Note, this post is now out of date; for an Adobe Reader 9 version of this post, go here.
Deployment of Adobe Reader in an enterprise environment has been much simplified since version 6, however there is still some important preparation before you think about deploying version 8. Adobe have compiled information on enterprise deployment which are available on the following pages – I prefer the developer page over the page aimed at IT professionals because it has more information and is a little easier to read:
- Adobe Developer Centre: Enterprise deployment
- Acrobat Solutions for IT professionals: Deploy Adobe Acrobat and Reader
Obtaining the Installation Files
Adobe has details of extracting the installation files for enterprise deployment on their support site. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, this is currently Adobe Reader 8.1.2. You can extract the installation files by running
AdbeRdr812_en_US.EXE -nos_ne. You will find the installation files extracted to the following locations:
- On Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008 Setup extracts to: Users<username>AppDataLocalTempAdobe Reader 8
- On Windows XP/Windows Server 2003 Setup extracts to: Documents and Settings<username>Local SettingsTempAdobe Reader 8
Disabling Unwanted Features
Simplifying Adobe Reader in an enterprise environment is something that we’re all looking to do, including disabling the infamous Adobe Updater 5. Disabling features is best done by creating custom transform files. I have instructions on creating your own transform files using the Adobe Customisation Wizard, or you can use the transforms files listed here:First up I have a basic transform that sets the following options:
- Supresses the EULA
- Supresses any reboots after installation (I’ve had mixed results with this)
- Stops the Adobe Reader 8 icon from being added to the Desktop
- Removes the Help/Check for updates menu item and prevents the Updater from running automatically
- Removes the Help/Purchase Adobe Acrobat menu item
- Removes the Help/Digital Editions menu item
- Disables the Start Meeting feature
- Stops Beyond Reader from displaying at startup
- Disables the Adobe Online Services
The second transform provides the same settings as above in addition to completely preventing the installation of Adobe Updater:
Terminal Servers and Browser Integration
When installing Adobe Reader on Terminal Servers, it might be advantageous to disable browser integration, i.e. opening PDF files from within the browser window. The reason for this is that the Reader executable (ACRORD32.EXE) does not exit until the browser is closed. This will cause Reader to continue to consume memory even though it is not in use.To disable browser integration set the DISABLE_BROWSER_INTEGRATION property to YES when installing Reader on Terminal Servers. You can do this by editing the transform or using DISABLE_BROWSER_INTEGRATION=YES on the command line. If the command line is not for you, I’ve created another transform which you can get here:
Hiding Menu Items
List menu items:
Hide menu items:
//HideMenu.js //Hides "File" on main toolbar //app.hideMenuItem("File"); //Hides File - Open app.hideMenuItem("Open"); //Hides File - Attach to email app.hideMenuItem("AcroSendMail:SendMail"); //Hides Edit - Check Spelling app.hideMenuItem("Spelling:Spelling"); //Hides Edit - Preferences app.hideMenuItem("GeneralPrefs"); //Hides View - Menu Bar app.hideMenuItem("ShowHideMenuBar"); //Hides View - Toolbars app.hideMenuItem("Toolbars"); //Hides View - Navigation Panels app.hideMenuItem("Navigation"); //Hides View - Automatically Scroll app.hideMenuItem("AutoScroll"); //Hides View - Read Out Loud app.hideMenuItem("ReadAloud"); //Hides "Document" on main toolbar app.hideMenuItem("Document"); //Hides "Tools" on main toolbar //app.hideMenuItem("Tools"); //Hides Tools - Object Data app.hideMenuItem("DataToolsItem"); //Hides Tools - Customize Toolbars app.hideMenuItem("CustomizeToolbars"); //Hides Help - Beyond Adobe Reader app.hideMenuItem("GettingStarted"); //Hides Help - How to app.hideMenuItem("HelpHowTo"); //Help - Online Support app.hideMenuItem("OnlineSupport"); //Hides Help - Online Support - Knowledge Base //app.hideMenuItem("KnowledgeBase"); //Hides Help - Online Support - Adobe Support Programs //app.hideMenuItem("AdobeExpertSupport"); //Hides Help - Online Support - Accessibility Resource Center //app.hideMenuItem("AccessOnline"); //Hides Help - Online Support - Generate System Report //app.hideMenuItem("SystemInformation"); //Hides Help - Repair Adobe Reader Installation app.hideMenuItem("DetectAndRepair"); //Hides Help - Purchase Adobe Acrobat //app.hideMenuItem("BuyAcro"); //Hides View - Read Out Loud (Great for Terminal Server) //app.hideMenuItem("ReadLoud");
Most medium to large enterprises will have some sort of application deployment tool already in place, therefore deployment for these organisations should be fairly straight-forward – extract the setup files, create a transform and deploy. Adobe has some fairly straight forward documentation on deploying Adobe Reader via different deployment tools:
- Group Policy and Active Directory; and
- Systems Management Server (now System Centre Configuration Manager).
- Apparently documentation for using IBM Tivoli Configuration Manager to deploy Reader/Acrobat is ‘coming in mid-2007’.
Any organisation utilising Group Policy for application deployment may find things a little more challenging. Check out my post on deploying applications with Group Policy for details on doing it the right way.You will also find information on deploying Reader on:
Why two documents are required for Terminal Server and Presentation Server, I don’t know – deployment is exactly the same. If you are deploying via a script, I have details on scripting the installation of Adobe Reader 8.x – Unattended Install: Adobe Reader 8.x.