January 6, 2007

Disable Adobe Updater with Adobe Customization Wizard 8

Note, this post is now out of date; for an Adobe Reader 9 version of this post, go here.

Adobe have released the Adobe Customization Wizard 8 to provide a method for customising the deployment of version 8 of the Acrobat products. This tool allows you to disable all of the most useless features included in the new release including Digital Editions, Adobe Online Services and even Adobe Updater 5. This means that you can get rid of the Updater5 folder that keeps appearing in your Documents folder.

Adobe Customization Wizard 8 is a free downloadable utility designed to help IT professionals take greater control of enterprise-wide deployments of Adobe Acrobat 8 and Adobe Reader 8. With it you can customize the Acrobat installer and application features prior to deployment. Providing a graphical interface to the Windows Installer for Acrobat, the Customization Wizard enables IT administrators to:

  • Modify the installer via a Transform File (or MST file) without altering the original package (MSI file)
  • Customize the look and feel of Acrobat or Reader before deployment to meet the unique needs of your user base.

These instructions are aimed at IT professionals or those with experience installing software. If these instructions look too complex, I recommend getting someone to help out with this process.

Disabling Adobe Updater The Easy Way

If you already have Adobe Reader installed and are looking for a simple way to disable the Updater from running automatically, run the following command from a Command Prompt. This will require admin access to the machine you are running this on, so if you are running Windows Vista you must use an elevated command prompt.

REG ADD "HKLMSOFTWAREPoliciesAdobeAcrobat Reader8.0FeatureLockdown" /v bUpdater /d 0 /t REG_DWORD /f

Creating a Transform File

If you are invovled in deploying Adobe Reader or want an automated method of disabling Updater, you’ll need to create a transform file. Editing the transform to remove Updater 5 is a simple process. You will have to extract the installation files from the download of Adobe Reader 8 before beginning:

  1. Launch the Adobe Customization Wizard and then open an Adobe Reader 8 install package (the .MSI file)
  2. Click Direct Editor and choose File under Tables
  3. Select the AdobeUpdater rows starting from AdobeUpdate.cer on row 13 to Aum5_AdobeUpdater.exe on row 31
  4. Right click these rows and choose Drop Rows
  5. Now select FeatureComponents under Tables
  6. Select all of the rows where Feature_ is listed as AUM5 (Click the Feature_ header to order the rows starting with AUM5)
  7. Right click these rows and choose Drop Rows
  8. Click Transform and then Generate Transform… to create a transform file

I have added new transform files for Adobe Reader 8.1 and Reader 8.1.1. The transform files listed here support Reader 8.0 only.

So you don’t have to, I’ve created a few transform files for use in deploying Adobe Reader 8. The first file will remove all of those new online features that come with Reader 8, the second file will do the same as well as completely prevent the installation of Adobe Updater 5 and the third file will prevent the installation of Adobe Updater 5 only (leaving the online features intact):

Please note that if you install Adobe Reader using one of the above transform files, a number of registry keys will be created at: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesAdobeAcrobat Reader8.0FeatureLockdown. If you manually delete this key, it will be re-installed the next time you launch Adobe Reader.

Installing Adobe Reader 8

I’ve updated my Adobe Reader 8 install script to reflect some of the things we can do with the Customisation Wizard, however here’s the quick lowdown on how to install Adobe Reader 8 without all of the new in your face features:

  1. Download the Adobe Reader 8 package from the Adobe web site
  2. Run the package and save the extracted setup files to from C:Users<username>AppDataLocalLowNetopsystemstempAdobe Reader 8.0 on Windows Vista or C:Documents and Settings<username>Local SettingsTemp1Adobe Reader 8.0 on Windows 2000/XP/2003, to a folder elsewhere on your system (e.g. C:TempAdobe)
  3. Download this zip file that contains the install script and a copy of the transform file that will disable Adobe Reader’s new online features and Updater 5
  4. Extract InstallAdobeReader8.CMD and AdobeReader8NoOnlineNoUpdater.MST into the same folder to where you have copied the Adobe Reader 8 setup files in step 2
  5. Run InstallAdobeReader8.CMD from Windows Explorer or a command prompt (an elevated command prompt in Windows Vista) and your custom installation of Adobe Reader 8 will complete
  6. Voila! No more Updater5 folder inside your Documents folder and no annoying online features of Adobe Reader 8.
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  • Paul Byrley

    Adobe Updater seems to be stealing 100% of processor for lengthy periods of time. I have had to power down to stop it. Your solutions don’t seem to address my problem. Am I missing something or do you have a suggestion?

