ACDSee Customer Support – I Gave Up

Here’s a short interchange of messages between me and ACDSee support when I told tham I was going to give up on using ACDSee Pro v2.5. It’s sad but illuminating.

From: Me
To: ACDSee Support
Date: 31 March 2009

I’m sorry to say I have to give up using ACDSee Pro 2.5 and find some other image management software.

I thought I had worked out how to avoid the instabilities in the product but I am now in a situation where I cannot restore or re-create a working database.

Everything was working well last night (March 30th). On the 31st I tried to import 4 new images from a memory card. ACDSee hung and I had to terminate the process. When I restarted the user interface came up and it sat there consuming 100% of the CPU with an hourglass cursor. The only indication of what it might be doing was that it has “Calendar … updating” on the calendar tab.

I tried restoring from last night’s full backup. To do this I had to replace the database with an empty database from the original install as you cannot restore a database if the software is hung.

But this database had the same problem – hung (maybe) updating the calendar.

I tried with an earlier backup and one that didn’t include thumbnails but I had the same result. Those database were working fine when I backed them up but the backups didn’t work.

So I tried starting from a new blank database and re-cataloguing all my files from the metadata stored in the files.

I had about 20,000 images in ACDSee. The cataloguing stopped after about 11,000 images with ther error “ACDSee as encountered a system error and will close now”. What is the “system”?  Your software? Windows? What am I meant to do about it? No idea.

When I restarted that database it hung in the same way – Updating the calendar.

I downloaded your latest build from the web site but it has the same problems.

And to add insult to injury I cannot log into your support forum any more. It says my email or password are invalid. They worked a month ago when I queried you about duplicate keywords in the database.

It is only ACDSee that has problems on my computer. I used Thumbs Plus for years without a problem. All other software works fine – only ACDSee keeps on failing on me.


Here is their reply:

From: ACDSee Support
To: Me
Date: 7 April 2009

I apologize for the inconvenience that caused, and I suggest the following:

A) Reset the registry, optimize the database and delete the thumbnail files and index files.

Please follow the option 1, 2 and 3 in KB article 99

B) If problem persists, we recommend that you rebuild the database:

1. Launch ACDsee Pro 2.5
2. Click on the View menu, then select Organize. At the bottom of the Organize pane under Special Items is the Image Well. Please click on it, then go to the Edit menu and click on Select All Images (you could also use ‘Ctrl + I’ as keyboard shortcut).
3. Click on the Database menu then select Export Database information to a text file and check all three boxes and save the file on your desktop, e.g ‘acd25db.txt’
4. Close ACDsee Pro 2.5
5. In windows explorer, navigate to “C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data\ACD Systems\Catalogs\25Pro\” folder.
6. Rename ‘2’ folder as ’25Pro.bk1′. This will actually make a back up copy for the database
7. Now launch ACDsee 2009 with a new database, which will be created in “C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data\ACD Systems\Catalogs\25Pro\Default” folder.
8. In ACDsee Pro 2.5, go to Database menu, and choose ‘Import |Database..’ and select import from text file and choose ‘acd25db.txt’ (the file exported step 3)
9. In ACDsee Pro 2.5, verify if all database information for the images are complete and correct.

** Test if the issue has been resolved.

Note: If for some reason, after importing database from the text file (‘acd25db.txt’), you find that new database is incorrect or missing. Please use the following procedure to restore your old database.

– Close ACDsee Pro 2.5
– In Windows explorer, navigate to  “C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data\ACD Systems\Catalogs\25Pro\”
– Rename ’25Pro’ folder as 25Pro.bk2
– Rename ’25Pro.bk1′ as ’25Pro’

Optional : Delete the ’25Pro.bk1′ folder (or ’25Pro.bk2′ folder) after verification of the database information that were assigned to the images.

C) You could also try to completely reinstall all ACDSee products, and see if that would make any improvements :

1.0) Steps:
– From Microsoft  Control Panel | Program Features (for Vista) or From Control Panel | Add or Remove Programs (for XP)
– Uninstall [ACDSee Pro 2.5]
– Uninstall all previous versions of ACDSee Software , i.e. ACDsee Pro Photo Manager (e.g ACDsee Pro 2, ACDSee Pro 1 ), ACDsee Photo Manager (e.g ACDsee9, ACDsee 10 ), ACDsee Photo Editor (e.g version 4 and 2008), Canvas11, Canvas X, etc..

– From Microsoft Explorer, navigate to: C:\Program Files\ACD Systems
– Delete the ‘ACD systems’ Folder
– From Microsoft Explorer, navigate to: C:\Program Files\Common Files\ACD Systems
– Delete the ‘ACD Systems’ Folder.


– Download ‘r_acd.exe’ below and then run this utility to remove ACDsee products registry

– Download the [ACDsee Pro 2.5] installer at

5.0) Reinstall the software with your license code or trial license code, and other products that you removed in step 1.0)

Best regards.



