Photoshop Elements 3.0

Having some trouble with this App. I'm attempting to do a silent install through Novell Zenworks, using their built in MSI support. I've supplied the Serial number in the ISX_SERIALNUM property both by adding it in the Property sheet in the ZenApp itself, and even by plugging it directly into the MSI itself by using ORCA to edit the MSI. The app installs fine, but when I actually go to run Elements after it's installed, I get an error about the Serial number being invalid.

I know for a fact that the number is valid though. At first I thought maybe Adobe sent us the wrong key, or that the people handling the serial numbers here may have botched it before getting it to me. But if I use the key through a manual installation, the program works flawlessly. Go figure.

Any thoughts? I'd really prefer to deploy this through an MSI, but after spending two days on it already I'm just about to take a Snapshot of the install and call it Good Enough.

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Answers (16)

Posted by: TomB 15 years ago
Orange Belt
I ran into this with this package as well.

If i remember you not only have to put the serialnumber in but you have to hash it and add it to the registry under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\currentVersion\Uninstall\{GUID}.

I forget the exact string, but I had to do a normal install and look in this registry string and find the hashed serial number.
I then added that as a reg key in the install.

I will try to find the package and look up some more detail for you.
Posted by: crazynut109 15 years ago
Senior Yellow Belt
Thanks, that's at least a place for me to start. I'll let you know if it works.
Posted by: crazynut109 15 years ago
Senior Yellow Belt

I ended up adding both of those Keys and it worked flawlessly. Thank you so much for this hint.
Posted by: it@sprunt.net 15 years ago
Yellow Belt

I've just started looking in to creating MSI scripts to automate installations of our apps. Our first app, Autocad, came with a Network Deployment feature that created an MST file and the associated deploy.exe and ini files to do the job but I'm now struggling with Photoshop Elements 3.0.

I haven't got any 3rd party apps to create MST files for the Elements MSI, should I have? I'm trying to work this out by hand, maybe that's my problem?

I've read that above thread that by adding the two keys into the Uninstall registry section it'll solve the problem. I run a quiet installation by editing the setup.ini file that was on the Elements CD. I'm using a boxed copy, so no special Volume licence media kits are used.

I've added the ISX_SERIALNUMBER property with a valid licence, the installation went through ok but when I ran the program, it errored saying the Licence was invalid.

I've checked out the Unistall registry keys and they're already there with a load of values inside containing info about the software, etc and they're exactly the same as posted above in this thread, so I can't see that they're an encrypted or encoded key that relates to the Serial number.

I'm sure there's a way to do it, as this last person seems to have cracked it, welldone! What am I doing wrong? :)

Thanks in advance for any help...

Posted by: crazynut109 15 years ago
Senior Yellow Belt
I'll be honest, I'm new to this world of MSI app deployment as well. However, my general process has been pretty much the same for each application.

1.) Install the application once as if I were installing it on my own computer. Just walk through the setup. This helps to give you an understanding of what the installer is doing and what you might have to fiddle with in order to make it a fully silent install.
2.) Attempt a straight silent install using the /qb switch for the MSI. Run the program look for errors.
3.) Attempt to fix the errors through a process of elimination. This varies greatly from program to program, so I can't really expound on this point.
Two useful sites for this have been AppDeploy, here and this one.

Beyond that, I'll offer what help I can from my experience with Photoshop Elements 3.
Basically, my remote install app is a simple DOS batch file. Something like this:

msiexec /i "Path to MSI installer" /qb ISX_SERIALNUM=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Note that I'm not using Adobe's Setup.exe that's included with the CD. I'm working strictly from the MSI itself.

After that, I import those two Registry keys listed above (which were ripped-off from my previous manual installation). They contain the encrypted version of the serial number in a registry value listed under those keys. A handy tool for importing them is to use the REG command in the command line. Simpy point it to the .REG file that you created from the manual install and have it import it into the remote machine.

I believe that was all I had to do, aside from moving and creating shortcuts for the user. I'll check tomorrow when I'm back at work and have my notes in front of me.

