"Adobe PDF creation cannot continue because Acrobat is not activated" error

When you try to create a PDF using Adobe PDF Printer or the Convert to Adobe PDF (PDFMaker function) feature from various applications, you receive the following error:

"Adobe PDF creation cannot continue because Acrobat is not activated."

Note: The information below is based on the Classic version of Windows XP.

Try one or more of the following solutions:

Solution 1: Make Adobe PDF Printer the default printer

To set up the Adobe PDF printer as the default printer:

  1. Choose Start > Settings > Printers And Faxes (Windows XP) or Start > Settings > Printers (Windows 2000).
  2. Right-click Adobe PDF, and then choose Set As Default.

Solution 2: Move the .tsf data file to the desktop

  1. Go to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\FLEXnet.
  2. Right-click adobe_00080000_tsf.data and choose Copy.

  3. Paste the file to the desktop or another location where you can easily find it.

  4. Go back to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\FLEXnet and delete the adobe_00080000_tsf.data file .
  5. Restart Acrobat and see if it prompts you to activate the software.

Solution 3:  Move the cache.db file

The cache.db file could be causing this issue. If the solutions above do not resolve the issue, follow the steps in this solution. 

  • Navigate to the following folder

  • Windows: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Adobe PCD\cache
  • Mac OS: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe PCD/cache

      2.  Move the following files:

  • pcd.db
  • cache.db
  • caps.db

      3.  Launch Acrobat. You are prompted to re-enter the serial number.

Note: Removing these files discards product information and serial numbers from the machine. Re-enter this data when launching the product.

Solution 4: End Process on acrotray.exe in the Task Manager

  1. With Acrobat closed, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete on your keyboard.

  2. Click the Task Manager button.
  3. Click the Processes Tab and highlight acrotray.exe in the list of processes.

  4. Click the End Process button and click Yes on the Task Manager Warning dialog box.

  5. Try to relaunch Acrobat.

Solution 5: Temporarily disable programs that perform virus scans and repair Acrobat

Programs that scan can conflict with the activation process. Before you activate your Adobe software, temporarily disable the following programs:

  • Virus protection software (for example, McAfee, Norton Anti-Virus)
  • Firewall software (for example, ZoneAlarm, Norton Internet Security Suite)
  • Software that stores deleted files or removes temporary files from the system (for example, Norton SystemWorks).

For instructions on how to disable or re-enable a program, see its documentation. To disable firewall software, contact your system administrator.

Important: Disabling the software firewall can leave your computer vulnerable. Disabling the software does not ensure that all functions of the software are disabled.

Once the software has been disabled, perform a repair of Acrobat:

  1. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Add or Remove Programs.
  3. Select the current version of Acrobat and click Change.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to repair Acrobat.

Solution 6: Create a local administrator account and then start Acrobat

A user account can be corrupt or have security settings that prevent the installer from working properly. Installing Acrobat under a new user account can circumvent these issues. Contact network administrators for assistance creating administrative accounts within a domain. If possible, create a new local administrative account using the steps below.

  1. Right-click My Computer and click Manage.
  2. Expand Administrative Tools > Local Users and Groups > Users.
  3. Right-click Users and select New User.

  4. In the New User dialog box, type Administrator in the Description field. Complete the remaining fields.
  5. Deselect User Must Change Password At Next Login and check Password Never Expires, and then click Close.
  6. Right-click the newly created user and select Properties.
  7. Select the Member Of tab and click Add.
  8. Type Administrators in the Enter The Object Names To Select field, and click OK.
  9. Click OK to close the User Properties window.
  10. Log off the current user and log in to the newly created Administrator account.
  11. Launch Acrobat again and attempt the activation process.

Solution 7: Disable all non-Microsoft services and startup items, and then repair Acrobat (Windows XP only)

Disable startup items and restart Windows in Selective Startup mode:

  1. Choose Start > Run.
  2. Type msconfig in the Open text box, and then click OK.

  3. Click the Services tab, click Hide All Microsoft Services, and then click Disable All.
  4. Click the Startup tab, click Disable All, and then click OK.
  5. In the System Configuration dialog box, click Restart.
  6. In the Desktop dialog box, click OK to start Windows.
  7. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel and double-click Add or Remove Programs.
  8. Select the current version of Acrobat or Adobe Reader and click Change.
  9. Follow the onscreen instructions to repair Acrobat.

Solution 8: Remove all previous versions of Acrobat and then repair the application

  1. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel and double-click Add or Remove Programs.
  2. Select Adobe Acrobat 9.x or earlier and click Remove.
  3. When prompted, confirm that you want to remove the selected application.
  4. Repeat the above procedure for all previously installed versions of Adobe Acrobat. Starting with the newest version and working toward the oldest.
  5. Restart the computer.
  6. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel and double click Add or Remove Programs.
  7. Select the current version of Acrobat or Adobe Reader and click Change.
  8. Follow the onscreen instructions to repair Acrobat.

Solution 9: Make sure that permissions are set correctly to the file or path in question

Note: All solutions require that you be logged in as Administrator or a user that is an Administrator.

