Help me get Adobe out of my boot sector!
November 17, 2009 1:17 PM   Subscribe

How do I COMPLETELY uninstall Photoshop CS4 to allow me to reinstall it properly? I am debating wiping my master boot sector.

I installed the trial version of Photoshop CS4 (on a Windows 7 64-bit machine) and the installer froze partway through so I powered down, started back up and tried reinstalling. However now it just does not install period.

My research seems to indicate that this is due to Adobe installing a nasty bit of code in the boot sector to prevent people from simply uninstalling the trial after it expires and reinstalling it. Unfortunately for me I never even got to use it.

I tried using RevoUninstall and then the Adobe Cleanup Script for PS CS4 and none of that worked. I have Dreamweaver CS4 installed and that still works fine but I tried doing a system restore to a point prior to installing any Adobe software and tried reinstalling and that didn't work either thanks to this little boot sector gem.

Any ideas on how to get completely rid of this so I can reinstall it from scratch? I have been debating wiping the master boot record per these instructions ( but I've never done anything like that before and am worried I won't be able to reinstall Windows properly with all my fun little Alienware extras.

So...question is how do I remove Photoshop CS4 COMPLETELY, and if there's no easy way to do that which I haven't tried already, how can I properly wipe my boot drive to remove their hidden key and get my machine operational again (I have my Windows 7 install disc and can get all the necessary drivers off the Dell support site).

Happy to answer any questions to clarify things.
posted by Elminster24 to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know if such a program exists for Windows 7, but have you tried a registry cleaner like ccleaner?

And, not to be a jerk, but have you contacted Adobe about this? It seems it would be in their interest to let you try their product.
posted by AtomicBee at 1:29 PM on November 17, 2009

Have you tried this?

I've also heard that installing it from a 2nd admin account sometimes works.
posted by Jairus at 1:50 PM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: I have not tried ccleaner but Revo should have wiped out any registry keys that were left over. From what I've read it is a boot sector key they put in there that is preventing this from reinstalling.

You're not a jerk but there is a reason I didn't contact Adobe. I didn't want to mention this in my original post (since I didn't get far enough in the installation process for this bit to be relevant and for all intensive purposes was installing the legit trial version) but lets just say I didn't exactly download my trial version from the Adobe website *cough*Mininova*cough* and lets just say that I may or may not have had plans to run the cracked patcher that would make it a full working version. ;)

But I don't want this to turn into an ethics discussion (I'm not interested in peoples opinions on piracy) and I didn't even get far enough for any of the cracked components to even be applied. So for purposes of this discussion we are just dealing with getting rid of the Photoshop CS4 trial version.

Hope that clarifies a bit.
posted by Elminster24 at 1:51 PM on November 17, 2009

Could you have had a botched installer and that's what caused the original failure?
posted by royalsong at 1:54 PM on November 17, 2009

If you didn't download from Adobe directly, the version you did get may be corrupt. As in "infected by malware". That's pretty common when it comes to "unofficial" (ahem) means of distribution of copyrighted software.

I think your next step is to download and run AntiMalware.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:01 PM on November 17, 2009

Reinstall Windows 7.
posted by Liver at 2:03 PM on November 17, 2009

Could you have had a botched installer and that's what caused the original failure?

Seconding this. With software torrents of this sort, it's hard to be sure you'll get something that will always work. Some folks who share software this way will check their work on various computers, to ensure that everything will run smoothly, while others will be in the game to be the first one to share an exploit.

You might want to find another version and run the uninstaller from that. I think uninstalling the trial version and uninstalling the retail would do different things, if Adobe really was concerned about repeat use of trial software. Of course, they could have simplified the installation procedures, and left that trial installation bit in the full installation kit.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:03 PM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: The installer was not directly obtained from Adobe, however there are several HUNDRED comments of people getting it to work correctly. I was simply being absent minded when installing it and was connected to the internet which prevented me from selecting the proper trial installation option. So my fault on that part.

I can try the uninstalled from Adobe but I am 99.9% certain it will not work because as discussed in the link Jairus posted, there is something that installs to prevent reinstallation of the trial. Looks like people weren't having luck with registry cleaners either in there.

So I guess any advice on how to properly wipe out the boot sector and reinstall from scratch with Windows 7?
posted by Elminster24 at 2:13 PM on November 17, 2009

Adobe provides a cleanup script, not sure if it works for the trial version though.
posted by hibbersk at 2:19 PM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: Hibbersk, you might want to reread my post...already tried that.
posted by Elminster24 at 2:27 PM on November 17, 2009

Enable the admin account, give it a password, and do a runas as administrator on the installer.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:21 PM on November 17, 2009

oops sorry, i missed that!
posted by hibbersk at 4:05 PM on November 17, 2009

Response by poster: Damn dirty ape, what do you mean enable the admin account? I am logged in as admin.
posted by Elminster24 at 6:42 PM on November 17, 2009

You're not alone.
posted by jewzilla at 10:31 PM on November 17, 2009

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