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Adobe Creative Suite Weirdness on OS X after Manual Backup

I’d been having a problem on my main OS X machine where, every time Adobe Acrobat would try to do a security update I’d receive a cryptic error message stating that I’d modified the installation and therefore the update wouldn’t work. During use of Creative Suite products (mostly Illustrator) I’d occasional see odd quirks, like slow(-er than expected) application launching or updates that seemed to run more than once.

After some digging I eventually found that the root of the problem was a backup of my Applications folder that I’d created when I reinstalled the OS post-SSD failure.

In recovering from this failure I figured that a clean OS install would be nice, so I moved /Applications off to a corner of my disk (/Volumes/Cruft/Storage/Applications.old if I recall correctly) and let it sit, just in case I forgot to copy or reinstall something and was later wanting for it. It appears that these .app bundles (the special folders suffixed .app, such as Adobe were still being seen as valid programs, and sometimes run instead of the intended ones in the root of the drive. This resulted in updates working strangely, slow launching as they weren’t read from the SSD, and the other quirkyness that I’d seen.

Having been a number of months since I created the …/Applications.old backup and not needing anything in there I deleted it, and all was better. Adobe Acrobat updated once more, and since then everything has worked as expected.

So, if you’re having problems with Adobe application updates failing weirdly on OS X, look around for other copies of the application bundles. Maybe this is your problem as well…

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