Sunday, March 4, 2018

"What Do I Do Since My Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop Failed to Update on my Mac?"

Adobe installers and updaters and authorization schemes have always been the pits, and I recently had another major run-in with them. I'd read about another round of updates for the Creative Cloud apps, and I fired up the CC desktop app to collect them. What I got instead was the desktop app itself trying and failing to update itself, with this message:

"Creative Cloud desktop failed to update (Error code: 1001)."

There was a Cancel button, which led to another screen allowing me to retry the installation or quit. So, I tried again . . . and again . . . and again. Each time I got the same error message, and always at the 43% mark. And unfortunately, the "install or quit" screen gave no other option. In other words, there was no way to bypass the desktop update and go on to updating the other apps. If I couldn't update the desktop, I couldn't update anything.

Following Adobe's instructions, I then uninstalled the desktop app and reinstalled with the downloaded installer found at

No dice. Same error, still at around 43% -- though this time the progress was shown as being divided between download and installation. The error occurred right at the beginning of installation.

So, I went to Adobe's next level of instructions. I removed the app again, but this time with the CC Cleaner Tool. Well, maybe I did something wrong, and maybe I didn't, but it removed ALL my CC apps -- and the desktop app STILL wouldn't install. So, with no way of downloading the apps again through the CC desktop, I wound up restoring everything with Time Machine. And that included the outdated desktop app itself, since without it, the apps' authorization scheme would eventually shut them all down.

OK, time to start surfing the Web. I spent hours over a period of weeks. I tried nuking a multitude of files and folders mentioned as possibly related to the problem, and others I found on my own. I even tried repairing permissions -- something not easy to do in recent versions of Mac OS. Still failing at 43%.

At one point, I figured maybe I could bypass the desktop app entirely, and sure enough, I learned I could download the individual CC apps from Adobe's Web site. So, I downloaded Photoshop and installed it -- and discovered they'd given me a version that was half a year old. That was older than the version I'd replaced! Again, I had to go to Time Machine to restore.

At last I found an Adobe forum participant, Brucgovn, who had posted about reinstalling the desktop app and turned out to know what he was talking about. Actually, his recommended procedure included more than was needed -- including using the CC Cleaner Tool -- but his post did identify possible problem folders that I hadn't seen mentioned anywhere else.

Removing all his specified folders -- nothing more -- finally made it possible to reinstall the desktop app with the downloaded installer. And then the desktop app updated all the rest. (Including Camera Raw, to a buggy version I wound up having to revert.)

So, here they are -- the folders I removed from my boot volume to fix the error. Keep in mind that your problem might not be identical, so this list might not be enough for you. But at least it will give you a better starting point than I had. (The Adobe Sync folder was not in Brucgovn's instructions -- and I didn't remove it this final time -- but it's another one replaced by the desktop installer, so it probably belongs on the list.)

/Applications/Adobe Creative Cloud
/Applications/Utilities/Adobe Creative Cloud
/Applications/Utilities/Adobe Application Manager
/Applications/Utilities/Adobe Sync
/Library/Application Support/Adobe/AAMUpdater
/Library/Application Support/Adobe/AdobeApplicationManager
/Library/Application Support/Adobe/OOBE
/Users/[Your Username]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/AAMUpdater
/Users/[Your Username]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/OOBE

You should also remove Applications and Utilities folders with names like "Adobe Creative Cloud 8.55.06 AM." These are just useless leftovers from failed installations.

Since there's no guarantee this list will work in your case, be sure to retain a copy of each folder, so you can restore it if something goes wrong. That includes preserving all folder and file permissions, because the files might not work otherwise! Ways that will preserve them include backing up to Time Machine, leaving the folders in place but renaming them, and even dragging to the Trash, where you can later use the right-click menu command "Put Back" -- unless, of course, you've emptied the Trash in the meantime.

Good luck!