TN 4522: Deploying Keyed Adobe CS6 Applications

This tech note provides detail on how to use AAMEE to deploy keyed copies of some Adobe CS6 Applications.

2012.08.24 (reviewed)

For many years, KeyConfigure for Windows has included a "Deputize" menu item, which lets you modify a standard product installer so that it will finish up the installation process by transforming the installed program to a keyed copy. For Adobe product versions prior to CS6, the deputize process has worked with Adobe installers just as it works with most others. On Macintosh, CS installers could likewise be modified to produce keyed installations – but you had to follow the steps documented in TN 4398.1. Beginning with CS6 however, Adobe installers are signed and have a check-summed payload which renders a modified installer useless – a CS6 installer deputized or modified by any other method won't run.

The procedure described below makes use of Adobe updaters customized with the "sassa" option coupled with Adobe Application Manager Enterprise Edition (AAMEE version 3.1) to build custom installers for both Mac and Windows that can be used to deploy keyed Adobe CS6 applications to multiple computers. Note, however, that these steps do require the existence of a product updater from Adobe. Currently (August 2012) update installers only exist for After Effects, Dreamweaver, Encore, Media Encoder, Prelude, Premiere Pro, SpeedGrade, and Flash Pro. Adobe has made AAMEE version 3.1 is available in beta form at

Before proceeding, make sure your K2 Products database has the latest definitions for Adobe products – use the "Find Product Definitions" from the KeyConfigure Tasks menu.

1. Install the latest, updated, Adobe Product versions and set up KeyServer Policies to manage the keyed variant:

  • Install the relevant Creative Suite product(s) using the standard, initial release CS6 installer(s)
  • Download and save the relevant updater(s) from the Adobe product support page
  • Update the installed CS6 components, as appropriate
  • Key any updated version of the main program(s) as usual, using the "Key a Program...." menu item in KeyConfigure
    (the wizard will automate the inclusion of the keyed variant into appropriate Product definitions)

With a management Policy configured for one or more of the CS6 Products, verify that you have achieved the desired behavior when launching the keyed program.

In the next steps (repeated from TN 4398), you will modify the updater's behavior using Adobe's "--mode=sassa" option so the updater will still run even when encountering a keyed installation. Furthermore, when this modified updater is run on a computer where an unkeyed program version is installed, it will likewise be replaced by a keyed version!

Note: the steps below must be performed on a computer where step 1 was performed so that it that has the updated and keyed executable installed in the standard location.

2. Create a modifiable copy of the updater:
    (as the "mode=sassa" option is applied, a message will confirm success while listing the updater payloads being modified)

  • on Mac, use Disk Utility
    from the Images menu use the Convert... menu item to locate the updater dmg
    save a copy in “read/write” Image Format, but keep the same name (so you will have to save in a different location)
    and then mount this new modifiable dmg
  • on Windows,
     extract the contents of the updater zip, saving as a modifiable folder.

3. Navigate within the modifiable mounted dmg or updater folder and activate the "sassa" option:

  • on Mac, use the Terminal utility to enter:
       sudo --mode=sassa
  • on Windows, use the command prompt to enter:
       AdobePatchInstaller.exe --mode=sassa

The next steps describe how to reconstruct a dmg (Mac) or zip (Win) that is exactly like the original in terms of structure, name, and contents – but containing the "sassa" modified installer from above. It is important to make sure that the resulting updater has exactly the same file and folder structure (starting at the root level of the dmg or zip) as the original updater.

4. Reconstruct the product updater(s):

  • on Mac, use Disk Utility:
    un-mount the modified dmg and then from the Images menu use the Convert... menu item to save as “compressed”. Again keep the original file name
  • on Windows, use a Zip utility
    create a zip file encapsulating the contents of your extracted and modified updater folder. Name the zip file exactly like the original updater zip

We now have an updater that will produce a keyed executable when run on a computer that has some previous version installed. The next steps use AAMEE to package up this customized updater together with an installer for the complete product.

5. Use AAMEE 3.1 to create a custom install package:
    (refer to Adobe's AAMEE documentation for additional customization options and deployment information)

  • select either “Installation Package” or “Trial Package”
  • After AAMEE completes its check of the Adobe web site for all available updaters, uncheck “All Updates” so they will not be used
  • Click the “Add Update” button in the lower left and select each of your customized updaters - zips or dmgs. As you select these updaters you will see checkmarks added where appropriate to the updater list that was generated by looking online
  • Click Build and AAMEE will produce an installer (msi or pkg) which will install keyed applications

We now have a customized installer that combines installation and update to provide an efficient deployment method for producing keyed installations on multiple computers. Test this installer to verify its behavior and then use AAMEE or any other convenient method to make use of it on computers where you wish to install CS 6 as a keyed installation.