Thursday, July 09, 2015

AudibleManager: The "cure" is worse than the "problem"

I buy and listen to a lot of audio books from Audible. I have accounts with both and, because some book publishers refuse to sell me their titles because I don't live in the USA. Weird. I have lost track of how many Audible books I have, but it is probably between 300 and 400 in total.
Recently the following message started appearing every time I open the AudibleManager player on my PC. I ignored it the first few times because I was busy, but eventually clicked on "Yes" to "update" whatever components needed to be updated. Previously this process worked fine. That was in 2010. Fast forward 5 years and it doesn't work. You can go through all the steps in the process, allow it to download all the updates, and you return to the error message above. Thanks for nothing.
So, naturally, I tried the first logical step: uninstall, download the software again and reinstall. I started becoming concerned when the "new install" software was precisely the same as the original that I installed when setting up my Windows 7 machine. It downloaded all the stuff it needed and the "new" AudibleManager was exactly the same as the old one, with exactly the same message (see above).
Next, I contacted tech support at Audible. They are generally pretty good. This time they gave me a 12-step procedure that included deleting a whole bunch or registry entries. Thanks, but no thanks. I asked the tech support person to please ask for a new installer that does those 12 steps so that I don't have to. Fiddling with the registry is not for the faint of heart, since it is very easy to break your entire Windows installation.
Today I received a note from the next level of tech support, repeating the 12 steps. For what it's worth, here they are:
Below you'll find the process to perform a clean uninstall of Audible Manager, removing all components.

Please note; These instructions assume you had Audible Manager installed in the default directory. If you have changed the installation directory please adjust the instructions accordingly. Before proceeding I would recommend saving any audio books that you have downloaded to your computer to another location to avoid losing your audio books. You can import these titles back in to Audible Manager later.

1. To start, make sure Audible Manager and/or Audible Download Manager is not running. To check this: Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete on the keyboard to launch the Task Manager or right click on the system tray and select Task Manager. Click on the Processes tab. You can click on the Image Name heading to alphabetize the processes to make it easier to find the process you are looking for. End the processes: Manager.exe and/or AdHelper.exe and/or AudibleDownloadHelper.exe if they are running.

2. Now click on the Windows Start Menu usually on the bottom left hand corner. Choose Programs -> Audible Manager -> Uninstall Audible Manager.
You can also go to Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs (If running Windows Vista or 7 64-bit, select Programs and Features.). Highlight Audible Manager and click on Change/Remove.

3. A few prompts will be presented at this point. The first will ask if you are sure you want to uninstall Audible Manager. Click Yes.
4. The next prompt will ask if you would like to remove all your Audible audio files. This is very important. Click No. Should you click Yes, the Audible content will be deleted and would need to be re-downloaded.
5. The last prompt will indicate that the uninstall process is complete. Click OK.

6. Next go to the following directory: C:\Program Files and delete the Audible folder. (If running Windows Vista or 7 64-bit, the location may be C:\Program Files(x86))

If, when attempting to delete the Audible folder or any of the files with in the Audible folder, you get an error message that says Access is Denied. This can be caused by one of two things, found on steps 7 and 8. If you are able to delete the Audible folder proceed to step 9.

7. Go to the following directory C:\Program Files\Audible\Bin.

8. Delete the Plug-ins folder and delete all the files within the Bin folder with the exception of the AudibleExt.dll file. You will not be able to manually delete the AudibleExt.dll file.

9. Next go to the Windows Start Menu, choose Run and type Regedit.

10. On the window that comes up, click on the plus sign next to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Then click on the plus sign next to Software and delete the Audible Folder. Next, click on the plus sign next to HKEY_CURRENT_USER, and then click on the plus sign next to Software and delete the Audible Folder.

11. Next, click on the plus sign next to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. The lists of subfolders that appear are alphabetized. Scroll past the folders that begin with the "." dot symbol, and locate the folders that begin with the word "Audible". You should see the following Audible folders grouped together. You may not see all of the following folders, delete only the folders with the word Audible in the name:


12. Once all of the Audible files and folders are removed, please reboot your computer before re-installing Audible Manager from
This is all well and good up to point 5. After that I'm sorry but they are going to have to try a little harder. For now I am content to just click "No".
Such are the joys of trying to enforce DRM when it is unenforceable and the only people who don't understand this is the publishers who sell DRM-free audio CDs without realizing the irony of also selling it as a DRM download.


Willahelm Powers said...

Thanks for the 12 step letter, but f that. I mostly have kindle books, that I mp3 text to speech, but am subscribed to audible, so I get new audibles at least monthly. If I leave the audible manager open, like I prefer to do, then every time I turn around it has that pop-up update b.s. At work there's a java update that pops up but is impossible to update the way administrative block is there. Spell check for emails, that also is blocked from actually working. I spend 20% of the time, well maybe not that much but it's getting there, deleting these pop up window things that just slow you down, distract & derail your train of thought ... for nothing.
Used to have the 8.1 update bar lock my computer out, until I eventually was able to delete it permanently. I never did upgrade to 8.1, I'm win 10 now. Boy do I get tired of the b.s. & companies that don't care about users or employees. Everything is forced. I convert everything to mp3 anyway. Will just have to keep the manager closed otherwise. Thanks again for the steps. maybe I'll bother to do them one day. Maybe.

Claire said...

The problems I've been having is that the Audible Manager won't sync to my device even though it recognizes it. Fortunately, the file is also in Windows Media Player which does work.

Stu Denenberg

Paul Smith said...

Thanks so much for posting this. I think I removed most of this crap-ware.
I foolishly opted into a 'trial', listened to part of one book couldn't cancel, and tried to cancel by email (fail) then phone finally. My PC was inundated with audible start up processes and pop up messages even after cancel. The audible app didn't appear in uninstall programs and the uninstall link when right-clicking only brought me back to that uninstall programs window (where audible wasn't visible). Calling their tech support only gave me a 30 minute run around.
You must have stuck with it a long time to get the real info. THANKS AGAIN.

sys-op said...

I hex-edited the Upgrade.exe file in the Audible 'bin' directory. I altered the first instruction of the winmain() function to be 0xC3. When AudibleManager launches it launches the modified Upgrade.exe, which promptly (and cleanly) exits. No pop-ups fire and AudibleManager runs fine.

BaSH PROMPT said...

I don't even want or need the freakin' updates they're all garbage for every mobile device known to man and nothing to do with the Windows PC I installed it on. Tbh the reason I terminated my Audible account was because at least daily I was ripped out of a game at a crucial moment by their stupid update manager offering me crap I didn't need and didn't want and there was no obvious de-selection in the preferences to turn that crud off.

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