As to the whole issue of an MST, I've yet to figure out making them on my own. I know it can be done with Orca, a free tool from Microsoft.
It's available in the Platform System Developer's Kit, here. I've only done some cursory exploration in MSIs through this program, and I'm still trying to learn the general structure of the MSI files themselves. About the best advice I can offer for this though, is that you will need to use two copies of the MSI file. Use Orca to make all the changes you want directly in one MSI (and test it by installing it on a clean machine), then have Orca compare the new and old MSI files and write an MST based on their differences.

I hope that helps you a bit.
Posted by: it@sprunt.net 15 years ago
Yellow Belt
Thanks for your reply CrazyNut...

Someone else has said about the registry entries at...

... but I really can't undertand how they can be encrypted or hashed versions of the Serial Number because yours stated in your previous post...

... CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{5B782FFA-6A95-480D-8E0A-0954A14693D6}]
... CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{851C67EF-068A-4060-9EF5-2E3DDCD68382}]

... Are EXACTLY the same to what I have in my machine and we're not using the same Serial Number.

I'll have a look into Orca and see how that pans out.

Have you actually managed to install Elements on a fresh PC using your batch file calling msiexec and then adding the reg entries? I currently have these registry entries but my Elements still shows an Invalid Serial number Error.

What I'm eventually wanting to do is wrap up a single installer with a batch file using MsiExex and the .msi and have a parameter (the Serial Number) to the batch file that can be used in a log on script in specified computers on our network. I don't want to install the same serial across all machines and I don't want to have to pre-install the software on each machine prior to doing a silent install.

Maybe I'm missing something?

Posted by: crazynut109 15 years ago
Senior Yellow Belt
Think of the registry structure as you would the file and folder structure of your hard drive.

{851C67EF-068A-4060-9EF5-2E3DDCD68382} This is simply a folder. The last in the line. The valuable information you need will be stored here within this. Double click it and you'll see the hashed values of your CD key. That is, of course, if you've installed this manually without trying to force a silent install. Run the setup and go through everything in the normal manner of an installation. Once the installation is complete you'll notice that your key has been hashed out and stored under these 'folders'. When in Regedit, you'll notice this information stored in the right hand pane of the window. Export them to a .REG file and you'll be all squared away to go ahead with your silent install. Obviously I can't post my organizations hashed keys, but if I did you'd clearly see that they are quite different from what you're seeing on your computer. What I provided was merely their container. The location for finding them within your registry.

Best of luck
Posted by: crazynut109 15 years ago
Senior Yellow Belt
It's dawned on me that I'm not always the keenest at descriptions. So, I thought perhaps a visual cue might be of some assistance here.

Outlined in red are the areas corresponding to the registry structures you've seen me post above.
On the right in blue are examples of the data you are actually looking for. In this case, it's the uninstall information for the Gmail Notifier, rather than for Photoshop Elements.

All you need do from this point is select the key (keys, in your case) you wish to extract from the file tree on the left. Then proceed to extraction via the 'File' menu.
This will automatically take the entire structure, from 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE' to '{0228e555-4f9c-4e35-a3ec-b109a192b4c2}' and the data stored within it, write it out to a REG file, and save it to a location of your choosing.

This is what that very same key looks like once extracted into a REG file:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"DisplayName"="Google Gmail Notifier"
"UninstallString"="\"C:\\Program Files\\Google\\Gmail Notifier\\UninstallGmail.exe\""
"Publisher"="Google Inc."

You'll notice that all the data circled in blue is represented there. Just as it will be when you export those two keys above for Photoshop Elements.
Posted by: it@sprunt.net 15 years ago
Yellow Belt

Great, it's sorted!

All we need now is a SerialNumber to EPIC_SERIAL convertor! :)

Any clues where to start?...

Thanks mate, you've been a good help!
Posted by: crazynut109 15 years ago
Senior Yellow Belt
Hah! That's exactly the sort of thing Adobe doesn't want you to have.

I'm afraid that if you've got multiple licenses to worry about, you'll have to install each seperately and extract the hashed serial number from the registry for each individually.

