Adobe CS3 won’t install

Users are complaining that Adobe Creative Suite 3 simply won’t install. I’m one of them, running 32-bit Vista Professional. Pop the DVD in, click Install CS3 Web Premium, setup starts running, then silently closes. No error message, no install either.

Of course I have tried a few things. I’m not the only one struggling: the Adobe user forums are full of similar problems. Note: similar but not identical. There appear to be multiple issues, and not just on Vista but on XP as well. Here are some popular solutions:

I’ve tried the first two without success so far, on two different machines. Next stop tech support.

It looks to me as if Adobe is having Windows Installer issues. Perhaps nobody had time to read and observe the Tao of the Windows Installer. Still, I reckon Adobe could do a better job with the error logging and reporting. There are installer logs by default in \Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Installers\, but mine have nothing helpful; no errors are reported. The Windows installer supports a detailed logging mode, but it seems difficult to enable with this particular installer. The calls to the installer itself are wrapped by some kind of Adobe package manager, and the .msi files are designed to prevent you from opening them directly.

Here’s what I get if I run setup from a command prompt:

Begin Adobe Setup
UI mode: Full GUI
End Adobe Setup. Exit code: 4

Hardly illuminating. If I do the silent mode, I get Exit code: 7 instead.

The bottom line is that I have no clue what is going wrong. Perhaps it is a campaign to promote the Mac version. I’ll keep you posted.


I fixed it. First, the logging was more helpful than I realised at first. In the Installers folder mentioned above, there is a file called:

Add or Remove Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium 1.0.log.gz

I’d not looked at this because I also had a file called:

Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium 1.0.log

It turns out that the former is more useful than the latter. Of course it is compressed in .gz format, which Vista does not understand, but the open source 7-zip archiver takes care of that. So I extracted the log and found this entry:

DEBUG: Error 2739: Could not access JavaScript runtime for custom action Internal Error 2739.

That gave me something to troubleshoot. I soon found this article which says to re-register JScript:

regsvr32 jscript.dll

from an administrator command prompt. I was away; the setup ran fine after that.

Incidentally I did call tech support, but the techie didn’t help directly; he asked me to email the log though, and it was looking at that which gave me the answer. Now I can get on with the review…

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122 thoughts on “Adobe CS3 won’t install”

  1. I was having the same error, had a look for the word error in the log.
    [Error 1327.Invalid Drive: H:]
    As it turns out, the locaiton of my documents is a network drive. i changed it back to the local disk and the install it works fine.

  2. thank you thank you thank you. That took 2 seconds. I wish I had of found this site a week ago!
    Thanks thanks

  3. I need help! I own Adobe CS3 and had it installed on my computer. It worked well for about 9 months. Yesterday (when I had Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Flash Video Encoder all running) it froze and I got a message that said: Encountered a problem. Uninstall and reinstall or talk to your IT professional.

    I did that. Several times! I also did two system restores and several virus scans to make sure the problem wasn’t on my computer. It simply won’t install! It successfully downloads the adobe reader but not anything else.

    I’m running Windows Vista.

    I’m really stuck!

  4. @Amanda as mentioned above the way to troubleshoot setup problems is to log the install and see where it is failing.


  5. Thank you so much Tim. Unfortunately, (though I hate to admit stupidity), I don’t understand the above thread and I can’t seem to figure out how to apply it here. 🙁

  6. I tried everyone of the above solutions and none works for me, i still triyin to instal my adobe cs4 suite in windows vista and windows 7

  7. My problem is slightly different, CS4 setup gets stuck right after launching, and although it appears to be a running process in the task manager, nothing really happens. I’ve tried it with all antivirus and firewall off. I’ve also checked my log files but honestly there’s nothing in it that i could interpret.
    I’d highly appreciate any help.

  8. Need help with CS3 just one day stopped working on my mac book pro. The system shows the new install but the software won’t open.
    What could be the problem.
    Jim K

  9. I don’t know why this page didn’t come up in previous searches but it did today. I couldn’t get CS3 to install on my new Toshiba laptop with Win7. I’ve read several websites and tried a few different things, including downloading a 500 MB file to install XP mode. I found this page today and tried it even though it is a suggestion for Vista. Well, it worked!!

    Oh, I also put the User Account Control slider to the bottom. I don’t know it that helped but I read it somewhere.

    Thanks so much!

  10. I can’t install Adobe CS3 Illustrator because the setup requires the Internet Explorer to be closed even though it is not open. I have even tried uninstalling Interner Explorer but the setup displays the same error.

  11. Hi, when i try to install cs3 like the installation is done but no icon was on desktop and i gotta run it again and again with no success )=

  12. For Windows 7, CS3 was failing with Exit Code 7 and I struggled to figure out what it was. After reading this blog and finding out the .gz was the ‘verbose’ log file, I checked it out and found out setup was failing because I didn’t met the Windows XPWindows Vista requirement. Once I found that out, setting the compatibility flag to Vista SP2 solved the error!

    In order to script it, I used the following command to add Setup.exe to the registry before installation:

    REG.EXE ADD “HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionAppCompatFlagsLayers” /v “C:YOURCUSTOMPATHSetup.exe” /t REG_SZ /d “VISTASP2” /f

  13. People: You can solve this problem with Compatibility Administrator, using a Fix Mode WindowsVistaSP2VersionLie, make to the setup.exe then save the fix and install in the windows 7. That’s all. Work it.

  14. Worked for me!

    I re-registered jscript exactly as you said. Worked a treat. Many thanks Tim.

  15. My CS3 was working fine, and now it will not open my images with the following statement: COULD NOT COMPLETE YOUR REQUEST BECAUSE THE FILE-FORMAT MODULE CANNOT PARSE THE FILE ….whatever that means. Is there a fix for this??? They are all .jpg files. Thanks for the help.

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