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I’ve recently been dealing with a problem with Adobe Acrobat Pro where the Adobe PDF Printer won’t install and work correctly. I’ve worked through a number of steps and have gotten the driver and printer to the point where it will install and print to any locally accessible location (not a network location).

Just like a bunch of others, installing Acrobat completed successfully and the program works, but the Adobe PDF printer isn’t available in other programs. I tried some of the standard steps, adding the printer manually, using the printUI.dll command line options, but I’d still get an error like Element not found

Reading the AdobePDF.inf file and finding that it required core printer driver {D20EA372-DD35-4950-9ED8-A6335AFE79F1} and finding that it was missing led me to track down missing or different items on a computer that was working. I gather that the Adobe items listed below would be delivered by the installation if the Core Printer drivers were correctly in place. I should note that some of the files copied in the first step were Adobe files, but some are PS* files. Here is a list of the files copied in that step

Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
—- ————- —— —-
-a— 23/09/2012 5:43 PM 66 ADGELP.INI
-a— 23/09/2012 5:43 PM 55432 AdobePdf.dll
-a— 23/09/2012 5:43 PM 26768 AdobePDFUI.dll
-a— 28/06/2015 9:50 AM 20292 ADPDF9.BPD
-a— 23/09/2012 5:43 PM 28058 ADPDF9.PPD
-a— 23/09/2012 5:43 PM 39048 ADREGP.DLL
-a— 23/09/2012 5:43 PM 1294472 ADUIGP.DLL
-a— 22/08/2013 10:31 PM 2899968 PrintConfig.dll
-a— 5/12/2014 3:01 PM 885248 PS5UI.DLL
-a— 19/06/2013 12:44 AM 26038 PSCRIPT.HLP
-a— 19/06/2013 1:09 AM 1062732 PSCRIPT.NTF
-a— 5/12/2014 3:01 PM 649216 PSCRIPT5.DLL
-a— 19/06/2013 1:09 AM 1293180 PSCRPTFE.NTF
-a— 19/06/2013 1:09 AM 5561 PS_SCHM.GDL

The steps I’ve undertaken to get a functional Adobe PDF printer created are:

1. Copied Adobe files from “C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\x64\3” on a working PC
2. Copied adobepdf.inf_amd64_8372a4bb5d1330af.cab from “C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\x64\PCC” on a working PC
3. Added registry keys in [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Print\PackageInstallation\Windows x64\CorePrinterDrivers\{D20EA372-DD35-4950-9ED8-A6335AFE79F1}]
4. Added registry keys in [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Drivers\Version-3\Adobe PDF Converter]
5. I tried restarting the Print Spooler, but could only add the printer manually, not using the rundll32 printui.dll,printUIEntry commands
6. Added the registry keys in [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Printers\Adobe PDF]
7. Restarted print spooler

The two main things I’m not sure about are why the Core Print Drivers weren’t installed and functional and why a command like rundll32 printui.dll,printUIEntry /if /b “Adobe PDF” /f”C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat 11.0\Acrobat\Xtras\AdobePDF\AdobePDF.inf” /r “Documents/*.pdf” /m “Adobe PDF” didn’t work automatically.

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Adobe’s C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Adobe PCD\cache\cache.db file contains important information including licensing. I’ll go through ways to view and modify this file.

Adobe in recent times have taken to keeping licenses and other information like EULA acceptances in a file called cache.db. This file is located in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Adobe PCD\cache. Deleting this file and then letting the relevant programs re-create the file is a common method of dealing with issues with serial numbers, EULA, language information but this isn’t always ideal. If your product is legitimately licensed but you don’t have the key handy, then you’ll be back to trial mode. If you’re still getting EULA messages the information is in here. I’ll go through a few things I’ve found about how to investigate and modify this file.

Opening the cache.db file with notepad doesn’t show a lot, but it should start with SQLite format 3. This was enough to lead me to investigate SQLite and to find something else to view the file. SQLite Browser will enable you to open and view the cache.db file. Once you open it up then navigate to the cache.db file (maybe take a copy) you’ll see the database structure which is basically 2 tables: pcd_meta and domain_data. Choose the Browser Data tab, then select the Table domain_data.

