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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Installing Photoshop CS3 With Windows XP SP1

As most readers of this blog know, I rarely write about technical issues choosing, instead, to focus on the more creative aspects of photography. However, on occasion, I find something that is technical but has proven extremely helpful to me and will take the time to write about it. As you might have guessed, today is one of those days.

I recently purchased the upgrade to Photoshop CS3. Upgrades like this sometimes go smoothly but also have the potential to be painful. Needless to say, there are the issues with plug-ins...will the ones I have be compatible with CS3? There is resetting preferences. There is learning about new features (granted, that is why I am upgrading, but the learning is still time consuming). And then there are the dreaded installation issues.

Well, I went to do the install and was stopped dead in my tracks. I got a response back from the CS3 installer stating that I was running Windows XP with SP1 and that Adobe Photoshop will not install unless one is running SP2 or Vista. Well, with other programs, I had run into the "we don't support the software on XP with SP1 before" but the program always installed and then you were on your own. And it always worked because, to the best of my knowledge, there really shouldn't be anything in SP2 that would keeps most programs from running compared with SP1. But, for whatever reason, Adobe did not go with this route.....they just made Photoshop CS3 uninstallable unless you have SP2.

Anyone else out there with this situation thinking about getting CS3? If there are, you have probably heard the stories about the complications that can occur when trying to upgrade from SP1 to Sp2 'midstream'. I simply won't do it!

Then I ran across this...see comment #10. By making one change in the registry you get the OS to only think it is running SP2 even though it really isn't. I know, fooling with the registry freaks me out as well, but it really was easy to do (back it up first). One quick change and CS3 installed with no problem and seems to run perfectly normally, as do all the other programs I have.

Of course, I have to issue a disclaimer and say that your mileage may vary and I can take no responsibility for your computer. There is hazard, I suppose, with other programs that are on the computer or that might be installed later. And I wouldn't use windows updater at this point either....so there are real and potential downsides. I haven't had the nerve to hack the registry back to indicate it is SP1 now that CS3 has safely installed. But I can say that for me it worked like a charm. So if you wanted CS3 and are running XP with SP1 you can either forget CS3, risk upgrading to SP2, or try this trick.........let me know how it goes!

Also, as an aside, I am not sure if anyone out there has tried to reverse the hack after the install, but if you have please let me know.