoshop and Illustrator multiple times did not help at all)

And now, the "solutions"
  1. Try this support article. Notice how old it is? Seems strange for it to resurface and be triggered by an update, doesn't it? (you may receive a serial number error if you use a suite, I certainly did)
  2. In the Acrobat preferences, make sure "only use certified plug-ins" is checked.
    (this was a tip from a friend on Facebook. Thanks, Kory Wenzler)
  3. On a mac, go to Applications>Utilities>Disk Utility, select the relevant drive and the "first aid" tab, click "repair disk permissions."
  4. Deactivate, uninstall, and reinstall your entire Creative Suite. It may not work to uninstall and reinstall just Acrobat (but you can try that first to see if it saves time). When you install updates, I suggest avoiding the latest one for Acrobat 8 Pro. (8.2.4). Then, you may also want to disable updates for Acrobat.
After I tried the support article and the suggestion from Kory, I spoke with an agent on the Adobe website via live chat. They couldn't help and suggested I call for support. However, when I asked if the call was free, they ignored my question and ended the conversation. In my experience, it's better customer service to say "I don't know" than to ignore your customer. But that's not really the issue here.

I was quite annoyed when I called and started speaking to an agent, explaining that I was having an issue because of an Adobe update, that he said the call was going to cost $39. I refused to pay and asked to speak to a manager, reiterating that this was an issue caused by Adobe and that there was no reason for me to pay for something that was their fault. When the agent came back on the phone after speaking with the supervisor, he said I didn't have to pay for the call. That was the closest I got to any support agents actually acknowledging that Adobe was at fault for the issue.

I ended up spending about two hours on the phone getting shuffled around to different agents, repeating myself each time to explain the issue (and re-confirm my contact information – this seemed like a waste of time. Shouldn't they pass on the info when transferring?). A couple times I was misdirected to Windows support although I always said I'm using a mac running OS X 10.4. For a while I was also misdirected to installation support because the first agent moved folders on my computer (as in the support article, although I tried that before calling and told him so) and didn't put them back when his "solution" failed.

It was very frustrating to even get someone to confirm that there was, in fact, absolutely nothing wrong with my serial number. I think at least three people checked it before one finally said "you're right, your serial number is good." Yet they didn't know the reason for the error. I can only guess it has something to do with it being a suite. When I explained that I had a similar issue with the serial number back when I first installed the suite because of trial versions, an agent misunderstood and said I had to uninstall trial versions. I had to clarify that I don't have any trial versions, I simply meant it was a similar error. And also, if I moved the folders back, that issue disappeared but the original problem returned.

The worst agent by far was the last one I spoke with. She was the one who said I had to reinstall the entire suite. She claimed there were files corrupted on my computer (though she had no reason to make this assumption). When I said I didn't want to lose my preferences, custom templates, custom swatch libraries, etc., she forgot that there is an option when you uninstall to not touch the preferences. Instead, she moved the preferences folder for my computer account, which messed up many of my user settings later and not all of them could be restored by moving things back.

Please, Adobe, do not let your support agents move things they shouldn't touch!

This woman also repeatedly forgot that I use Acrobat 8 (how do you forget the version number mid-conversation?). That was the worst customer service experience I've had in my life. She didn't want to listen to me at all, kept treating me like I didn't know anything although I explained what I had done multiple times, and then made things WORSE on my computer after lying and saying files were corrupted. The only non-destructive thing she did was tell me to repair disk permissions. Which didn't help. After I started the uninstallation, she asked to share my screen again so she could move more folders. I told her it was too late for that and I couldn't stop the uninstallation. I was very frustrated and disappointed by her behaviour and attitude.

If this is how Adobe offers support, and this is what they charge $39 for, it really discourages me from upgrading in the near future. I had been considering for a while whether or not I should upgrade to CS5 (which would also require upgrading my operating system to Snow Leopard, from Tiger). But now, I think it's best to save my money and wait until there's a CS6 suite (and possibly an Acrobat 10, since Acrobat seems to have a different release schedule).

The reason I called Adobe in the first place is that I use Acrobat a lot to create and/or edit forms, comment on PDFs, etc. I need to be able to use the program without it crashing within seconds of launch. If I'm quickly viewing a PDF, I generally use Apple's Preview because it loads much faster.

I think I'll take my chances and no longer get the updates for Acrobat Pro 8. I'd rather have a working version than a useless one.

Adobe has acknowledged that this is a bug, but it took about a day for them to release a statement and apology. They've yet to offer a real solution other than revert to an older version or reinstall. I find it very discouraging that they didn't seem to test this update before releasing it. That seems somewhat irresponsible. At the very least they should make sure that updates don't completely break a program.

I am very disappointed, as are many others who need to use Acrobat 8 Pro regularly. Hopefully this will be properly remedied soon. I think what bothers me the most is that the support agents I spoke with never seemed to want to acknowledge that this was a bug caused by Adobe (aside from agreeing to not charge me for the call). If the "solution" is to reinstall the suite, that is not a real solution and it's time to file a bug report. I wish I'd known an easier way to simply file a bug report, since the support agents didn't seem to think of that. Next time I have an issue, I think I'll head to the Adobe forums first. Adobe staff is clearly paying attention to what's written there, and it would save me from making a phone call that doesn't actually help me any.

I apologize, this probably all sounds rather scathing. I do like Adobe's software in general and I regularly use a variety of their programs quite heavily. To have a program completely stop working because of an update though, was quite inconvenient. And the customer service response I had left me very upset.

Regardless, I hope that anyone who encounters this horrible issue finds the steps above somewhat helpful, although they are not a real solution.

Next time, I promise to write a more positive post!

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4 Comments:

Blogger hotfive said...

Hear, hear!

I just checked to see whether Adobe had posted an actual fix on their forum dedicated to this nightmare, to no avail. It's surprising that they're letting people dangle this long. I'm not wanting to uninstall and reinstall everything, and am hoping they release a downloadable update that undoes what last week's "update" did.

The whole thing is surprising.

August 23, 2010 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I agree. It's very surprising that they let this happen and there is still no real solution. I hope that the problem gets fixed soon, but it would be nice if they offered people a better temporary fix than "reinstall the software." Something that forces the program to revert to the previous update would surely be useful to many people.

It was quite time-consuming to uninstall and reinstall my entire suite and then download the updates that don't break things. I am, like many others, using the software for work. It needs to function properly or I can't do some of my work.

I feel sorry for agencies who have this problem on multiple computers. That really must be a nightmare!

August 23, 2010 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger hotfive said...

In case anyone reading this still needs their fix--I just got mine here:

http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/861/cpsid_86169.html

It's still version 8.2.4; but now it works.

August 28, 2010 at 3:50 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Thanks for sharing, I checked the article on the 25th (Adobe Support called me to follow up), but there wasn't a patch yet.

I'm glad there's finally a real fix up now, but I can't say I want to let Acrobat automatically download updates in the future. It took too long for this to be solved and reinstalling is not always practical. Even when it's possible to do so, it's very time-consuming.

I think that, in future, if I download any updates for Acrobat, I'll wait a week to make sure there are no issues caused by it first, just to be safe.

August 28, 2010 at 8:10 AM  

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Hi! My name is Emily.

Welcome to my art blog. I am an independent graphic designer and illustrator from the Toronto area. I create print and web solutions for a variety of businesses and individuals with a personal touch and conscientious approach.

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