With the recent announcement by Adobe that After Effects CS4 will not run on PowerPC-based Macs, some users are thinking about upgrading their hardware. With new hardware comes the question about how to get all of your software moved over. In the old days, you might consider just dragging folders from one drive to another. Sadly, that often doesn’t work anymore.
In the case of After Effects CS3, if you are moving it to a new computer, make sure you first run the program on your old computer, and under the Help menu select Deauthorize. If you don’t do this, you’ll lose an install of the program (you only get two per serial number). Additionally, you might want to bring your preferences along, so that you don’t lose your custom render settings and output modules, workspaces, and the such. These preference files can be found in Users > (your user name) > Library > Preferences > Adobe > After Effects > 8.0. If the folder is too large, you can empty the cache folders; they will be rebuilt if you need them.
By the way, when it comes time to upgrade to CS4 – and we don’t yet know when that will be; Adobe hasn’t announced a release date yet – if you want to remove CS3 from your computer, you will not only want to deauthorize your old serial number should you want to move the install to another computer, you will also need to deinstall AE CS3; you can’t just drag its folder to the trash. You will find the deinstaller in Applications > Utilities > Adobe Installers. However, it’s always a good idea to keep the most recent version around along with the new version, especially since clients who want project files may not have updated as quickly as you have.
Then comes the plug-ins. When quizzed on the matter, major plug-in distributors Toolfarm and Red Giant Software both noted that it is better to reinstall than to drag. Sean Safreed from Red Giant elaborated: “Our plug-ins on Mac require our installer because some are still installed in ~/Applications/Adobe After Effects CS3/Plug-ins and others are placed in the Mediacore folder in the Library to be shared for use with Premiere Pro. The plug-in also can have accessory files like the 3D Stroke presets that live next to the plug-in. Also, our licensing file lives in the Preferences directory on the Mac.” As a result, Sean says “would recommend against drag-installing since this means getting a lot of components put in the right place for everything to work correctly.” Michelle Yamazaki of Toolfarm concurs: “We usually recommend re-installing over just dragging, even though it’s a big pain. That way you make sure the presets and all that are there.” However, she notes that any plug-in set that installs “just by dragging, as opposed to using an installer, of course, will work.”
Of course, some prefer to laugh (or at least giggle) at danger, cloning their hard drives (a popular application for this is SuperDuper). Test each program and plug-in set after copying, see what doesn’t work, then reinstall just the problem applications and effects. It’s up to you decide which is a bigger potential time soak.
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