Is Your Computer Ready for Adobe’s New Creative Cloud Applications?

With all of the controversy surrounding Adobe’s move to Creative Cloud’s subscription-only model one of the facts that I see very little discussion about is the updated system requirements. If you’re a subscriber and planning to use the new applications that will be released on June 17, the most important change you need to be aware of involves the supported operating systems for most of the applications.

Those requirements for Mac are OSX 10.7.x (Lion) or 10.8.x (Mountain Lion). For Windows users, it’s Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.

So, what will happen if you try to install the new Creative Cloud applications such as Photoshop CC on earlier systems? Most of them will probably install and function on Snow Leopard (in fact, according to this page on, InDesign CC and Illustrator CC are supported on Snow Leopard), but you’ll be pretty much on your own if something isn’t working properly. Similarly, on Windows, you should be able to get it to install on Vista. For anything earlier on either platform, all bets are completely off and the applications aren’t likely to install at all.

A Few Personal Recommendations

In addition to the operating system requirements, the Adobe recommendations for hardware are going to be a bit different depending upon the application but suffice it to say the faster the processor and the more RAM you have the better. If you’re a Windows user I can not stress the importance of a 64 bit operating system enough. With my personal “big three” (InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop) all 64 bit compatible, you will be able to take advantage of as much RAM as your machine can handle (if you’re planning on using video applications like Premiere Pro or After Effects, 64 bit is required). I’ve been testing the upcoming 64 bit version of InDesign CC on Windows 8 and Mac OSX 10.8.4 with 8GB of RAM on a MacBook Air with a Core i5 processor and it’s noticeably faster than earlier 32 bit versions.

My final recommendation for those of you running earlier operating systems is not to take any shortcuts by doing an in place upgrade. I know some of you may disagree but a clean install will eliminate almost every possibility of a corrupt installation that could cause you any number of headaches. In fact, you may want to just buy a new solid state hard drive such as this 500GB Samsung model and keep the old one as a back up. Solid state drives are more expensive than standard drives but the performance boost in boot times and application load times is impressive.

Given the fluid nature of Creative Cloud, I advise you to keep a careful eye on these requirements. As features are added and new versions made available, things can change at any time.


  1. Thanks for highlighting this, I think Adobe should make these sorts of things a lot clearer and I am sure a lot of people are going to get caught out! Over here in the UK we also have many well documented problems of people trying to upgrade from OSX 10.6.x to OSX 10.8.x and failing for all sorts of reasons. As an ACI and on the front-line everyday I know I will bump into lots of people who have not considered these issues.

  2. Thank you Bob for bringing up all this!

    What I’m not sure about: will it be technically possible to install PhotoShop CC on OSX 10.6.8? Possible, that the AAM (Adobe Application Manager) will not allow you to do that, because the minimum requirement for PhotoShop CC is OSX 10.7 (even, if you are on an Intel Mac with an Intel Core 2 Duo chipset on a three year old MacBook Pro).

    If the AAM will stop you there, only Muse CC, InDesign CC and Illustrator CC can be used out of all new CC products. And just the additional question I do not think Adobe will (cannot?) answer: how long would that be?

    For Mac users relying on workflows that involve the “Rosetta” component of OSX (possible up to OSX 10.6.8) there will be “interesting times”. Jumping for CC products will include buying new hardware or using “virtual machines” software even if they are 64bit-ready with their Macs. Extra costs updating AppleScripts for OSX 10.8, purchasing updates for 3rd party plug-ins. Extra costs updating MS Office. Extra time testing new or adapted workflows. Etc, etc…

    I think, Quark in this regard is “a bit” clearer with the upcomming XPress 10:

    However, what “shocked” me most, is one detail about XPress: XPress 9 will be the last version that can open (!) legacy files from versions 3 to 6. That means XPress 10 will open only file versions 7 to 10.

    Here some details about OSX 10.9 (Mavericks) and XPress 10:

    And over there (also) a statement by Tim Cook about OSXI scheduled for 2014:


    • Thanks for that Uwe and sorry about the delayed posting. More than one URL triggers comment moderation.

      I hadn’t heard about Quark planning to drop support for older file formats but that’s their decision and I’m sure they had good reasons for it. At a certain point, you need to stop looking that far back.

      As I said in the post, I believe, but won’t know until next week that you’ll be able to install on 10.6.8 but all bets are going to be off as to how well those unsupported apps will work.

  3. Photoshop CC (trial in this case) works fine, although it looks like the older (2008 is old?) graphic cards will limit some things. Indesign and Illustrator work good also in 10.6.8, no real issues here on my ancient 2008 Mac Pro 😉 Just playing around with the trial here.

  4. Um, Bob, it most definitely will *not* install on Vista. I tried. When I was beta testing I didn’t even look at the system requirements and tried to install it on Vista. It won’t even launch. It looks for a certain function in a dll that isn’t there in Vista.

