Installing Acrobat XI Pro just worked…

June 20, 2014

After berating Adobe over many years — for their complex installation processes, their unfair pricing to non-US customers, etc. — I bit the bullet and purchased an upgrade from Acrobat 9 Pro to Acrobat XI Pro. I did this with some trepidation as this has NEVER gone well for me before.

My initial feelings about Adobe weren’t helped by the steps you have to go through to actually find a place on their website to purchase an upgrade and a downloadable one at that (yes, you click the button for buying a monthly subscription for Creative Cloud and then you get to pages where you can narrow that down and choose upgrades etc. Not at all intuitive…). However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Australian price for the upgrade (AU$239) wasn’t too far different from the US price (US$199), though there was an ‘end of financial year discount’ on at the time, so the real price for Australians is about $280.

I added the downloadable upgrade to my cart and clicked Checkout. Nothing happened. Nor after clicking it several times. I thought perhaps I needed to sign in, so I tried that and got caught up in an endless loop of Adobe trying to find my details (spinning wheel of death in Firefox for more than 20 minutes before I closed the web page). I tried this a few times, with no different result. This was not looking good for Adobe and my feelings about them… So I left it for a couple of days until I had time to talk to the sales reps on the 1800 number listed on the Australian shopping cart web page.

Deep breath… The friendly sales person suggested I clear my cookies or use a different browser, so I opened up my rarely used Chrome and was able to complete the transaction. Yay!

The download process is still pretty clumsy as there’s a download installer you have to install first (which Windows Firewall wanted to block), then the actual download, then the file extraction, then the installation of the files, then the installation of Acrobat XI Pro – all up this took about 30 minutes. And once it’s installed, you have to reboot your computer (no big deal).

Next step was to test that the Acrobat tab was added to Office 2010 (it was) and to create a PDF from a Word document. I got more messages about licensing and registration and activation, and was taken to Adobe’s website to check my profile information, though there was nothing about activation or registration I could see.

So I tried creating a PDF from a Word 2010 document again, and got another message about the product not being activated! Uh oh… I went to the About menu in Acrobat where there was an option for ‘deactivating’, leading me to assume it was activated. There was also another option for registration, so I clicked on that and found more stuff related to my profile and orders. Yep, my order was listed. Back to Acrobat to try printing a PDF (worked), scanning from my printer/scanner to PDF (worked) and then creating a PDF from the Acrobat tab in Word 2010 — finally it worked without an error message, so I guess somewhere in there or behind the scenes Acrobat activated itself remotely.

Yes, the process was quite clumsy (and not at all friendly for newcomers to Acrobat/Adobe), but the price was reasonably within range of the US price, and once the behind-the-scenes activation happened, it just worked.

And for that I’m very grateful as I expected an angry day on the phone to Adobe Support.

Now if only they could get Flash to work with Firefox…


  1. Why would you be “grateful” for something that worked (as it is supposed to – and we should reasonably expect!)??
    I get really annoyed when a product – that has doubtless had hours and hours spent designing and developing it – doesn’t work. WTF??!!

  2. Totally agree, Matt. I guess I was just surprised that it went as well as it did, considering my horrible past experiences.

  3. I came to say exactly what Matt said, but he beat me to it. Perhaps that’s exactly how Adobe want us to feel?

    So now you just find that your firewall blocks the help files? Situation normal, in my experience, although even when you do eventually manage to view them, they turn out to be about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

  4. The fact I even felt I had to write that piece is just wrong. But I’ve slammed Adobe on this blog many times for their previous installation and purchasing practices, I only felt it right to tell a mostly good news story as well. You know, just to keep balance.

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