That’s a load of technical stuff. I am a photographer – not a systems engineer! Again, maybe OK in 1989, not in 2009. So I replied to the long-suffering James:

From: Me
To: ACDSystems Support
Date: 10 April 2009

Dear James,

Thank you for your response and the tips. I have tried all these solutions in the past. The reason I decided to stop using ACDSee Pro is that I have lost confidence in the product. Even if I manage to recover the information I am sure it will fail again. This is the third time since I purchased 2.5 in November 2008 I have lost the database and have had to rebuild from scratch.

I have purchased Adobe Lightroom 2.3 and was able to index all the images without a problem. I have a huge job to do in re-creating all the keywords and categories. The information is in the files but it is in your proprietary format and Lightroom doesn’t recognize it.

As a test to see if I have any images that cause problems with software I also indexed the images in Thumbs Plus with no errors or database problems.

I am sad because I like many of the features of ACDSee. I also like to support a smaller company. But my main priority is taking pictures and I do not have time to spend restoring and reloading databases.

If you think it appropriate please pass this message on to the development team. They need to hear from customers and understand that these problems are not acceptable in 2009. Twenty or even 10 years ago users were accepting of software quality and reliability problems. But not any more. Database technology is mature and this sort of thing should never occur. I believe I have proved conclusively that the problem is with ACDSee and not with my computer or my images since two other products handle them with no problems.

Thank you for your assistance.


I did not get a reply. I do not blame James – he is doing his best.

If I was in the product management team for ACDSystems I would have replied and tried to work with the user. But no, I received nothing.

7 Responses to “ACDSee Customer Support – I Gave Up”

  1. bkkphotographer Says:

    I probably shouldn’t go on and on about ACDSee but it still makes me cross to think about it three months later. It took about two of those months to recreate my careful keywording in Lightroom for the 20,000 images I had in ACDsee.

  2. bkkphotographer Says:

    A friend replied in an email message that he’s used ACDSee for years with no problems. I don’t think it is the current Pro version though.

    I am sure ACDSee has many satisfied customers – I hope so. Maybe they got ahead of themselves with the Pro version.

  3. jd Says:

    well, at least bkkphotographer got a response from support, even if it was an overwhelming one.. I have version 8 and have had database issues from the beginning but was usually able to solve them. In February I completely lost my database and have not able to restore it from the backup. Support has refused to assist me at all because my version is older than two years. So I, too am confronted with trying to rebuild from scratch the database for thousands of photos and will have completely lost information on a number of them. I, too just want to take photographs and not spend half my time at the computer resolving software problems. If I get another database it will not be ACDSee, especially when I see users with much more current and advanced versions having the same problems. I relied on computer technology to store my photo information and it has completely failed. I would have accepted this 10 or 15 years ago, but not now. Apparently database information systems are not as advanced as the ones creating them think they are. I’m ready to give up on databases for information storage and hardcopy all my prints, write the information on them and file them. Computer technology has not yet replaced the old fashioned way.

    • bkkphotographer Says:

      You and I feel exactly the same way. Sometimes I scream ‘I hate computers!” in intense frustration. I’ve been using them since the mid-1970s and they are a part of my life but oh so frustrating.

      For the software companies a two year old product is obsolete. I know how they feel as businesses but for users it is just planned obscelesence. I have the same issues with most of the software I use. I want the makers to stop adding features I won’t use and make the existing stuff reliable.

  4. Victor Says:

    I concur with the writer of this blog. I’ve used and loved ACDsee Pro 2.5 but when it suddenly developed the quirk of clicking on a photo and having a custom sort done, moving that photo to somewhere else and moving the cursor to the side of the screen… well I contacted support which is nearly non-existant now, and get a bug-fix that doesn’t work, then a few weeks later, a suggestion to turn-off ‘auto-snap’ function of the mouse (making all other programs work less efficiently)…. I TOO GAVE UP ON ACDSEE after being a TOTALLY SATISFIED USER.
    Basically, on the release of 3.0, 2.5 ‘suddenly’ developed a BUG? ACDsee is willing to toss its customers aside, so time to toss a great program aside as well, since management of ACDsee is obviously so poor that its most dedicated and loving customers now walk away to a more PROFESSIONAL COMPANY. Hey, no one promised us a rose garden and this is one more reason to roll over and go Adobe all the way I guess.

    • BKKPhotographer Says:

      I think ACDSee got in over its head trying to make a professional product. They don’t have the resources compared with companies like Adobe. My old favourite, Thumbs Plus, seems to have the same challenges.

      I like using Lightroom and there’s a huge user community for support as well as the official channels.

      Are you going to make the move to Lightroom?

  5. ThumbsPlus 8 Available at Last « Bkkphotographer's Blog Says:

    […] I really liked ThumbsPlus. I used it as my photo database (Digital Asset Management – DAM to the hi-so) for years. I was pushing its limits and I made the mistake of forsaking it for ACDSee Pro. That was a disaster and I moved to Lightroom 2. I talked about my migration path in one of my first posts on this blog here and discussed my reasons for abandoning ACDSee Pro here. […]

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