Uninstalling Adobe Reader


If for whatever reason you are looking to remove Adobe Reader from your computers, here’s how to remove these applications via a script or some other unattended means. I have tested this with Adobe Reader 6.0.1, 7.0.9 and 8.0 which are all readily available from the Adobe web site and all use Windows Installer. I was also able to test Adobe Reader 5.1 which utilises a standard setup application from InstallShield.

I was able to gather the uninstall information from the information that is displayed in Add or Remove Programs. This is located in the registry at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall. Each application will have a key below this key that will include information on modifying or removing the application.

Adobe Reader 5.1

The program information is located at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Adobe Acrobat 5.0. Here’s how to perform a silent uninstall of the application:

C:\WINDOWS\ISUNINST.EXE -y -x -f"C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat 5.0\NT\Uninst.isu" -c"C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat 5.0\NT\Uninst.dll" 

This command line should work with all versions of Adobe Reader 5.x. For more information on ISUNINST.EXE command line parameters, see the article on the InstallShield site: INFO: What Command Line Parameters Are Available for IsUninst.exe?

Adobe Reader 6.0.1

With Reader 6, Adobe started using Windows Installer. This means that each version of the application will have a GUID listed in the registry. For Adobe Reader 6.0.1 this is HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A00000000001}. For other versions of 6 you will need to check the GUID because this will have changed. This command line will perform a silent uninstall of Adobe Reader 6.0.1 only displaying a progress bar:

MSIEXEC /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A00000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB- 

Adobe Reader 7.0.9

For Adobe Reader 7 here is the uninstall registry key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A70900000002}. This is similar to version 6, but with this version you can see that the GUID contains the application version (A709). So if you have other versions of Reader 7 installed you should be able change the GUID to match the version number. Here’s the uninstall command:

MSIEXEC /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A70900000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB- 

Adobe Reader 8.0

If you’re already looking to uninstall Reader 8, here’s the uninstall key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A80000000002}. Just like version 7 the application version is included in the GUID and should be updated as we see point releases for this version.

MSIEXEC /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A80000000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB- 

Uninstall Strategies

I should note that if you are deploying Adobe Reader 7 or 8, earlier versions of Adobe Reader (6 and 7 only) will be removed before the newer version is installed. If you are upgrading from version 5, you will end up with both versions installed as 5 will not be automatically uninstalled.

To remove these applications you will have to look at something like SMS or Altiris Deployment Solution to perform the command line on each machine. You could also look at creating a custom Windows Installer package with Wise Package Studio or FLEXnet InstallShield to run the command line.

I also tested a remote uninstall using PSEXEC from Sysinternals. Uninstalling Adobe Reader 5 in this manner just didn’t get far as the ISUNINST.EXE process just sat there indefinitely, but remotely uninstalling Adobe Reader 7 was successful. This is the command line I used, nice and simple:

PSEXEC \\REMOTEMACHINE MSIEXEC /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A70900000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

Update 1: Thanks to David, here are the commands for uninstalling Adobe Reader 3.0 and 4.0:

Adobe Reader 3.x

C:\WINDOWS\uninst.exe -fC:\Acrobat3\Reader\DeIsL1.isu

Adobe Reader 4.0

C:\WINDOWS\ISUNINST.EXE -f"C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat 4.0\NT\Uninst.isu" -c"C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat 4.0\NT\Uninst.dll"

Update 2: Here are a couple of documents on the Adobe support site for removing Reader:

If all else fails you can resort to the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility to get Reader to uninstall.
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  • David

    Adobe Technote: Install and remove Acrobat products using the command line (7.0 on Windows)
    http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/knowledgebase/index.cfm?id=330817

  • David

    For Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.0 and 3.01: C:\WINDOWS\uninst.exe -fC:\Acrobat3\Reader\DeIsL1.isu

    For Adobe Acrobat 4.0:
    C:\WINDOWS\ISUNINST.EXE -f”C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat 4.0\NT\Uninst.isu” -c”C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat 4.0\NT\Uninst.dll”

  • S.

    Here is the situation. I see the folder Acrobat 4.0 at this location “C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 4.0 then typed CMD to prompt the command then typed in what you suggested
    C:\WINDOWS\ISUNINST.EXE -f”C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat 4.0\NT\Uninst.isu” -c”C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat 4.0\NT\Uninst.dll”
    The UninstallShield appears then a small box pops up saying, “Unable to locate the installation log file ‘”C:\Program’. uninstallation will not continue. Did I do it correctly? What should I do to uninstall Acrobat 4.0 when that error message occurs?

