Unfortunately, Adobe doesn’t make this easy for the novice user, but bear with me and follow the steps exactly and you’ll disable the Adobe update manager from launching on it’s own. Here’s how to do it through the command line: You can double-check that the file has been created by looking in ~/Library/Preferences/ for the file.

Adobe’s installers have this tendency to be designed as applications spawning other applications, forcing end users to witness things that should normally take place invisibly in the background.

And of course, Adobe being Adobe, sometimes these very visible processes fail, without any graceful way for the main application to handle the situation.

I personally do not want to use Adobe’s PDF plug-in in Safari (in part because it crashes spectacularly on a regular basis, bringing down the entire Safari application with it, of course).

But even though I have manually removed Adobe’s PDF plug-in from my “” folder, Adobe’s updater still insists on quitting Safari and Camino.

And if I check the boxes next to the available updates listed, I get a total that far exceeds 68.4 MB. According to the preferences of the updater application, there is actually a location on my local hard drive where it downloads the updates: However, when I look in that location, here’s what I see: Again, I’ll ignore the more “aesthetic” problem of the folder naming scheme here, even though it makes it even harder to keep track of what has been updated.

But the major problem here is that, in actual fact, these folders are all empty folders. As far as I can tell, Adobe uses this location as a temporary destination for its file downloads, but then promptly erases them once the updates have been applied, and just leaves an empty shell, which it possibly then uses itself to keep track of what updates it has installed.

Then a progress bar appeared and the updater started installing the updates. Not just for a few minutes, but for a quarter of an hour. The progress bar was no longer moving, it was saying that it was installing the “Adobe Flash CS3 Professional 9.0.2 Update,” but there was no hard disk activity of any kind. I needed to go back on the web and I had other things to do but to wait for an updater that might or might not be irretrievably stuck.

Upon further investigation, I saw that the Adobe Updater application itself had somehow spawned another application, called “Patcher Application”: I had seen this before.

(You also have no option to download Adobe Reader updates without downloading Adobe’s PDF plug-in updates.) So now you’ve downloaded all the updates and quit all your CS3 applications and your web browsers and your Office applications and the Adobe Updater application starts installing the updates… Well, that the installation somehow fails, of course!