13 Replies Latest reply on Jun 25, 2015 10:00 PM by idiotadoctus

    CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...

    idiotadoctus Level 1

      ...and still no go.


      I have CS4 Design Standard for PC.

      I searched the forums for solutions, and tried applying all fixes listed here:


      I tried reinstallation.  I uninstalled before reinstalling.  (Note: I was of course unable to deactivate before uninstalling, because I could not open any CS4 programs in order to do so).

      On reinstall, initialization froze at about 80% complete.


      I then manually cleaned the registry of most leftover Adobe items, and tried again.

      This time initialization aborted with "Setup Error...cannot continue. Contact customer support".


      I contacted chat support.  They verified my license, but other than that said they couldn't help me, and I should use this forum.


      I re-searched the forums, and also some on Google, and carried on...


      Tried installing through the separate Administrator login on my computer. Initialization aborted as before.


      I then tried deactivating antivirus before reinstalling, as per https://forums.adobe.com/thread/839191?tstart=0

      (I had forgotten that install instructions had said to do this). I also disabled my firewall.

      This changed nothing.


      I then checked to see if FLEXnet service was actually running, as it should be [because I had set it to Automatic (delayed start)].  It wasn't.  I tried starting it.  It gave an access denied message.  I reset FLEXnet startup to Automatic.


      I then logged on as admin and verified that FLEXnet was on Automatic startup.  However, it wasn't actually running at the moment.  I started it, and tried to reinstall CS4. (Anti-vi & firewall disabled).  Still no change.


      I have a licensed and legit copy of CS4.  I have six YEARS worth of work done in InDesign that is now useless to me.  This error 148:3 just came out of the blue.


      Sorry if this was too long.  Any help will be way appreciated.

        • 1. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
          idiotadoctus Level 1

          Why am I not surprised that, after several days, no one has responded to my query?

          Answer: From the beginning I considered it quite possible that Adobe doesn't give a damn about supporting their product, but they do give a damn about making money.  Why else would their whole "support" strategy consist in shunting all inquiries toward the cheapest possible solutions: Chat and the Forums?

          Chat is a joke.  Their "solution" consists in simply declaring "I am sorry, but I am not trained in that product.  Please refer to the Forums."

          The Forum "solution" consists in ignoring the issue.  (Understand I am addressing the Forum staff, not the noble volunteers.)


          As for phone support, after X number of days, it's not available unless you want to pay for it.  And why should I pay for it?  I am talking about a problem that my own ignorance, negligence or stupidity did not cause.  Licensing just stopped working out of the blue, after six years.  The cause was only one of two possible things: A defect in Adobe's licensing security software, or a defect in Windows (maybe some update).  It was either Adobe or Microsoft that caused it, and the assumption has to be Adobe, since I have never had any other software in Windows tell me "licensing has stopped working".  I have NEVER asked Adobe for support in anything up to now.  I'll be damned if I'll pay for support for a problem that Adobe or Microsoft caused.

          Again, this is a perfectly legitimate, paid for, licensed copy of CS4, and I can prove it by producing a serial number and a scan of a receipt, if necessary.


          Yes, I'm ticked off, and please don't expect me to apologize.  I have a right to be ticked, and I ought to be, when I have paid a company for the right to use their software, and that right is arbitrarily taken from me.  I have all sympathy for Adobe insofar as there are so many people in today's corrupt world who are morally dead, and don't hesitate to pirate copies.  I am not one of those people.  The solution for Adobe here is not to even the score by committing piracy themselves against their own customers.

          • 2. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
            BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

            The Creative Suites forum gets very little activity and since your issue is InDesign related I'm moving it to the InDesign forum where hopefully someone will be able to help, but please keep in mind that regardless of how upset you are, you are speaking to, for the most part, volunteers, not Adobe.

            • 3. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              What version of Windows?


              When you uninstalled, did you run the cleaner tool? CS Cleaner Tool for installation problems | CCM, CS6, CS5.5, CS5, CS4, CS3   and you should try reinstalling after running MSconfig to turn off all non-essential startup programs and services (leave Bonjour and the Apple service starting with ##Id_String... if they are there, along with your mouse driver). You can return to normal startup after the install. You may need to run the licensing repair tool again as well.

