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How to Install Photoshop CS5

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  chco's Photo
Posted Jul 20 2010 11:58 AM

Here's an appendix from Photoshop CS5: The Missing Manual to help in case you're having any difficulty with installation. It goes in depth with possible troubleshooting and a very clear step by step approach.
Photoshop is an awesome program, but it’s not worth a darn until you install it. Whether you’re holding an actual Photoshop DVD in your hand or you’ve downloaded the program from the Web, the Photoshop CS5 installer includes everything you need to get up and running fast. If you’ve got a relatively new computer, the whole process can take as little as 10 minutes. If you have a vintage computer, it might take a hair longer.

Tip: After you finish the installation, put your Photoshop DVD and serial number in a safe place in case you need to reinstall it down the road. If you downloaded the program from the Web, it’s a good idea to back up the installer file.

Check Your Setup

Before installing Photoshop, make sure your computer has the right equipment to run the program. If it doesn’t, you may still be able to install Photoshop but it’ll run like molasses. Here are the minimum requirements for Photoshop CS5.

Mac OS X Requirements

  • An Intel-based processor.
  • Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or higher.
  • At least 1 GB of RAM (memory). Even though Adobe says you need just 1 GB of RAM, Photoshop is one of the biggest memory hogs on the planet. Buy as much RAM as you can afford—the more the merrier! (See the bottom of this page for more info.)
  • 2 GB of free hard-disk space for the program to use during installation.
  • A monitor that can display at least 1024×768 resolution (1280×800 is even better) with a 16-bit or greater video card that has 256 MB or more of video RAM.
  • A DVD-ROM drive (unless you downloaded Photoshop, in which case you don’t need one).
  • The latest version of QuickTime for Photoshop’s multimedia features like animation and video editing (QuickTime comes preinstalled on all Macs).


Note: Some of Photoshop’s features require that your computer works with Shader Model 3.0 (an image texture and shadow enhancement technology) and OpenGL 2.0 (see the box on page 64). If your computer doesn’t, some things like flick-panning and Rotate View won’t work.

Windows Requirements

  • An Intel Zeon, Zeon Dual, Centrino, or Pentium 4 processor or their AMD-branded equivalents.
  • Microsoft Windows 7, Vista Service Pack 1, or Vista 64-bit.
  • At least 1 GB of RAM—the more, the better!
  • 1 GB of available hard-disk space for Photoshop to use during installation.

    Note: You can’t install Photoshop on a flash-based drive like a USB memory stick.

  • A monitor that can display at least 1024×768 resolution (1280×800 is even better) with a 16-bit or greater video card that has 256 MB or more of video RAM.
  • A DVD-ROM drive (unless you downloaded Photoshop, in which case you don’t need one).
  • The latest version of QuickTime for multimedia features like animation and video editing. You can download QuickTime for free from www.apple.com/quicktime.


Show Me the Memory

While Photoshop CS5 only requires 1 GB of memory (or RAM, which stands for “random access memory”), to get any serious image editing done you’ll need to pony up for more. The memory requirement refers to the amount of memory that’s available for Photoshop to use, not the total amount of memory that’s installed on your machine.

Remember, there are other programs fighting for pieces of your memory (much like spouses, exes, and in-laws) right alongside Photoshop, so the more memory you have, the better. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your computer has at least 2 GB of free memory (or much more, if you an afford it). Memory is something you can never have too much of, especially if you’re working with honkin’ big files.

Luckily, memory has never been more affordable. A good resource for hunting down the best prices is RamSeeker (www.ramseeker.com). Just tell the site whether you use a Mac or a PC and what kind of hardware you have, and it’ll scour the Web for the best deals on memory from the most reputable companies.

