Don’t Buy ACDSee Photo Manager Software!

My first blog post in some time is a public recommendation that you DO NOT buy any image management software from ACDSee, such as ACDSee Photo Manager or ACDSee Pro Photo Manager.

I am taking this rather unusual step because the customer service folks at ACDSee International Systems Inc. have left this as my last resort, after leaving me high and dry with software that simply stopped working after just 5 months:

Image of Windows Vista dialog reading ACDSee Pro 2.5 Photo Manager has stopped working

I have been a user of ACDSee Photo Manager for some years, and have invested a substantial amount of time and effort in creating a comprehensive hierarchy of categories (a.k.a. metadata) with which to catalogue my extensive library of digital images.

Last summer, I was attracted by a new feature in ACDSee Pro Photo Manager 2.5 — the ability to embed my laboriously-created metadata into my image files using Adobe’s XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) technology. This would mean that my metadata was no longer held hostage in ACDSee’s proprietary database, and would also provide a useful backup in the event that the database ever became corrupted. So, I ponied up $77 for the software, taking advantage of a special promotion for existing customers.

After installing the software, I ran the procedure to embed XMP metadata into all of my image files (the vast majority of which are JPEG files from Canon PowerShot cameras). However, after it completed, there was no evidence that any metadata had, in fact, been embedded into the image files. I even took files to work and viewed the XMP metadata through the Adobe Photoshop File Info Advanced tab, and was still unable to find any evidence that the categories had been embedded.

Although frustrated by this apparent failure, I was too busy to do anything about it.

Then, just before Christmas, as I was trying to create a holiday photo-montage to send to friends and family, ACDSee Pro 2.5 Photo Manager stopped working altogether. It simply refused to load, giving the following Windows error message:

ACDSee Pro 2.5 Photo Manager has stopped working
A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.

I reported the problem to ACDSee Systems Technical Support in January, and over the course of a month was directed through a series of troubleshooting procedures, such as:

  • Downloading a tool to remove ACDSee registry entries;
  • Removing thumbnails;
  • Deleting specific database files;
  • Renaming the entire database folder and creating a new database;
  • Setting the start up folder to an empty folder;
  • Uninstalling and then reinstalling the software;
  • Manually deleting ACDSee registry keys;
  • Removing Nokia PC Suite;
  • Disabling Internet and anti-virus software.

Eventually, after running out of alternatives, the tech support suggested that I download a trial version of ACDSee Pro 3.0 Photo Manager, to see if that would resolve the problem. And it did — it loaded fine, and successfully imported my Pro 2.5 database. Unfortunately, however, it’s limited to a 30-day trial — which I am now 19 days through.

At this point, I was told that my only option was to pay another $89 to upgrade.

I argued that this was unacceptable, particularly since it was less than 6 months since I had paid $77 to upgrade before. I said that I was unwilling to pay yet more money for software that had so far proven unfit for purpose, and that the company should either:

1. Fix my ACDSee Pro 2.5 Photo Manager
2. Refund my $77, or
3. Give me a free upgrade to version 3.0

They refused on all counts — hence this blog post.

Anyone up for a class action suit?

8 thoughts on “Don’t Buy ACDSee Photo Manager Software!

  1. Daniel Renaud

    I have ADCsee for some years now for some back to ver 10 or more same problem never resolved
    Acdsee # has stopped Working Upgrade after upgrade same thing did a reg cleaned still gave me
    Acdsee has stop working LOL now they went me to buy ver 18 no way will still do the same thing version after version they want you to buy their upgrade with bugs like Microsoft it’s a trick I’m sick of the program
    Stop working for no reason
    it’s year 2015 didn’t fix their bugs
    Daniel Renaud

  2. Robin

    I’ve just come across this searching for “should I remove thumbnails from acdsee database”. So, even right back at version 2.5 this thing was crapping out! I bought version 12 a few years ago and after a while – and after many, many hours of categorizing – it stopped showing my images. I had the usual copy & paste replies from support, playing with the registry, etc, etc, to no avail.
    I bought another one that slowed down and did the same thing. This is on another computer so can’t blame that. No fix either. The common denominator is ME but I can’t figure it out. I hadn’t installed anything else about the time it crashed and I’d recently had an SSD put in so had a pretty clean disk. Anyway …
    I installed ACDSee again so I could easily view my files. I’ve been using Windows Explorer to make shortcuts to my previews and am storing them in folders. I figure that if I’ve got these, I’m not held ransom to any digital management program. I’m not spending a lot of time categorizing as I’m sure ACDSee will crap out on me again sometime. As it is, it periodically encounters some problem and closed. (It always did).
    It’s very sad and disconcerting that this program, after all these years and upgrades, is still extremely buggy and support is next to useless. I certainly would never buy another of their products.
    I think their customer service and care is abysmal. I agree that you should have been recompensed for the version you had if they couldn’t fix it and it would have been an excellent show of good customer service had they given you the upgrade for nothing. Afterall, you had a paid program that was useless at that stage. I did too and I was not going to give them any more money. Perhaps the reason for not giving you a free upgrade is that it would set a precedent and then EVERYBODY

  3. Robin

    ooops – … EVERYBODY who has ACDSee would have to get the same treatment! I reckon there’d be a fair number of people with crashed programs requiring one that actually worked!

  4. Oliver

    Agree their customer service is one of the worst I ever encountered. It’s that kind of superficial friendliness while not reading email properly and doing cut & paste jobs when responding. You literally see them shrugging their shoulders: “whatever”.
    I have now wasted one full week to place an online order and getting one error message after the other. I explained the issues I was facing in six emails, sent screenshots, spoke to customer service, changed the browser, checked my credit card and PayPal details multiple times (all of which by the way are okay and worked before and after for other online purchases).
    All I got in return were standard responses, repeated over and over, completely ignoring what I was saying. Digital River which handles all billing related inquiries stated they also had error messages when looking at my stalled orders, and, well, that was the end of it. I was told to call a particular number for more help. It turned out that was exactly the number I had just called.
    I strongly recommend to stay away from this company. There is no help when things go wrong. And I mean no help whatsoever. A disgrace.

  5. APR

    I’ve been using an old copy of ACDSee pro 2.5 for many years, and have never had a problem with it.
    I don’t have mine set for updates though. I don’t have any of my software set for auto updates, not even Windows 7. (going to Win 10 later this week).
    Win 7 upgrades cause a lot of things to stop working.

  6. Colin

    To be balanced, I have been using ACDSee software with no particular problems and when I have had a glitch, I have found tech support to be helpful, if a little slow to respond (though I’ve seldom found a software provider that meets the response times they claim).

    I can understand how frustrating it is when software isn’t working as it should and how much of a desire there is to vent, but its probably not fair to conclude from your individual frustrations that the software as a whole is no good, when there are probably many thousands of people out there using it with no issues. Computers a darned complex things, and who knows whether there are other quirks lurking in your own box contributing to the problem.

  7. Denis P Russell

    For the very reasons above I am now looking for an alternative to ACDSee Pro 10. It continually hangs up and like others I have invested in upgrade after upgrade.


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