              • 4. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
                idiotadoctus Level 1

                Dear Bob,


                I was perfectly clear about whom I was addressing.  As I said:

                "The Forum "solution" consists in ignoring the issue.  (Understand I am addressing the Forum staff, not the noble volunteers.)"

                I was given to understand by Chat Support that there were people on Adobe staff that would address this problem, but within the Forum, and so I wasn't even expecting any volunteers to be involved.

                BTW, I spent some time on the Pagemaker forum back in the late 1990s, and I recognize your name as one of the top 5 or so contributors back then.  You are obviously one of the noble volunteers I was speaking of, and toward whom my rant was precisely NOT directed.

                So thanks for helping out -- again.  It really IS valued.

                • 5. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
                  idiotadoctus Level 1

                  Dear Peter,


                  Thanks very much for some new ideas.

                  I'm sorry I forgot to give my version of Windows: 7 Home, SP 1.

                  I tried to run the cleaner tool, both through my user account and admin account.  In both cases the command line box opened, showed several lines of text for about a half second, and then closed.  No log files were found, even with a global search under Tool.log and tool.log.  This doesn't surprise me, because after uninstall prior to attempted reinstall I had manually cleaned out the registry of a lot of leftover CS4 related entries.  The cleaner probably isn't seeing what it expects to see even in order to begin working.

                  As for the other suggestions, I haven't had a chance to try them yet.  I'll do so ASAP.

                  Thanks again.

                  • 6. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                    There are some Adobe staffers who hang out in the installation and setup forum, primarily, and they have their hands full dealing with problems related to current release issues, which, sadly, are the only ones paid Adobe people seem to be authorized to assist. There is no "forum staff" similar to a tech support line, and in my experience the folks on the chat don't really know what they are talking about most of the time.

                    • 7. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
                      idiotadoctus Level 1

                      Thanks for the observations, Peter.

                      You know, there seems to be something of a mystery here.  Adobe

                      obviously, and for a long time, has profited well because it has

                      established a cadre of knowledgeable and dedicated users who are willing

                      to share their expertise on the forums.

                      It seems things have progressed to the point where product support --

                      even for problems that are of Adobe's own making -- is handled for Adobe

                      for free by forum participants.

                      Nice deal if you can get it.

                      But the mystery is: Why are users so loyal to a company that so

                      cynically uses them for slave labor?

                      I could understand if the company did its part in standing by its

                      products.  But now it's like they're saying: "Hey, the forums are doing

                      a great job for free, we can afford to adopt the attitude that if the

                      forums can't handle your problem, too bad for you."

                      It won't end well for Adobe.

                      • 8. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
                        idiotadoctus Level 1

                        Dear Peter,


                        So I tried installing without non-essential services.  That didn't change anything.  I reran the License Recovery tool twice.  Still no change.

                        It seems I  did overlook a couple of things in the document posted here:




                        One of them I tried already: Making sure that FLEXnet is set to the proper logon, and is started before attempting to install.

                        No go on that one.

                        I may try the other (renaming the FLEXnet folder).

                        At this point I've pretty much stopped caring.  Now I think about it, the greater part of my six years of work was, thank God, sent off to the publisher about two weeks before CS4 broke on me, so because they have a working version of InDesign, last minute corrections can be done if needed.  The other major project I've got wrapped up in ID has already been outputted to PDF, and although it needs some corrections, I can work out some kind of cut and paste for it.  As to a couple of other projects I had in ID, they were just starting up.

                        I've been transitioning to Linux this past year.  One thing is for sure: none of my future projects will be done using any Adobe software.  I was very, very lucky this time that CS4 broke at a moment when it ultimately resulted in little lost work.  Even if I can get it running again, I will only use it to finalize existing work.  After that the CS4 CDs will serve the only purpose I now deem them useful for: target practice.

                        This is actually a blessing in disguise: another link -- and CS4 was a big one -- of the chain holding me to the Windows culture has been broken.