    At least it finally got me to upgrade to Windows 8. I was pushing off upgrading the OS for a while now. Windows 8 is slick. Just stay away from the stupid start screen.

  5. Bob — I’m on 64-bit Windows 7 with Service Pack 1. I’m confused about whether I should be using the “plain” InDesign CC or the InDesign CC 64-bit version. Same with Photoshop and Illustrator. Are there clear differences between the plain versions and the 64-bit versions? Thanks!

    • Sharon, I can’t think of one good reason not to use the 64 bit versions unless you have some old plugin that only works in 32 bit. That’s the whole purpose of the post. Those 32 bit versions are a waste of space and we should at the very least have an option to not install them and/or uninstall them.

      • Thanks for your quick response, Bob! The non-64-bit versions installed where most of my programs are located, in the Programs (x86) folder and the 64-bit versions installed in the Programs folder, which has far fewer programs in it. I just assumed the folder that had more programs installed in it was the one to use. I’ll switch over to the 64-bit versions. Too bad I already set all my preferences in ID in the other version!

      • I think you’re. I checked a few things and they seem to have copied over. I did have to copy my personal workspace over to the workspaces folder under the 64-bit folder.

  6. I’ve just downloaded Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat and InDesign CC on an iMac with 8Gb RAM running OSX 10.6.8 (having read somewhere that was OK). Adobe Application Manager allowed me to install. However, when I opened InDesign, and began exploring, I found that opening the Character palette crashed the program (twice). I’ll be annoyed if I now have to upgrade to Lion/Mountain Lion as I would have done that BEFORE starting my subscription to Adobe Cloud.

    Any suggestions?

    • Carmel, I have one question.
      Julia, later on this conversation, said the Cloud app itself cannot be installed on the OSX 10.6.8.
      Can you still use it whithout upgrading the Mac?
      Did you install beyond the trial?

      • Guilherme, I was able to install Adobe Application Manager, and when I open that it lists updates to InDesign, Photoshop, Photoshop Camera Raw 8, Adobe Media Encoder CC X64 and DPS Desktop tools. Just now I updated Photoshop without any problem.

        Under ‘All’ it lists pretty all the other applications, but I haven’t tried installing them. One day when I have time on my hands … (ha ha).

        I did install beyond the trial … paying my $29.99/month. What I understand is that there are some applications you can’t run on 10.6.8. I’m using InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat. At this stage I don’t really need any of the others. Occasionally InDesign crashes, but starts up again OK, without losing any data.

        I suppose I should upgrade at least to Mountain Lion, but I don’t have the time … each time I’ve upgraded in recent years the dates in my iPhoto library have been messed up. GRRR! I’ve also grown tired of new interfaces.

  7. I am a little late on the discussion but I am currently running CS5 on a Dell 64 Windows 7 platform. I am considering purchasing a new Microsoft Surface Pro 2 tablet, Windows 8i, i5 processor, 256 GB hard drive and 8G Ram, It is also 64 bit. Along with this I am upgrading to Creative Cloud and mostiy working in Photoshop, InDesign, Premiers Pro and Dreamweaver. What are your thoughts? Will it work?

  8. This is a very helpful thread. Thanks so much. My question that I hope you can answer is:

    I’ve found a laptop I like but the hard drive is 5400 rpm. I have an external 1TB drive with 7200 rpm that I use currently to store and process using Premiere. Do you think the 5400 rpm internal on the new laptop would be an issue if all other parameters are met (8gb memory, Win 8.1, hi end graphics card, etc)? Thanks.


    • For the most part that machine should be okay but if you really want to speed it up the number one thing to do would be to replace that internal drive with a solid state unit. The difference will will be immediately noticeable.

  9. I’m looking to buy a new iMac for my wife to use Creative Cloud. Any recommendations regarding valuable upgrades to the basic model would be very much appreciated. $ always buys better, but I want max bang for my buck.

    • Hi Dan, it really depends on what your wife is going to be doing with it. Maxing out the RAM is probably the best bang for the buck you’ll get as far as performance, especially with multiple applications open. Photoshop is always RAM hungry as are the video applications. Next would be a solid state drive which will be a noticeable difference in loading programs and booting the machine.

  10. should i bother upgrading to a NVIDIA® GeForce® GT750M 2GB graphic card for my laptop using CC or just stick with the Intel 4600? I don’t have a large budget but wanted to know were i can skimp out. Is it going to slow me down if i don’t? I plan to get a i7-4700MQ with 8ram and 1TB drive.. Will it be enough or will i be disappointed? I’ve read that it more important to have processor speed and ram but i’m getting mixed advice. I only plan to use indesign CC, Photoshop CC and illustrator CC

  11. I just subscribed to CC after talking with an Adobe sales chat person and explaining that we have hardware than can’t upgrade past 10.6.8. He said, no problem, just to be sure to download the CS6 versions of the apps we need. So I subscribed. Then found out that the Cloud app itself has a system requirement of 10.7.


