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Q: How can I disable the Adobe spyware ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: How can I disable the Adobe spyware
Category: Computers > Software
Asked by: sherpaj-ga
List Price: $9.00
Posted: 28 Mar 2004 19:51 PST
Expires: 27 Apr 2004 20:51 PDT
Question ID: 321444
How can I disable the Adobe spyware

The new generation of Adobe software has some kind of spyware software
on it that scans you machine and send the info back to a Adobe server.

In older vers, like Pshop 6, you used to be able to sear can remove an
app called AOE, and your computer was not subject to this.

On the new versions, like Adobe CS Suite (Pshop, ill, indesign), I
can?t find any traces of this program.

So how do you disable the spyware in the new versions?

thanx in advnce
Subject: Re: How can I disable the Adobe spyware
Answered By: clouseau-ga on 28 Mar 2004 22:37 PST
Hello again sherpaj,

Thank you for your question. The discussions I found are fascinating,
to say the least.

DSLReports has a discussion on this:,8533471~mode=flat

"...If you've bought Photoshop CS and have noticed a new service
called "Adobe LM Service", this is Macrovision SafeCast spyware.

Is this part of the foul Product Activation that we already knew
about, or a different virus?

Not quite a virus, but SafeCast does a lot more than advertised.

Each time Photoshop is started, SafeCast takes an inventory of the
machine it's installed on, and will refuse to load the application if
it decides too much has changed. The copy protection appears to be
analogous to that found in Windows XP:

The most frightening part of SafeCast is that the licensing terms can
So, for example, if Abobe decides to make Photoshop a
pay-per-use application and customers do not agree to these
terms, Adobe can remotely pull the plug on these customers.

Not only has Adobe gotten on the Windows XP bandwagon, but now they
are adopting the new Microsoft goal of being able to change the rules
any time they desire, after you've agreed to the original license..."


I searched further for "Adobe LM Service" to find:

This thread notes it is run as a service and can be blocked at your firewall:

A thread at Photozo notes:

"...Adobe didn't make a very good move filling Photoshop CS with spyware. 

CS now features a service called "Adobe LM Service", that takes a
detailed list of your computer hardware and sends it to Adobe without
your consent. The way i see it, that *is* spying on you.

You can try disabling the service, but don't bother... it will re-enable itself. 

This is all a big piece of crap. I install what i want, where i want
and when i want and i don't have to let anyone know that i've bought a
new processor, motherboard or the latest video card. No one has to
know what's inside my box!

For those that are not aware of this, this "Adobe LM Service" is made
by a company called Macrovision, who also made the DVD Region

This service also connects to Adobe's server to check if your serial
is a valid one..."

Another page confirms that even if disabled, this service will be
restarted when Photoshop is restarted!

Usenet Groups (Google Groups) has a bit more info on this:

"..."Adobe LM service" appears to be comprised of three components:

1. Adobelmsvc.exe
This is (c) Macrovision Corp.

2. AdobeLM.dll
Related to product activation, e.g. links to

3. Adobelmsvc Installer.dll
This is also (c) Macrovision and references:
HKLM\Software\Macrovision with one subkey:
and one "AF_2" subkey under this, with several hex values.

The dll also appears to perform hardware enumeration
(including SID) on the system and calculates whether
product reactivation is required.

So, you might try renaming these files, but I am unsure what will not
function without them - other than the spyware of course. But, the
thread continues:

"...Yep, just confirmed.  The service cannot be permanently disabled,
and if the installer dll is renamed PS doesn't load at all.

At least now we know the real reason why Win2K or XP is required..."

So, there are the other two files to try to rename. But I am losing
confidence this can be done.

They recap when someone asks what is known about this problem:

"...That's the problem -- we don't know what it's doing.  This much
has been established, or at least I think it has:

1. The service wants internet access.

2. The service checks for hardware changes, and will prevent
PS from running if it decides too much hardware in a system
has been changed.

3. The service cannot be permanently disabled.

4. When the service is manually disabled it re-enables itself
each time PS is started.

As far as I know, the only documentation Abobe has provided
for the copy protection scheme is a link to Macromedia's version of
it.  If someone has a link to *Macrovision's* documentation it would
be most welcome, since that's who apparently wrote it..."

I continued to read, glad that I am still using Photoshop 6.1!!

Even though one responder claimed that this CAN be disabled, the
solution, if it exists, was not posted. My guess is that it can not.

This thread at is 309 messages!!

"...If you've bought Photoshop CS and have noticed a new service
called "Adobe LM Service", this is Macrovision SafeCast spyware.

This spyware cannot be disabled.  When the startup type in WinXP or
Windows 2000 is set to "disabled", SafeCast re-enables itself the next
time Photoshop is started.

Just an FYI for anyone considering upgrading.  Adobe has finally
fallen over the edge..."

I'll scan to see if a cure has been found here. It seems the
discussion centers around whether this IS spyware or not.

And then, I find it actually writes to the boot block, and...

"... Adobe is using the same technology as Intuit did in their
Turbotax product, and it resulted in trashed disk partitions in
multiboot systems, and for those with custom boot loaders.  Nasty,
nasty stuff...."

Another poster writes that firewalls may indeed be effective at curtailing this:

"...It does appear that both Photoshop and Illustrator CS try to call
home.  But there are many others that do too.  You can cut all these
critters off at the pass with ZoneAlarm.  I resent having any program
on my computer that utilizes my internet connection to perform actions
that I'm not aware of or would not ordinarily permit..."

