Disk or download? It sounds like the installer is damaged.
You can download the installer from Download Adobe CS4 and CS3 Free Trials Here (incl. After Effects) | ProDesignTools if you follow the directions on the page EXACTLY. Demos are the same as the regular installer, so if you have your serial number you should be fine.
Thanks so much, Peter! You're a lifesaver -- almost, anyway.
I was unaware of the demo downloads of legacy CS products. A great resource!! I followed your directions, got the download, and tried to install InDesign CS4, but received the same message as with my CD: "The installer database is corrupt. Please contact Adobe Customer Service." I have to think it's something wrong (some software conflict??) with my less-than-a-year-old Intel i7 HP laptop, which I just got back from HP repair with the hard drive wiped. (It wouldn't boot. They said it was a memory chip problem and that they couldn't save my data.) To test my theory, I think I'll temporarily install InDesign CS4 from my CD on a friend's computer and see what happens.
Not sure what else to do but watch closely for any future odd behavior from this machine and, in the meantime, get Scribus or maybe PagePlus (never liked Publisher). Bummer! As a retired writer/graphic designer, I can't afford Adobe's latest and greatest, although I use InDesign a great deal -- and can easily make do with Photoshop Elements.
Any suggestions from you or others would be greatly appreciated. I'm certainly not looking forward to recreating a lot of documents in a lower-ranked program.
I don't think it will help, but you can try running Cleaner Tool (CS Cleaner Tool for installation problems | CCM, CS6, CS5.5, CS5, CS4, CS3). What you are describing now sounds more like a problem in Windows than in the application.
Anything short of a hard drive failure of some sort should not have required wiping the system, but that seems to be standard procedure for factory service.
Have you been able to install any other software?