Upgrade Acrobat 6 Pro to Acrobat 9 Pro

May 2, 2009

After a lot of trepidation based on my horrible experience last July trying to upgrade my old laptop’s copy of Acrobat 6 Professional to Acrobat 9 Professional, I bit the bullet on a recent holiday Monday and decided to upgrade my main PC to Acrobat 9 Professional. To say I was expecting a hours of frustration would be an understatement.

But to my delight, the process took less than an hour and went without any major hitches. And the minor ones that did occur were *my* issues not Adobe’s.

Here’s what I did to make this upgrade process as pain free as possible:

  1. Found the old Acrobat 6 Professional serial number and wrote it down — this is needed later in the upgrade process.
  2. Closed all open Microsoft Office programs and all other programs.
  3. Created a System Restore point on the Windows XP machine.
  4. Uninstalled all Acrobat 6 Professional software using Add/Remove Programs. HINT: Uninstall in order from most recent update to oldest (e.g. uninstall 6.06, then 6.05, then 6.04 etc.), then uninstall Acrobat 6 Professional. I’m not sure how much of a difference this made, but I suspect uninstalling in the reverse order that the products were installed may prevent problems.
  5. Set another System Restore point (just in case!).
  6. Turned off my spyware- and virus-checking software.
  7. Installed Acrobat 9 Professional from the CD, entering the v9 serial number when asked. I got a message that Outlook was still open when it wasn’t (see Step 1), so I had to use Task Manager to kill the Outlook.exe process. It may have been listed because my PDA was still connected — I removed the PDA from its cradle too.
  8. Everything appeared to go smoothly and I restarted the PC when asked to do so.
  9. After rebooting, I opened Acrobat 9 Professional and was asked to register and activate the software. At this point I was asked to enter my Acrobat 6 Professional serial number.
  10. I then went to Help > Check for Updates and downloaded the most recent updates (I had purchased this product in July 2008), and rebooted when asked.
  11. After the second reboot, I opened Word and Outlook to confirm that the Acrobat icons and menu options were listed — they were.
  12. I was told that the activation failed as there were already two machines where the serial number was installed. Well, the new laptop has it, and then I remembered that the old laptop was probably still activated despite all the problems I’d had with the installation last year. And that was the case. I was able to deactivate the serial number from the old laptop (Help > Deactivate — an internet connection is required for this process).
  13. Once the deactivation was finished, I re-opened Acrobat 9 Professional on the PC and got a message about letting Adobe confirm that the deactivation had occurred, which I did.

And then it was all done! I did a quick test run by creating a PDF from a web page, and that seemed to work fine.

I felt much kinder towards Adobe that day! ;-)


  1. Upgrading Adobe is still the equivalent of oral surgery without benefit of anesthetic. I’d rather upgrade any other software I have. It’s painful, slow, and tedious. Removing and deactivating all other installations and versions is, to my mind, ridiculous. Most software will do that for you, if it needs to be done. I try to avoid Adobe as much as I possibly can.

  2. […] Update 26 July 2008: Better late than never… After dealing with the malware crisis and getting my new laptop, I FINALLY got to install Acrobat 9 on Vista on the new laptop. And I can confidently state that it works fine with Vista Ultimate 64-bit and Office 2007! Sometime in the next week or so Later, I’ll install it on my main machine. […]

  3. what if you can not find your vp serial number

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