When you purchase a volume license for Adobe Creative Suite 4, Adobe provides an option that allows you to run a silent installation with preselected options and no interface on Windows or Mac OS X. In a silent installation, a custom installer runs each product in the suite by using command-line installation tools. Silent installations are also used as basis for enterprise deployment of Creative Suite 4 products.

This document will cover the process and files necessary to run the Adobe Creative Suite 4 product silently. For additional information on this process please refer to the Adobe Creative Suite 4 Enterprise Manual Deployment Guide:


Overview of silent installation

By default, installation installs all components of Creative Suite 4 product in the default location. The interface settings will be the defaults. So, when the first Creative Suite application is launched, the user will be prompted to supply a serial number, accept the End-User License Agreement (EULA) and enter registration information. Also, the Adobe Update Manager will automatically check for available updates.

Performing a silent installation starts with configuring the appropriate XML files. During the configuration process you will create 3 XML files:

  • install.xml
  • uninstall.xml
  • application.xml.override

We have developed a tool to simplify the process of creating the files necessary to silently install the Adobe Creative Suite 4 products. The Creative Suite Deployment Tool (CSDT) will create a custom package that will reduce the steps necessary to create a package. You can download it here: 

You must have a single source of the Adobe Creative Suite 4 product installer. If you received the product on multiple DVDs or files you must create an installation point. For additional information on creating a installation point please follow, Install CS4 products from desktop | Windows XP, Vista or Install Adobe Creative Suite 4 or point products from the desktop | Mac OS. You can store the installation source locally on the machine or in a shared network location.

Configuring XML installer files

Creative Suite 4 uses XML files to configure behavior. 

  • application.xml.override
    This file configures the interface elements that appear during the first launch of a Creative Suite 4 application. You will need to create this file and place it in the main 'driver' payload folder.
  • install.xml and uninstall.xml
    These files control which components of Creative Suite are installed and uninstalled, respectively. You can modify these files to remove individual component 'payloads'. The same modifications need to be made to both files. These XML files do not require a specific name to be used during deployment.

Launching the Adobe Creative Suite 4 product with the option --record=1 will assist you in creating the install and uninstall XML files. The application.xml.override file must be created manually unless CSDT is used to create your package. For complete details on how to configure these files, see the Enterprise Deployment Manual provided above.

Silent install/uninstall for Windows

A silent installation on Windows is started by running setup.exe through a command line. Open the command prompt as an administrator and enter the following command from the Adobe Creative Suite 4 product setup.exe directory.

setup.exe --mode=silent --deploymentFile="<path to>\install.xml"
Replace <path to> with the full path to the custom install.xml you created, including quotes.

CSDT will create an installer for initiating the Adobe Creative Suite 4 product installation. Run the executable file on the command line to perform the installation.


Silent install/uninstall for Mac OS

A silent installation on Macintosh started by running the setup executable as super user through a command line. Use the following command line from the directory where setup is.

sudo Setup.app/Contents/MacOS/Setup --mode=silent --deploymentFile="<path to>/install.xml"
Replace <path to> with the full path to the custom install.xml file you created, including quotes.

The CSDT will create an installer for initiating the Adobe Creative Suite 4 product installation. Run the application file on the command line to perform the installation.

sudo UberInstaller.app/Contents/MacOS/Setup

 How to include product updates

Existing product updates can be included as part of the initial product deployment. To include product updates, use the following steps:

  1. Download the applicable updates from Adobe.com.
  2. Expand (.zip) or mount (.dmg) the product update downloads.
  3. Locate the update's Payloads folder (if it exists) and move it's contents into the Payloads folder of the single installer source you built per the instructions above.
  4. Locate the update's Extensions folder and move it's contents into the Extensions folder of the single installer source you built per the instructions above.
  5. Deploy per the instructions above.

Note: If the update you have downloaded does not have an Extensions folder, it cannot be installed as part of this deployment method.

 Troubleshooting silent installations

Use one or more of the following steps to troubleshoot silent installations:

1. Inspect the application.xml.override file

Many Creative Suite 4 deployments fail because of typos, formatting issues or other issues with the application.xml.override file. Follow the example below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <Configuration> <Payload> <Data key="Serial" protected="0">000000000000000000000000</Data> <Data key="Registration">Suppress</Data> <Data key="EULA">Suppress</Data> <Data key="Updates">Suppress</Data> </Payload> </Configuration>

Common mistakes include:

  1. Misspelled words
  2. Case sensitive words being all lower case, or all upper case (all strings, and tags in XML are case sensitive)
  3. Not using the Format > Make Plain Text option in TextEdit (Mac only - by default TextEdit saves as RTF format)
  4. Make sure that the file is called application.xml.override and has no extensions (use get info, or file properties to verify)
  5. application.xml.override file not located in the proper location (check the Setup.xml file in the Payloads folder to find the location of the driver folder)
  6. Incorrect shell commands

2. Find specific error messages in the log files.

Most errors that occur during a silent installation will appear in the installation logs. For details on how to find and read these files, see, Troubleshoot installation with install logs | CS3, CS4. These error messages might indicate what you need to do to solve the issue, or you can search on these errors in the Adobe knowledgebase.

3. Attempt a standard installation.

If a standard (non-silent) installation does not produce an issue, then there may be an issue with one of the custom installer files. Make sure the installer files have no typos and that the information in the tags (such as serial number) are correct.

If the error does occur in a standard installation, the error messages given may have additional information, or you can search for those error messages in Adobe's knowledge base.

4. Close conflicting processes/applications.

Various applications and processes can conflict with the installation of Creative Suite 4. While a standard installation will display a list of conflicting processes during the installation process, a silent install will fail and put an error message in the installation log.

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