Give It Space

In addition to RAM, you also need plenty of storage space on your hard drive to run Photoshop CS5—a minimum of 2 GB on a Mac or 1 GB on a PC, to be exact. That refers to the amount of free space—not the total space—on your hard drive. And just like memory, more is always better. Even if you’re planning to use extra hard drives for scratch disk space and file storage, Photoshop’s minimum hard drive requirements won’t cut the mustard if your hard drive is too small or nearly full, as there won’t be enough space for the temporary files Photoshop makes to track the edits you make. These days, it’s pretty common to see 200 GB (or larger) hard drives, though 500 GB and 1 TB (Terabyte) drives are becoming more common.

Faster hard drives help Photoshop run faster, too, so try to use drives that spin at least 5,400 RPM (revolutions per minute) in laptops and 7,200 RPM in desktop computers.

Video Cards

Some of the coolest CS5 features require a video card that works with OpenGL 2.0 (see the box on page 64) and Shader Model 3.0. If your video card doesn’t, Photoshop will still run, but some features like flick-panning and rotating your canvas won’t work. Here are a few video cards that fit the bill, but the important thing to remember is that your video card needs at least 256 MB of memory (RAM) and support for OpenGL:

  • NVIDIA geForce 6000, 7000, and 8000 series.
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 350, 540, 550, 560, 1400, 1500, 3450, 3500, 4500, 4600, 5500, and 5600.
  • ATI Radeon 1000, 2000, and 3000 series, as well as HD 4870.
  • ATI FireGL 3300, 3350, 3400, 3600, 5200, 5600, 7200, 7300, 7350, 7600, 8600, and 8650.


Running the Installer

The Photoshop installer has a one-track mind: Its goal is to get all the bits and pieces of Photoshop CS5—and everything that goes with it—onto your machine, exactly where they’re supposed to go (see Figure A-1). Be sure to have your serial number handy because you’ll need it to begin the installation process. It should be on the back of the DVD case that came with Photoshop or, if you downloaded the program from the Web, Adobe should have emailed it to you.

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Here’s how to install Photoshop CS5:

  • Insert the installation DVD into your computer’s DVD drive.
    Alternatively, you can download the installer from Adobe’s website.

  • If the installer doesn’t start automatically, double-click it.
    The installer’s icon looks like a little blue suitcase with “Ps” on it (see Figure A-1, top).

  • On the Welcome screen, click Accept to agree to Adobe’s Software License Agreement.
    Adobe’s license agreement lets you install and run Photoshop on two different computers, but you aren’t supposed to run both copies at the same time. If you install Photoshop on more than two computers, you can run it in 30-day demo mode, but on day 31 it’ll politely refuse to run.

  • Enter your Adobe ID.
    In order to register the program and gain access to Adobe CS Live (pages 4 and 15), you need to enter your existing Adobe ID or click the “Create an Adobe ID” button to create one.

  • Pick the language you’d like to install.

  • Enter your Photoshop CS5 serial number when the installer requests it.
    If you downloaded your copy of Photoshop from the Internet and received the serial number in an email, you can copy and paste it into the first little box.

  • Pick which Photoshop components you want to install.
    Unless you tell it otherwise, the installer will copy the following items to your hard drive: Photoshop CS5, Adobe AIR, Adobe Bridge CS5, Adobe Camera Raw 6, Adobe Device Central CS5, and Adobe Extension Manager CS5. If you don’t want to install everything, click Adobe Photoshop CS5 on the left side of the dialog box and then use the flippy triangles on the right side of the dialog box to turn off the items you don’t want by clicking the checkboxes on the right side of the installer window (see Figure A-1, bottom). (If you’re not a computer whiz, it’s best to install everything so you don’t leave out anything important.)

  • Choose where on your hard drive you want Photoshop to be installed.
    From the factory, Photoshop wants to live in your Applications folder (Programs folder on a PC), which is a perfectly suitable spot. But if you want to change that, click the little gray folder icon at the bottom of the dialog box and choose a new location.