Windows 2000

  1. Double-click My Computer.
  2. Right-click the FLEXnet folder found under C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\. Right-click Application Data and select Properties.
  3. Select the Security tab. Make certain that Administrators is listed and permissions for security is set to full control.
  4. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel and double-click Add/Remove Programs.
  5. Select Adobe Acrobat and click Change.
  6. Follow the onscreen instructions to repair Acrobat.

Windows XP Home

  1. Restart in safe mode.
    1. Restart Windows.
    2. Press F8 before Windows starts, when you see a message such as "For Advanced Startup Options...."
    3. Select Safe Mode from the list of startup options. Make sure that Safe Mode appears in each corner of the desktop.
    • If Safe Mode doesn't appear in each corner of the desktop, then repeat steps 6-8.
    • If  Safe Mode does appear in each corner of the desktop, then log in as administrator of the local machine.
    • If a dialog box indicates that Windows is running in Safe Mode, then click OK.
  2. Choose Start > My Computer.
  3. Choose Tools > Folder Options, and then click the View tab.
  4. Right-click the FLEXnet folder found under C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data. Right-click Application Data and choose Properties.
  5. Select the Security tab.
  6. Make certain that Administrators is listed and permissions for security is set to full control.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel and double-click Add or Remove Programs.
  9. Select the current version of Acrobat or Adobe Reader and click Change.
  10. Follow the onscreen instructions to repair Acrobat.

Windows XP Professional

  1. Choose Start > My Computer.
  2. Choose Tools > Folder Options, and then click the View tab.
  3. In the Advanced Settings, deselect Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended), and click OK.
  4. Right-click the FLEXnet folder found under C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data. Right-click on Application Data and choose Properties.
  5. Select the Security tab.
  6. Make certain that Administrators is listed and permissions for security is set to full control.
  7. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel and double-click Add or Remove Programs.
  8. Select the current version of Acrobat or Adobe Reader and click Change.
  9. Follow the onscreen instructions to repair Acrobat.

Solution 10: Set the proper permissions on the folder in question using the command line

  1. Choose Start > Run, and then type cmd in the Open box. Click OK.
  2. Use the following commands; include quotation marks and press Return at the end of each line. (Also make sure to enter spaces between /T, /E, /C, and /G in the third line.)

    c: cd "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\FLEXnet" cacls "All Users" /T /E /C /G administrators:F exit

Solution 11: Fix permissions on the registry key for the FLEXnet Licensing Service

The Administrators group listed below is the default local administrative group in Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

Disclaimer: This procedure involves editing the Windows registry. Adobe doesn't provide support for editing the registry, which contains critical system and application information. Make sure to back up the registry before editing it. For more information about the registry, see the Windows documentation or contact Microsoft.

There are two tasks you can perform before you do these steps to back up your current system and registry:

  • Create a restore point on your computer by choosing Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore.
  • Back up your registry immediately after you enter the Registry Editor by choosing File > Export. Give the backup copy of the registry a name and location you can remember.

Windows XP

  1. Choose Start > Run, type regedit in the Open text field of the Run dialog box, and then click OK.
  2. Back up your current registry file:
    1. In the Registry Editor dialog box, choose File > Export.
    2. Type a name for the file and select a location.
    3. For Export Range, select All.
    4. Click Save.
  3. Navigate to this key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\FLEXnet Licensing Service
  4. Right-click the FLEXnet Licensing Service key and select Permissions.
  5. In the Permissions For FLEXnet Licensing Service dialog box, verify that the Administrators and SYSTEM groups are present. Also make sure that Full Control is selected in the Allow column for both groups.
  6. Click Advanced.

  7. In the Advanced Security Settings dialog box, click the Owner tab. Then select the Administrators group (1), select "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects" (2), click Apply (3), and click the Permissions tab (4).


    Note: Select the current administrator account if the Administrators group is unavailable.

  8. In the Permissions tab, select "Replace permission entries on all child objects with entries shown here that apply to child objects" (1) and click OK (2).

  9. Click OK in the Permissions for FLEXnet Licensing Service dialog box. Windows resets the permissions for each child object to correspond with its parent.
  10. Close the Registry Editor.

Windows Vista

  1. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search text field, and press Enter. 
  2. Back up your current registry file:
    1. In the Registry Editor dialog box, choose File > Export.
    2. Type a name for the file and select a location.
    3. For Export Range, select All.
    4. Click Save.
  3. Navigate to this key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\FLEXnet Licensing Service
  4. Right-click the FLEXnet Licensing Service key and select Permissions.
  5. In the Permissions For FLEXnet Licensing Service dialog box, verify that the Administrators and SYSTEM groups are present. Also make sure that Full Control is selected in the Allow column for both groups.
  6. Click Advanced.

  7. In the Advanced Security Settings window, click the Owner tab. Then select the Administrators group (1), select "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects" (2), click Apply (3), and click the Permissions tab (4).


    Note: Select the current administrator account if the Administrators group is unavailable.

  8. In the Permissions tab, select "Replace all existing inheritable permissions on all descendants with inheritable permissions from this object" (1) and click OK (2).

  9. Click OK in the Permissions for FLEXnet Licensing Service dialog box. Windows resets the permissions for each child object to correspond with its parent.
  10. Close the Registry Editor.

 

Additional information

You have been unable to activate Adobe Acrobat or the activation has been corrupted.

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