I need to totally remove all traces of Adobe from my laptop running OSX 10.6, and then reinstall it. I'm having serious problems with Adobe apps, specifically InDesign and Illustrator. Any tips (or list of steps) would be very helpful.

  • Be warned, you need to deactivate the software first, so you can re-activate after the install – Canadian Luke Feb 14 '14 at 20:05

First remove the standard way through Add/Remove programs then run one of the following:

Removal Tool for CS3 Products

Removal Tool for CS4 Products

These are not standard "removal tools" but they are meant to help when you want to reinstall a product from scratch when there are errors such as you said and they have helped me in similar situations.

  • 1
    +1 because this is exactly what I have done many-a-time. – ricbax Dec 2 '09 at 5:32
  • 1
    Macs don't have Add/Remove Programs. ;-) However Adobe does provide an uninstaller at /Applications/Utilities/Adobe Installers/Add or Remove <product>. The clean tool is however what Josh K is looking for. – Chealion Dec 2 '09 at 5:48
  • Running the removal tool shows no "sessions" able to be removed. I uninstalled (again), if that helps any. – Josh K Dec 2 '09 at 6:02
  • Yep, still not working. I uninstalled, then reinstalled. No dice. – Josh K Dec 2 '09 at 22:17

Some of this may be repetitive but follow these steps and you should have absolutely positively NO trace of Adobe left on your computer.

  • Remove all Adobe fonts from /System/Library/Fonts, /Library/Fonts/, ~/Library/Fonts

  • Remove all these additional fonts from the same folders:

    WarnockPro-Bold.otf                WarnockPro-LightDisp.otf          WarnockPro-BoldCapt.otf           WarnockPro-LightIt.otf             WarnockPro-BoldDisp.otf           WarnockPro-LightItCapt.otf        WarnockPro-BoldIt.otf              WarnockPro-LightItDisp.otf        WarnockPro-BoldItCapt.otf         WarnockPro-LightItSubh.otf     WarnockPro-BoldItDisp.otf        WarnockPro-LightSubh.otf          WarnockPro-BoldItSubh.otf      WarnockPro-Regular.otf            WarnockPro-BoldSubh.otf          WarnockPro-Semibold.otf        WarnockPro-Capt.otf                  WarnockPro-SemiboldCapt.otf   WarnockPro-Disp.otf                WarnockPro-SemiboldDisp.otf   WarnockPro-It.otf                       WarnockPro-SemiboldIt.otf      WarnockPro-ItCapt.otf                WarnockPro-SemiboldItCapt.otf WarnockPro-ItDisp.otf              WarnockPro-SemiboldItDisp.otf WarnockPro-ItSubh.otf               WarnockPro-SemiboldItSubh.otf WarnockPro-Light.otf              WarnockPro-SemiboldSubh.otf  WarnockPro-LightCapt.otf        WarnockPro-Subh.otf                

  • Search for and remove any files labeled 'Adobe' or 'Macromedia in all of these folders

$find . -name "*adobe*" -print
    /Applications                       /System/Library/
    ~/Applications                      ~/Documents/
    /Applications/Utilities             ~/Library/
  • Remove these explicit folders
    ~/Library/Acrobat User Data/
    ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe
    ~/Library/Application Support/Macromedia
    ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe PDF
    ~/Library/Caches/Opera Cache
    ~/Library/Preferences/Opera Preferences
  • Search for and delete the following files and/or folders:
    Acrobat Webcapture Cookies
    Adobe GoLive 7.0 Prefs
    Adobe Illustrator CS Settings
    Adobe InDesign
    Adobe Photoshop 8.0 Paths
    Adobe Photoshop CS Settings
    Adobe UM
    Adobe Registration Database
    Adobe Installer.tmp
  • Open terminal
sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash/*
  • Restart

These are great tips, all organized in one place and are probably sufficient. Of course you will want to backup your system as well as clone it prior to doing this surgery.

dcc's list neglects a few files and folders, for example /Library/Application Support in favor of ~/Library/Application Support, (i.e., suggesting only the user (~)/LibraryApplication folder) and there a few others along these lines. Check the root/Library... equivalents of the User folders as there is a lot of stuff in there.

Digging deeper into/private/var/db/receipts/ there are a bunch of adobe bom and plist files that can go..

In /private/var/db/bootcaches/ there are some incomprehensibly named folders several of which contain adobe ".playlist" files that can go.

In Library/Logs/Adobe/Installers/ there are a bunch of log files. Remove these but reserve them for further spelunking.

in /Library/LaunchDaemons/ and /Library/LaunchAgents/ there are Adobe files to be chucked.

In /Library/Internet Plug-Ins and Library/Internet Plugins (disabled) there may be Adobe files.

In Library/Frameworks/ there is Adobe Air stuff and sometimes more. Plonk 'em all.

In /private/tmp/ there may be AdobeApplicationManager. bye bye...

In /System/Library/ColorSync/Profiles/ you may find ColorSync profiles from Adobe apps. Obviously keep AbodeRGB1998.icc and others that are used universally and not used by Adobe.

If you have other User accounts then you may find a file .Adobe at /Users/[useraccountname]/ The dot in front means this file is hidden. Also, there may be another set of ~Library... and other ~/... folders and files as there was with your own user folder.

Adobe files and folders often appear in the Users/Shared/ folder.

More: ~/Library/Receipts/ ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/

As for the log files, adobe may install files that do not have the name adobe in the filename. This way you have no way to tell they are from Adobe. Using the Log files you can find some of these (if any). Also, the log files give you the times of installations. If you, for example, search on an installation date and time for your entire machine you may find files installed within a few seconds or minutes of known Adobe files. Tag these and research them. Usually you can delete them. They often have to do with DRM or anti piracy efforts. This is another recommendation that when installing an app, don't be doing other tasks while the installer is running.

Finally, there are some files labeled with only the name of the Adobe app. They might have "Bridge" or "Photoshop" in them. These can usually go.

It is possible to use a free app called EasyFind to find all of the files listed by dcc and myself in this post. Highly recommended.

To search on date and time you will want to search on (usually) Creation Date or sometimes Date Added. Spotlight has the capability of doing this. However, frankly, it misses or ignores areas of the system that seem obvious. So I use the paid HoudaSpot which, though it is just a Spotlight front end, does visit all of the system. I have a suspicion there is a way to do this in the Terminal or another freeware app that can do this but have never bothered to look.


What errors/problems are you getting?

Have you deleted Adobe files/directories in/Library/Application Support/Adobe which is different than Users/Yourshortlogin/Library/Application Support/Adobe?

  • Yes. The errors I'm getting are an Error Code 3 with InDesign when I try to export, and a complete failure to start Illustrator. – Josh K Dec 2 '09 at 16:50

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