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Virtualizing and Streaming Adobe CS4 - Part I

Created: 02 Jul 2009 • Updated: 29 Jul 2010 | 5 comments
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trb48's picture
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Last year we decided to do something new to save some money. We offer a few classes that use Adobe CS4 Design Suite Premium. In the past we had purchased individual licenses of the Adobe CS suites. Which was nice, but it has it's own set of problems. For one, each license is tied to a physical machine. Most of the time this isn't a problem. But, there are situations where it would be nice to be more flexible. Another problem is usage. We would install the software on certain computers on campus. That meant that you could only use the software on those computers. If you wanted to use Photoshop you had to wait until the computer was free (even if the person you are waiting for us just watching YouTube or playing on Facebook).

We decided to purchase concurrent licenses. This means that we can install Adobe CS4 on as many computers as we wish, but only a certain number of users are able to actually use the software. We did some usage checks and looked at the past several years of all the classes that use the Creative Suite and came up with a number. Concurrent licenses are more expensive, but for us it was a worth while purchase. Now we can be much more flexible in our environment.

Other companies that offer concurrent licenses (like AutoDesk) provide a license server. Every time you open the software (for example, AutoCAD), it checks in with the license server to make sure that there is an available license. If there is you are able to use the software. If there isn't it informs you of the problem. Adobe did not provide a license server. It turns out that you have to purchase one. That did not make me a happy camper. After trying to decide how to solve the problem I remembered that we have Workspace Streaming. We would let that software manage the licenses. It turns out that is the perfect solution for us.


After lots of testing I have a few hints that I wanted to pass on. The first deals with layer creation. I have found that splitting the software suite into two layers works best. Here is the breakdown:

Layer 1:(covered in this article)

  • Acrobat 9 Pro

Layer 2:(covered in the next article)

  • InDesign CS4
  • Photoshop CS4 Extended
  • Illustrator CS4
  • Flash CS4 Professional
  • Dreamweaver CS4
  • Fireworks CS4
  • Adobe Bridge CS4
  • Adobe Device Central CS4

There are lots of reasons why I found that creating two separate layers makes sense. Here are a few of those reasons:

  • Size: A layer with everything included is huge! Over 3 gig. That isn't a big deal until you attempt to stream the software. It is easier to have two smaller layers (for updating, exporting, etc.)
  • Updates: Acrobat has lots of updates. It is easier to deal with it's frequent updates on its own.
  • PDF Printer: Acrobat installs a PDF Printer. In order to get this into the layer you have to do a global capture. I only use that feature when I have to. In this case I have to
  • Office Add-on: Acrobat installs an Add-on into Office. That means that you have to have Office installed before Acrobat.

In this article we will talk about creating the Acrobat 9 Pro layer.

Note: There are lots of tweaks that you can do before you install Acrobat. The basic steps are covered in this article: Creating a Layer of Adobe Reader 9

Before we create the layer, you will need to do a few things. First, make sure that Office is installed. Second, make sure that all of your browsers are installed and configured correctly. Third, make sure that the machine you are working on had at least 1 gig of Ram and a resolution of 1024 x 768. Once you have all of these things you should be good to go.

Creating Layer 1: Adobe Acrobat 9

Before I start a this process I like to open My Computer and navigate to location of the "Setup.exe" I will use to install Acrobat. Now we are ready to get started.

  1. Open SVS Admin (or Symantec Software Virtualization Solution Admin)
  2. Deactivate all of your layers
  3. Click on File >> Create a new layer... (or press Control + N)
  4. Select the "Install application" radio button and select the "Next" button
  5. Name your layer so you will be able to identify what it is and how you use it (I named mine Classroom-ACS4-Acrobat9)
  6. Select the "Global capture" radio button, then click the "Next" button.
  7. We are now back on the "Install virtual software" screen, click the "Next" button to continue.
  8. On the "Create new layer" screen, click the "Finish" button to begin creating the layer

You will see a screen titled: Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium Install - Welcome:

On this screen you will need to enter your serial number. Once you have entered it, press the "Next" button.

Now, you will see the end user agreement:

Once you have carefully read it, push the "Accept" button.

Now you are on the "Options" screen. Make sure that the "Custom Install" radio button is installed:

On the right you will see a software list. Un-select everything except "Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional":

You will un-select: Dreamweaver CS4, Fireworks CS4, Flash CS4, Illustrator CS4, InDesign CS4, Photoshop CS4, Version Cue CS4 Server,, and Adobe AIR. All of the "Supporting Components" should be un-checked.

