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Problem 1

Trying to open a PDF received from a user on the Mac, getting an error message.  You are able to open other PDFs with no issue.


Two possible reasons this could be happening.

  1. The PDF has special characters (such as '©' or similar) in the file name
  2. Was sent from a user sending from Thunderbird within the UC Campus


For the following situations...

PDFs with special characters
  1. Rename the file, removing the special characters from the file.
  2. Ask the user to resend the PDF, omitting the specialized characters in the name.
Sent by someone using Thunderbird in the UC Campus

For files sent from a user that asks you what application, you can either:

  1. Select the Adobe Application (Like Acrobat Reader or Acrobat), but also check the box next to Use this option Always.
  2. Ask the person sending the PDF to adjust their MIME Type Actions on Thunderbird before sending PDFs. Refer them to the following link:

Spring 2020: Adobe recently revoked several serial numbers used by the College of Engineering by "accident" while users work from home.  While said serial numbers have been reauthorized, you may need to uninstall and reinstall your Adobe software to remove the "serial number has been revoked" error message.

Problem 2

Trying to open a PDF on either Mac or Windows and getting either a request from adobe to sign in or an error message saying xx number of days left on free trial.


There are several possible reasons this could be happening.

  1. The software is unlicensed
  2. The software is licensed, but under a different contract
  3. The software is licensed, but Adobe's anti-piracy features killed your installation.
  4. The software is licensed, but an adobe update corrupted the installation.


For the following situations...

Software is unlicensed

This usually happens if you recently installed a free trial and did not realize said free trial only lasts for 7 days. 

  1. First determine if you do need this specific piece of software. There are many free equivalents to all adobe products. Some like preview and reader only can view PDFS. Others allow PDF editing.
  2. If you previously had the software for more than 7 day, before buying any software, check to see if one of the below solutions work. It is never good to pay twice for the same piece of software.
  3. If you do indeed need adobe software, please contact your department about ordering under the UC procurement system. 
    1. Due to academic and volume discounts, the same piece of software may be as little as 10% of the official list price in stores.
    2. Academic discounts are only available to active members of the UCSB community such as Students, Staff, and Faculty. Alumni are not covered.
The software is licensed, but under a different contract, portal, or email

This usually happens when you have had the software for a while and Adobe updates.

Adobe usually forces software to recheck serial numbers and accounts using said serial after major updates in order to weed out everyone using pirated software or are using more devices than their contract allows.

When the software was purchased, you or your department should have received an email with both the serial number and the account name that will be used to sign in.

  1. Adobe software is case sensitive, space sensitive, and has auto-correct and autofill enabled
  2. Be very careful about what alias is used to sign in. and may go to the same inbox, but if the email does not match what is on the license contract exactly, no license being found.
  3. Do not use Google or SSO sign-in portals.  The college of engineering uses volume licenses.  This gives cheaper costs but software is not tied to any external account.
    1. Always sign in with email and the password you set when creating your Adobe account. Even if the email and credentials are correct, using the wrong portal will result in no license being found.
  4. Be very careful about which password you use.  As mentioned above, a password is set when you created your Adobe account. Changing your COE or UCSBnetID password does not change your Adobe password.
    1. If you forgot your password, there is a password reset link that will send a recovery code to the email associated with your Adobe account.
The software is licensed, but Adobe's anti-piracy features blocked you
  1. This may occur if you are signed into adobe on too many products. Most contracts are for a single seat (user) or computer. 
    1. If you recently installed a virtual machine, adobe counts that as a second computer. If your contract is for one computer, the second operating system will be unlicensed. removing the virtual machine will fix this.
    2. If your contract is for one seat (user) the software can be installed on multiple machines, but must be signed out of before using it on any other computer. Failure to do so will result in un-licensing of the extra machines. signing out of all devices then signing in on one device sill fix this.
  2. This may also occur through no fault of your own. If Adobe blocks an IP address used by the VPN or a guest pool due to abuse, because all IPs are first come, first serve in such situations, an innocent party may be blocked after the abuser moves on to another IP. This usually requires a call to adobe support requesting the blocked IP be unblocked.  All campus networks are monitored, pirated software may result in your accounts or ability to sign into campus networks being revoked.
  3. Adobe has also be known to block entire departments for the actions of one user for bulk software purchases.  This usually requires a call to adobe support and the revocation of the abusive users rights to use said software.
The software is licensed, but an adobe update corrupted the installation.

If you are sure of your login information, a corrupted update may force you to completely uninstall and reinstall the software.

Re-installation may be required if there is a gap in contract (license expires before new contract starts), if the serial number has been revoked and re-authorized, or if you installed incompatible software. 

Installing subscription based software like Adobe Creative Cloud will wipe existing serial numbers. If you buy multiple Adobe Creative Cloud modules, they may only be used at the same time if they are on the same contract and account.  If you are buying 3 or more modules of Adobe creative cloud, it is cheaper and will cause less issues to upgrade to Creative cloud complete and get all 20 modules including Adobe Acrobat Pro 2019.

Please note that full removal includes the removal of all hidden files and folders, including those not removed by the standard installer.