Further down this thread:

"...Here's some updated info, for anyone still following this topic:

1. During CS installation, SafeCast _does_ write a disk signature to
absolute sector 32 of the boot drive.  The signature (at least on the
test system) was 508 bytes long and was entirely contained in sector
32.  SafeCast does not write to any other reserved areas of the drive.

2. Uninstalling CS, even using the "Advanced Uninstall", does _not_
remove the signature, even though Adobe's documentation claims the
"Advanced Uninstall" removes "most all" activation components.

Their documentation is somewhat misleading and implies that
activation info is kept only when one does a "Standard Uninstall".

3. The cracked ISO file posted in various places on Usenet does not
stop the signature from being written, but after the modified files
are copied into the installation folder, the signature is no longer
checked, nor is it rewritten.  Absolute sector 32 can be overwritten
and CS still starts and works normally.

System admins who are working with multiboot systems or custom
boot loaders should install their other OSes only after both Windows
and CS are installed.  If another operating system or a custom boot
loader writes to sector 32, CS will no longer start.  In this case,
the cracked version of CS is the only available workaround.

Also, those who wish to completely backup their drives will need to
use Ghost's "forensic copy" option, by specifying the "-id" switch on
Ghost's command line.  Note that a standard disk or partition image
backup will _not_ copy the SafeCast signature, and if the disk or
partition is restored to another physical drive, reactivation of CS
will still be required..."

At this point, I feel I must leave the discussion as is. Cracks and
hacks, as we all well know, are illegal, even if they are being used
to disable what we consider spyware in legitimately purchased
software. You can read the discussions further and seek out what you
may choose, but I need to say I can not endorse this as the cure.
Though it may be the ONLY cure. You might wish to read this complete

Personally, I would complain to Adobe, and I am sure, even without
looking, that the forums at Adobe must have healthy discussions from
other customers offended by this latests policy. I would be a
contributor if this effected me at the moment. You can find the forums

You can find many other lengthy threads discussing this problem on the
groups including:


Now, before completing my search, I thought I would seek out
information for "disable safecast", which is the name of the
Macrovision product Adobe installs. I located the following of


"...The TurboTax installation process never revealed that Intuit was
also installing on my PC an antipiracy product called SafeCast, from a
company called Macrovision. This software includes a hidden folder
called C-Dilla, the former name for SafeCast, and a hidden program
that runs in the background all the time, monitoring your PC for the
use of TurboTax. When TurboTax runs, the SafeCast product checks to
see if the program matches the activation code on the PC. It also
periodically checks to see that the code hasn't been tampered with.

I have no evidence that SafeCast damages PCs or spies on users, and
Intuit and Macrovision emphatically deny rumors that SafeCast sends
reports on software use back to the company over the Internet.
Macrovision even denies SafeCast can be called "monitoring" software,
but the term fits because the product constantly watches for TurboTax

Once SafeCast is on your PC, it remains there even when you uninstall
TurboTax. Intuit said it adopted this policy because users might have
other programs that rely on SafeCast that would be disabled if it were
removed. But after a storm of criticism, Intuit posted on the Web a
program to uninstall SafeCast..."

Perhaps this Turbotax fix would be effective here as well? Though PS
might cease to run as previously mentioned. I make no recommendation
for this one, but you might wish to see what the Turbotax site has to
say further on the matter.

In fact, Answers that Work says:

Cdac11ba.exe (NOTE: this may be the older implementation of Safecast)

"Background task which is an integral part of MacroVision?s SafeCast
copy protection software (software which enables other software
manufacturers to protect their products from illegal copying). 
SafeCast is used in many products such as Intuit?s TurboTax (from
version 2002 onward) and quite a few games.

Recommendation : 

Leave alone or you may disable the product that came with it.  Note,
however, that if you intend to register via the Internet rather than
by phone, and if you have a firewall, you may need to enable CDAC11BA
to go through your firewall. We have heard reports that CDAC11BA
interferes with the use of CD-Writers but have been unable to confirm
them.  Note also :  because SafeCast may be in use in more than one
product from the same software manufacturer, in almost all cases
de-installing the product that came with SafeCast, will not de-install
SafeCast ? you have to go and manually de-install it yourself through
"Add/Remove Programs" in the Control Panel if you are sure you do not
have other products using it (de-install anything called C-Dilla, or
SafeCast, or MacroVision SafeCast). Lastly, anti-spyware/adware
products, like Spybot Search & Destroy and Ad-Aware, may list the
SafeCast software as spyware/adware, so make sure you do not have
those anti-spyware products remove SafeCast if you know you have
products using it (such as Intuit?s TurboTax)..."

You can find about 100 articles discussing disabling SafeCast, though
most refer to Turbotax:

So, it appears you have a few options including complaints to Adobe
(it worked with Intuit), the solutions that might be available on the
Usenet groups, the Turbotax cure, Spybot and other spyware removal
tools and blocking the connections with ZoneAlarm or other firewall
*after* you have completed the initial registration.

I truly hope this information is useful for you. It has been an
enlightening search for me.

Search Strategy:

"Adobe LM Service"
disable safecast

If a link above should fail to work or anything require further
explanation or research, please do post a Request for Clarification
prior to rating the answer and closing the question and I will be
pleased to assist further.


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