Or (and I'm by no means condoning this) simply install them all with the same serial number and keep the others on hand as proof of purchase. If you're ever audited you'll likely have some difficult questions to answer. And answers aren't cheap.
Posted by: rpfenninger 15 years ago
Second Degree Green Belt
Thank you so much for your research. The two registry keys for the serial number and the ISXSERIALNUM Property are helping me a lot. But now I have a dumb problem (or even dumb question). When I install the msi with the qb switch instead of the graphical setup.exe it installs only 80MB to the ProgramFilesFolder instead of the 240MB. Of course when I try to start the application I get an error message telling me "...dll not found".
How can I change the msi to install everything?

Any help is appreciated.
Posted by: IT Juggler 15 years ago
Yellow Belt
Thanks crazynut for a great thread and hats off to TomB for helping to point us in the right driection!

I just successfully deployed PS Elements 3.0 using the /qb switch on the first try! I didn't have to add any registry keys either!

Once you've done the manual install to find the serial number hash, just make a note of it. (Go ahead and export the key.) Then, while you're adding the ISX_SERIALNUM property in the MSI file with Orca, go to the registry table and search for EPIC. You can prepopulate the User and Company fields as well as put the proper value in for EPIC_SERIAL. Woohoo!!
Posted by: IT Juggler 15 years ago
Yellow Belt
One thing I'm still puzzling over, though. I'd like to automatically get rid of the Registration nag. I found a helpful post here that describes a registry key to add.
I can do that with REG in a batch file, but I'd prefer to handle everything within the msi so I can push it out via GPO.

I, like others here, am still fairly new to editing msi's and such. (Thank God for Virtual Machines!) Does anybody know if it would work to simply add another row to the Registry Table in the msi? (Using Orca, of course.) I haven't tried that yet, but I must quit for now and pick this back up later.
Posted by: IT Juggler 15 years ago
Yellow Belt
I finally got a chance to pick this up again this afternoon. Here's the progress so far...
I was not able to simply add another row in the "registry" table in the msi by using Orca. I tried a couple of times and gave up.

I am attempting to deploy this via Active Directory/Group Policy, so the next idea was to create an ADM template. I started with RegToAdm by NUTS and then modified the results. I found reference material here. Here's what I came up with:CLASS MACHINE

CATEGORY "Application Settings"
KEYNAME "SOFTWARE\Adobe\PhotoshopElements\3.0\Registration"

POLICY "Don't nag me to register!"
EXPLAIN "This will eliminate the nag prompt to register Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0"
PART "Already Registered"
DEFAULT 1701340777
MAX 1701340777
MIN 1701340777

If you compare this with the reg code I mentioned before, there is one very important difference. The reg code mentions a DWORD value of 65686669, but the ADM code mentions 1701340777. Why the difference? The DWORD value is in hex; the NUMERIC value above is the decimal equivalent. (Yeah, I discovered that after trying it with the wrong value first. Oh well...) IMPORTANT NOTE about this ADM code: Since this does not reference a "policy" section of the registry, you cannot see the policy even after you import the template until you change the view/filter. Uncheck the "Only show policy settings that can be fully managed" in the "Filtering" dialog box. (Details here.)

So far everything is working, but there's one minor glitch: The desktop shortcut works, but the icon is pointing to a non-existent file. I noticed it looking wierd before, but I was focused on killing the registration nag and I didn't troubleshoot it. I was expecting the icon to straighten itself out after a reboot but, alas, it was not to be. Drat! I don't remember having the icon problem last week when I was deploying from the command line; today's tests were all GPO deployed. I'll post more when I pick up the project again. (Hopefully tomorrow, but one can never be certain when juggling responsibilities.)
Posted by: rpfenninger 15 years ago
Second Degree Green Belt
I finally found the reason why the installation was incomplete: there is a custom action which called the installation of the common.msi. So I had to include not only the data1.cab file but the common.msi as well in the installation folder. I don't know probably this is unique to the german installation.
Surprisingly I didn't get an error saying that the common.msi file can not be found. The action must have been skipped.
Posted by: olaybolx 14 years ago
Yellow Belt
I had the same issue with the English version and the common.msi file.

I didn't read your whole post but why are you not using an MST file? That's what I did and it worked fine, no issues very easy. From a few posts I've read no one seems to want to use MST files, they jump straight into the vendors MSI.
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