                        • 9. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
                          idiotadoctus Level 1

                          So I tried renaming the FLEXnet folder.  None existed, even though I set View options for my C drive to show hidden folders, and also searched the registry.  Again, doesn't surprise me, as I had cleaned out the registry of leftover Adobe entries after uninstall.  It's quite possible the FLEXnet folder was somehow connected with one or more of those.

                          Like as not, cleaning out the registry was a (perhaps irrepairable) mistake, but of course, there was no way I could have been expected to know that beforehand.

                          Oh well.

                          If some kind soul has any other ideas for me to try, I will surely consider them.

                          Otherwise, I will just write off the lost time and work.

                          One would expect that, any time you REINSTALL a product, USING THE ORIGINAL CDs, the reinstall will be accepted, provided you have a valid serial number to enter in.  Obviously, Adobe has a "better" way of doing things.  They don't even give you the opportunity of entering a serial number.

                          • 10. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                            For the record, CS4 is running fine here on win7 SP1 on two different machines. I'd run the cleaner tool one more time, then repeat the steps in my post # 3 above.

                            • 11. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
                              idiotadoctus Level 1

                              Dear Peter,


                              I did try rerunning those steps, but still no good.

                              I also considered that maybe simply removing FLEXnet would do the trick, so I went to the trouble of doing a little research on that.


                              I found out some interesting facts.  This: Do I need Flexnet on my computer - How-To Geek Discussion states that removal of FLEXnet is not exactly straightforward.  And the post of The Irish Patient, here: Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Adobe Photoshop Extended CS4 [OLD VERSION], and its replies, reveals that FLEXnet is a rootkit, and it actually writes code in the MBR of your computer.  Not cool at all.  I absolutely agree with this statement:  "In my personal opinion, unauthorized alteration of the MBR is vandalism"...except I'd leave out the "In my personal opinion" part.  He goes on: "Because of the component installed in the MBR, FlexNet cannot be uninstalled and even survives reformatting of the hard disk. Adobe's cleaner utility will not get rid of it."

                              To make a long story short, it turns out that, under certain circumstances, the code written in the MBR interprets an attempt at reinstall as a license infraction.  I suspect that's my problem, even though The Irish Patient claims that anyone who installed CS4 originally into an existing Win 7 system, as I did, shouldn't have this issue.

                              So the solution perhaps would be to use DOS recovery tools, or a similar utility, to rewrite the MBR.  That of course, could be risky, and if that didn't work you might be faced with zeroing out the whole drive and having to reinstall your entire system, plus the MBR.

                              The Irish Patient mentions that these installation problems in Win 7 have been going on since 2009.  Why doesn't Error: "Licensing has stopped working" | Windows list rewriting the MBR, and/or uninstalling FLEXnet as a possible solution to error 148:3?


                              As for me, I've messed with hard drives at rather deep levels before, but I'm sure as heck not going to do it for this case.  I refuse to waste another couple of days, on top of those I've already had taken from me, to solve a stupid licensing issue, that was moreover caused by Adobe, not me.


                              So in the end, I guess all I can say is, first of all, thank you Bob and Peter for at least showing an interest.

                              And secondly, to Adobe: It must be admitted that your software is, generally speaking, top class.  Only what good is that when, though due to perhaps only one flaw, that flaw can make an entire suite of your software arbitrarily and suddenly become completely and terminally unusable, and when you will do nothing whatever to address the issue?  If I thought it was worth my while I could probably take you to court for "reverse piracy".  It's not worth my while, so I'm just going to write off your theft as a loss.  At least I can say it wasn't much of one, since I did get six years of use out of CS4.  Just glad I didn't bother to upgrade.

                              Well, in future I'll try Scribus and GIMP in Linux.  I don't do highly complicated stuff, so chances are they'll suit me fine, and I'd much rather support the Linux culture than the Windows corporate profit/surveillance culture.


                              Thanks again to all the volunteers here.  Too bad Adobe is not worthy of you.

                              • 12. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
                                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                I'm sorry you weren't successful.

                                • 13. Re: CS4 error 148:3 -- I've tried every solution here...
                                  idiotadoctus Level 1

                                  Thank you for your patience with my ranting.