You should see 4 columns, domain (which is always 1), subDomain, key and value. Most of the entries in the subDomain column will be one of three types: a GUID, a serial or a LEID.

The GUID entries are standard Microsoft 32 character GUIDs and these should match with an entry in the registry inside HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall.

For instance {A1BC7068-C1BA-410F-8B9A-DB807C803DE2} would correspond to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{A1BC7068-C1BA-410F-8B9A-DB807C803DE2} which would show you DisplayName = Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium. So you’ll be able to see which product these relate to. For these entries if there is a key named EncryptedSerial, the value column would show you just that, the serial number that Adobe has encrypted.

In some cases these encrypted serials will also appear in the subDomain column and for these values you might see some keys called things like PPAID, PPCGO, PPAPP, PPSUITE and so on. In particular PPAPP might show something like Acrobat X Pro, so you could decuce that those entries would relate to Acrobat.

The third type of entry in the subDomain column is a LEID (licensing identifier). These will look like ElementsOrganizer-EMT11- Win-GM or AcrobatPro-AS1-Win-GM{|}ALL. The first part before {|} is the LEID and afterwards is the language. These entries were the ones I was most concerned with and they have entries in the key field like EULA_ACCEPTED, IsProductActivation, LineCU 2 or Acrobat_Base_10.0. The value fields for these rows will contain values relevant to that key.

From looking at this table you might be able to guess quite accurately if a EULA has been accepted, if a serial has been entered, which suites or applications are installed. Adobe’s installers seem to use the information here to detect if a product is already installed and other information about it.

So after that explanation, what can you do now that you know this? Well using SQLite Browser, you can modify the database directly. Change, remove or add the entries you like, then MAKE SURE you save the database. You can also compact the database from the File menu if you like.

If you’re like me and you administer large numbers of systems, you may be looking for ways you can manipulate this database in an automated way. There are a couple of main methods for this.

The Adobe Provisioning Toolkit provides an executable which can do plenty of things you may be interested in. Ultimately it modifies the cache.db file and if you use APTEE you could observer what it changes in cache.db. In my case this didn’t help because I wanted to accept EULAs and couldn’t work out what a DriverLEID was compared to a LEID.

Another option, which is what I went with is to use SQLite and to get the command-line shell. This gives you the option to complete SQL commands on the file and you can read up about SQLite. You can complete your typical database operations to select, modify, delete and all of that. For my purposes, I worked out the entries in cache.db I wanted to change (or create if they weren’t there) by comparing a before and after cache.db with SQLite Browser and created the list of commands I wanted. Then I used a command line with SQLite to run all of these.

So a SQLite commands file might look like:

insert or replace into domain_data values (1,”AcrobatPro-AS1-Win-GM”,”EULA_ACCEPTED”,0);

insert or replace into domain_data values (1,”ElementsOrganizer-EMT11-Win-GM”,”EULA_ACCEPTED”,0);

.quit

and the command to run this in a Windows command prompt would look like:

sqlite3.exe “path\to\cache.db” < mycommands.txt

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If you’re getting an error in Acrobat X like “Online Help content cannot be displayed. Verify you can launch your web browser and have access to the Internet.” but don’t like the less than acceptable solutions Adobe provides don’t lose hope, there is a workaround!

  1. Check if you have a file C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Help\en_US\acrobat\X\pro\using\helpmap.txt
  2. Check it isn’t empty
  3. Either way, make sure it has a line that looks like this (note that those gaps should be tabs except the spaces in “Home Page for Pro”:

AH_HOME WS76F8368A-2F01-421d-9437-06EEB1C68BA4.html Home home.xml Home Page for Pro

The helpmap.txt file that Acrobat X produced for me in 10.1 had a whole lot more than that, which you can see in the uploaded helpmap.txt.pdf file.

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