You are ready to install, so click the "Install" button.

While the software is installing, you will see this screen:

When the install is over, you will see this screen:

Click on the "Register Later" button.

We are all done:

Press the "Exit" button.

Once the install is over I suggest that you restart your computer. For some reason this seems to prevent a lot of permission problems that I have bumped into. Now, you can edit and tweak your layer to your hearts content. I suggest that before you start tweaking you make a backup copy (a.k.a. export) your layer. It is a big program, and you can never tell what will happen.

There are a few things that you will need to do to get everything working:

  • Remove the fonts from the layer
  • Add a script or vbs that will restart the printer spool (
  • Copy the folder C:\Windows\WinSxS inside the layer to the following location:
  • [WINDIR]\WinSxS (I will talk more about this in the next article)
  • After you tweak the layer make sure that you reset the layer!

Updating the layer:

Once you have made your basic updates, we need to install the updates into this layer. Here is how you do it:

  • Open the SVS Admin
  • Go to File >> Update existing layer
  • Select your Acrobat layer and click the "Next >" button
  • Make sure that the "Global capture" is selected (the PDF printer is updated)
  • Press the "Next >" button to continue
  • After you have reviewed all of your choices, press the "Finish" button

The command prompt will open, now you are ready to update the layer:

Note: If you tried to open Acrobat at this point you received the following message:

"Adobe Acrobat was installed as part of a suite. To enable Adobe Acrobat, please start another component of this suite (such as Adobe Photoshop)."

Run Adobe LiveCycle Designer from the start menu (Start >> All Programs >> Adobe Design Premium CS4 >> Adobe LiveCycle Designer) or in the command prompt ("%PROGRAMFILES%\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Designer 8.2\FormDesigner.exe". You may have to repeat this several times before Acrobat will open. If the message appears again, don't close the window (don't press the "OK" button).

  • Now, run Acrobat (C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat\Acrobat.exe)
  • Once the software is opened go to Help >> Check for updates (as soon as you can after Acrobat runs)
  • On the Adobe Updater screen click on the "Download and Install Updates" button
  • Make sure that you close Acrobat so the updates can install
  • When it is all done with the updates it will ask if you want to restart your computer. Make sure that you restart the computer later

Now that the updates are done you can stop the Global capture. Once it is stopped disable the layer and restart your virtual machine. There is one more thing that you can do if you would like. That is disabling auto-updates:

  • Open the SVS Admin
  • Go to File >> Update existing layer
  • Select your Acrobat layer and click the "Next >" button
  • Make sure that the "Single program capture" is selected
  • In the program name text box enter: C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe
  • Click on the "Next >" button
  • Now, click on the "Finish" button
  • When the command prompt opens, run Acrobat (C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat\Acrobat.exe)
  • Once again, go to Help >> Check for updates
  • This time, click on the "Preferences" button
  • Un-check the "Automatically check for Adobe updates:" checkbox
  • Click the "OK" button
  • Now you can close the Command Prompt

Note: Once Acrobat is activated on a system that has Photoshop it should work properly. It will be enabled and will function properly.


After you have completed the steps above you will have a working layer of Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional. It will be completely up-to-date. It is ready to be streamed or to be deployed in your environment. In the next article we will talk about how to create the second layer that contains the rest of the software in the CS4 package.

Comments 5 CommentsJump to latest comment

Jordan's picture

just a note, with SWV 6.1 there is a way to capture the PDF printer without using a global capture and I'll be detailing how to sometime soon.

If a forum post solves your problem please flag is as the solution

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trb48's picture

I am excited to hear that there will be a way to caputre the PDF printer without using global capture. Does this extend to all printers, or just the Adobe PDF printer?

Right now I virtualize almost all of the printers in my environment. It works great. I haven't had any problems. With that said I would love to have a way to caputre a cleaner printer layer. 

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Jordan's picture

Should work for any but the only application I have that installs one is Acrobat.

If a forum post solves your problem please flag is as the solution

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Jordan's picture

Article up

If a forum post solves your problem please flag is as the solution

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emilioVRT's picture

Hi, some of you have ever tried to remove the setup directory of Adobe Acrobat 9 from the layer (about 700MB)? Will it work fine?
In general, is a good best practice for every layer remove that type of data? (in Microsoft Project 2007 I have 300MB of installation files).

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