    Their tech support told me to cancel my order.

    But me being the obstinate non-believer that I am, I attempted to install anyhoo and everything seems to work. I had to download a separate Cloud DMGs for each CS6 app and it only took 600 hours but what the hey ;-}

    Then it dawned on me, will the cloud app not keep me subscribed if it’s not supposed to work on 10.6.8? Have your heard anything about this?

    So glad I found your blog BYW. I used to read your articles somewhere in the way back. Can’t recall what pub it was.

    • My $0.02 worth is that if the computer can’t be updated beyond 10.6.8 you’re not going to be very happy with the performance anyway. That said, I really don’t know what the ramifications are of trying to run it on an unsupported system.

      Thanks for the comments and the kind words.

  12. I am thinking of subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud, and ask whether CC will give me 64 bit functionality because of the following.
    My OS is Win 7 SP1 64bit, but downloads installed both my stand alone CS6 and LR5 in the 32 bit folder, and did not offer a manual installation alternative. As a result , it is impossible to achieve color consistency between the two programs. The system will not support a version of either that includes a shared ARC. Can that be achieved on the Cloud, or must I first upgrade my system in order to get true color consistency?

      • Thanks for your comments, Bob. I am not familiar with cloud technology and it occurred to me that the Cloud might have to rely on the user’s C drive. But since Adobe is offering a 30 day free trial, l now think I’ll take the plunge.

  13. Hi, I’m looking for an affordable computer (500-600 tower only) specifically to run Creative Cloud. Do you have any suggested brands and models? I’m looking a HP pavilion for 500 but I’m not sure if this is a good option. The adobe CC specifications are solid but all brands and models have such a diverse selection of components that I’m slightly confused.

    • Depends on what you want to do. If you’re into video you’re going to need serious horsepower. For InDesign, PS, Illy, etc, I’d be looking for at least 8GB or RAM, non-integrated video and at least an i5 processor.

  14. I am using CS 6 on a Macbook Pro from late 2011 (still using Yosemite). It 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7; 16 GB 1333 MHz DDR3; Intel HD Graphics 3000 512 MB. I’m looking to upgrade to a new computer since mine is sluggish. Would you recommend a desktop or laptop? Portability would be nice, but not absolutely necessary. I mainly use InDesign and Photoshop for touching up photos and need to have them open at the same time. If money were no object, what would you recommend? If you were on a budget, what would the minimum you think I would have to spend? Do I need a dedicated graphics card? Solid state?

    • No way that machine should be sluggish running CS6 for Photoshop or InDesign. How many operating system upgrades have you done?

      I’ve found OSX upgrades to be less than reliable and have always done clean installs. If you buy a new Mac, you’ll need to move to Creative Cloud since CS6, from all reports I’ve seen is quite wonky on 10.11.

      That out of the way, I wouldn’t consider anything without a dedicated graphics card or solid state drive. Lots of RAM is a must, as well.

      • I am using 10.10.5. I did not update to El Capitan. My fan runs loudly, my laptop gets hot and there is a delay quite often (that spinning beach ball) between actions, If my computer is built to handle CS 6, what should I do to “fix it?” I don’t know how to do a clean install for the OSX updates.

      • You might want to have that machine looked at by a qualified computer tech. Honestly, I think you’d be throwing money away on a new machine and if you want to stick with CS6 you will be in a world of pain moving to El Capitan which would be pre-installed on any new Mac.

    • I covered that in my last comment. If you’re not moving past CS6 DO NOT upgrade to El Capitan. And again, I would wipe that machine and do a complete clean install of Yosemite (10.10) followed by clean installs of your applications. If you can’t do that yourself find someone that can.

  15. I haven’t upgraded for awhile and now its time to bite the bullet. I have been primarily using Adobe CS 5.5 (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat) and MS Office on my 17″ MacBook Pro6,1. I purchased a CC license and now realize that my computer is not “ready.” My processor is Intel Core i5, 2 cores, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB. I’m running OS10.6.8. Other than the fact that I need to move data to an external drive, I’m happy with this old workhorse! Can it be upgraded to work with CC?

    • Depends on your definition of “work with CC.” The first thing you’d have to do is upgrade the operating system and I would not recommend doing that in place. That is, you’d need to wipe the harddrive and install El Capitan. 4GB of RAM is not likely to be enough and if you’re a real power user you’re probably not going to be happy even if you upgrade that.

      At a certain point, it’s time for new hardware and you’ve probably reached that point, but if this is more of a light duty machine, the new O/S and RAM might just do it for you. Oh, and a new solid state drive would certainly breathe new life into that puppy.

      One more thing. After installing the O/S do not migrate any applications. Install them properly and make sure they’re compatible with a new O/S. In addition to CC, you might want to look at Office 365 as well.

What do you think?