  • Andrew Wright

    Paul, have you found a solution yet to disable Adobe Updater? I have tried all sorts of approaches to kill it but it keeps reappearing like the Alien and gobbling up processor power.

  • Aaron Parker

    Hi Paul, have you tried removing Adobe Reader completely and then reinstall using my transform files? The transform files will stop Updater from being installed at all so you won’t have that issue.

  • Alison

    Wow, thank you! I just used the remove Updater 5 and it worked perfectly with 8.1.

    Just one note: I used it on another machine that had 8.0 on it. It patched 8.0 to 8.1 then forced a restart (no prompts). After running again it removed the updater.

  • Aaron Parker

    Great to hear it’s worked for you.

  • Bill Griggs

    Will this also work for Acrobat 8 Pro?

  • Aaron Parker

    Yes the Customisation Wizard can also be used for Acrobat 8 Pro, see the instructions here for which tables to drop to stop Updater from being installed:

  • David L. aka alphonse

    Subj: Disabling Auto Updater with Adobe Customization
    wizard 8.
    Removed & cleaned out thoroughly the original installation that was using 100% cpu power.
    Followed the procedure given on this page –
    per courtesy>blog
    Works great – no cpu hogging (hope it remains that way)
    The Updater is gone! That’s the main thing.
    The original Adobe install used about 125+ mb.
    Now, it’s about 85 mb.
    Great stuff.
    Thanks and regards.

  • Richard Simpson

    This info is great and I love having a slim acrobat reader 8.1 install without updater.
    However I am having using pdf forms now. Specifically the W-4 form from the IRS. When I click on a field to fill it out it says:

    “The ‘Updater’ plug-in has been removed. Please re-install Acrobat to continue viewing the current file.”

    The file loads ok and is printable, the form is not able to be filled out. I also ran ar-speedup which prevents a lot of useless plugins from being loaded. I am about to do a complete uninstall and reinstall with cmd script -speedup to see if that is the culprit, but I was wondering if anyone else was having problems with pdf forms and received the above message and curious what you have done about it, besides installing updater.

  • Richard Simpson

    After uninstalling and reinstalling without Updater, the form functionality works fine. It appears to have been an issue with ar-speedup. I did notice there was a checkbox in ar-speedup for AcroForm, that has other dependent plug-ins (that were not selectable). But I was unable to “tweak” the install without completely uninstalling. Reader loads pretty quickly now so I won’t probably bother with ar-speedup.
    I’m also not sure what the purpose of the transforms and the MSI file. I just use a script similar to the .cmd file listed here, with the addition of elimination the fedex printto icon and the much smaller .exe file.
    Thanx again, good stuff.

  • Holla

    The following corresponds to “Aum5_Reader_Cert” under “Component”

    Under “DeleteFiles”

    AMT_Files ** AMT $Aum5_Reader_Cert=2

  • Holla

    This might be ok to remove too.

    Under “CustomAction”

    AumUnregister 3153 Updater.api_NON_OPT UnregisterAppWithAUM
    AumRegister 3153 Updater.api_NON_OPT RegisterAppWithAUM

  • Holla


    Under “CreateFolder”

    AMT Aum5_rootCert.cer

  • Holla

    Using some of suggestions in posts I made above cause errors. It’s probably best to ignore deleting some entries


  • Rick

    add this line to your autoexec.bat
    ren C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Updater5 C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Updater_NO

  • Deb

    The Adobe Updater 5 is driving me crazy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I’ve tried a few of these tips, but nothing is working. It is taking up 100% of my cpu and it will not stop!!

    I’ve tried to shut down the computer and then restart but that doesn’t work….. Could someone out there please help me please !!!

    Thanks, Deb

  • Brendon

    Thanks for your help, I’ve been creating a basic batch file based silent install setup for my network and your website has been really helpful. Keep up the v good work!

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