  • Click Install.
    If the installer asks for your administrator password (the password you set up when you first got your computer), enter it and then click OK. You’ll see a progress bar showing how much the installer has completed. When it’s finished, you’ll see a friendly dialog box letting you know everything was installed successfully.

  • Click Exit to quit the installer.
    Previous versions of Photoshop forced you to activate the program before you could start using it. Thankfully, this step was eliminated in CS5. These days activation happens when you enter your Adobe ID, as described in step 4 above.

    Attached Image


Using the Uninstaller

Getting rid of Photoshop isn’t as simple as dragging the program to the trash can or recycle bin. The installer stashes all kinds of files in the deepest, darkest reaches of your hard drive, and making them really hard to find. If you ever need to remove Photoshop from your machine, use the Uninstall Photoshop CS5 program instead.
Follow these steps to eliminate all traces of the program:

  • Go to Help➝Deactivate to deactivate your copy of Photoshop.
    If you don’t, you can’t install and use Photoshop on a different computer (other
    than in 30-day demo mode). If you’re planning on selling or giving away your
    computer, be sure to click the Deactivate Permanently button in the dialog box
    that appears (see Figure A-2, top) so no one else can try to install Photoshop using your serial number. If you want to temporarily deactivate the program without erasing your serial number so you can, say, run it on another machine (see the Note on page 5 of this appendix), click the Suspend Activation button instead.

    Attached Image

  • Launch the Uninstall Adobe Photoshop CS5 program.
    On a Mac, you can find it hiding in the Photoshop CS5 program folder. Windows users can open “Programs and Features” in the Control Panel, and follow the instructions there.

  • If prompted, enter your administrator password for your computer.

  • In the dialog box that appears, click Uninstall.
    Make sure both the Adobe Photoshop CS5 and the Deactivate options are
    turned on (see Figure A-2, middle).

  • Turn on the Remove Preferences checkbox if you want to zap Photoshop’s
    preference files, too.

    This option is useful if you’re uninstalling Photoshop because it’s misbehaving, though it’ll also zap all your unsaved custom goodies (actions, brushes, and so on). If you don’t turn on this checkbox, the uninstaller leaves your Photoshop preferences alone. The downside is that, if these preferences were causing problems, they’ll continue to cause problems even if you reinstall, so consider uninstalling them to help avoid potential headaches.

  • Click Uninstall.
    You see a status bar indicating the uninstaller’s progress (see Figure A-2, bottom), followed by a dialog box announcing whether or not the uninstaller successfully removed the program.

  • Click Exit to quit the uninstaller.


Checking Your Version

There may come a time when you need to know which version of Photoshop CS5 you’re running, whether it’s for (shudder) technical support or to verify that you’ve got the latest and greatest update installed. To find that out, choose Photoshop➝About Photoshop (on a PC, choose Help➝About Photoshop). You’ll see the same screen that appears when you launch the program. The version number is listed beneath the program’s name and it should start with “12.”

Checking for Updates

No matter how spectacular a program is, there’s always room for improvement. Adobe occasionally releases Photoshop updates to fix a bug or two, or to make the program more compatible with your operating system. All the Creative Suite programs (including Photoshop) automatically check for updates once a week, but you can check manually anytime you’re connected to the Internet by choosing Help➝Updates. If the program finds a new update, it displays a dialog box listing the update(s); just click Update to start the download and installation process. If it doesn’t find any updates, you’ll see a polite dialog box telling you that you’re up-to-date (Figure A-3, top).

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Photoshop CS5: The Missing Manual

Learn more about this topic from Photoshop CS5: The Missing Manual.

Photoshop is the world's most widely used photo-editing and graphics program. But with all its fantastic new features and options, Photoshop CS5 can bewilder even the most seasoned professional. Packed with tips, tricks, and practical advice, this Missing Manual teaches you everything you need to know to edit photos and create beautiful documents in Photoshop -- whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro ready to try advanced techniques.

See what you'll learn


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