    I also see the folder “Acrobat 5.0,” “Acrobat 6.0,” and “Adobe Acrobat 7.0″ at that location “C:\Program Files\Adobe\” and tried the command you suggested but the folders are still not removed. The Adobe Acrobat 7.0.9 is hindering me to open other programs and just run the computer normally. I am not familiar with the installation process of the different versions of the Adobe Acrobat software. Can you please help? Thanks.

  • S.

    I meant to say, “I am not familiar with the un-installation process of the different versions of the Adobe Acrobat software.” typo above

  • Aaron Parker

    Hi S. the error in the command you’re seeing is probably due to the quote tags that WordPress changes. Re-copy the command from this page and you should now see the correct quote tags.

  • http://n/a Mat

    I used the Adobe Reader 4.0 command to uninstall Adobe Reader Acrobat 4.0 on my computer. I was originally not able to remove it using the Add/Romove in the Command Panel. My question is why is the Adobe Acrobat 4.0 @ .14 mb still visible in Add/Remove after the unistallation?

  • steve stevens

    What is the simplist way to uninstall adobe reader 7.0.9 I’m a navise at this stuff I’m run windows xp I cannot down load the new version, I cannot run the existing 7.0.9. no one seem’s to help. thanks Steve

  • Lansti

    Hi, I have a problem, i have both 5.0 and 6.0 installed.
    I’m now working on uninstalling these applications, before i install 8.0.
    But when i run “C:\WINDOWS\ISUNINST.EXE -y -x -f”C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat 5.0\NT\Uninst.isu” -c”C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat” i get this message:
    “UNABLE TO LOCATE THE INSTALLATION LOG FILE. UNINSTALLATION WILL NOT CONTINUE”.

    I have looked into the registry, but cant find any folders under …\uninstall

  • Amy

    Hi. I am using a Gateway PC running on Windows XP (home) and I recently downloaded Adobe Reader 8.0 (I only needed it for one document) however I CANNOT for the life of me uninstall it. I am able to open ‘control panel’ but when I click the change/remove hardware icon, Adobe opens up and gives me the message “Adobe cannot open ‘rundll32.exe’ because it is either not a supported file type or because the file has been damaged (for example sent as an email attachment and wasn’t correctly coded).” –which i’ve never used adobe or ‘control panel’ options for or in an email –So I DO NOT understand what thats all about. Also I tried typing ‘rundll32.exe’ in the ‘run’ category again, adobe comes up. For some reason Adobe has taken it upon itself to OPEN everything. I can’t open things like my antivirus, yahoo messenger, msn messenger, yahoo, yahoo music, etc etc everything else that seems like a start up file (as they always appear in the lower right hand of my comp. next to the clock) NONE of those open. Even right clicking on a program icon and clicking ‘open’ ‘run as’ nothing opens them, or adobe again pops up! I can losing my mind over this! i cannot get this POS program off my computer! Heres what I don’t understand why is Adobe trying to open files (every thing it seems) that oviously are not PDF files? Help please !!!

  • Neels

    Thank you so much for sharing this info – it helped a lot in creating a script to remove some old software from lots of computer systems in my organization!!!

  • http://www.nolme.com Nlme

    Thank you for informations. Here's another comments.

    GUID depends on Adobe Reader Language.
    So :
    AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A70900000002 = US
    AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A70900000002 = FR

    As you can see, 1033 become 1036. It's based on PageCode : http://www.science.co.il/language/locale-codes.as

    But sometimes, on French computer, the GUID still have 1033 Oo.

  • http://www.nolme.com Nolme

    Here's our code for French/ English uninstall :

    ECHO Adobe Reader 6.0.1
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A00000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A00000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 6.0.2 Update
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-0000-0000-0000-6028747ADE01} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 7.0
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7646-A70000000000} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7646-A70000000000} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 7.0.5
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A70500000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A70500000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 7.0.7
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A70700000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A70700000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 7.0.8
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A70800000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A70800000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 7.0.9
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A70900000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A70900000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 7.1
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A71000000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A71000000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 8
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A80000000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A80000000002} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 8.1
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A81000000003} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A81000000003} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 8.2
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A82000000003} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A82000000003} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 9.1
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A91000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A91000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 9.2
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A92000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A92000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 9.3
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A93000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A93000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 9.4
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A94000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-A94000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

    ECHO Adobe Reader 10.0
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-AA0000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-
    MsiExec.exe /UNINSTALL {AC76BA86-7AD7-1036-7B44-AA0000000001} REBOOT=SUPRESS /QB-

  • Lhensley

    I seem to have Adobe Reader 9.4.1 “stuck”, can’t open it or uninstall. When trying to uninstall I get message that the feature I’m trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable. In the browse dropdown it give me this path C:Program FilesAdobeReader 9.0Setup Files{AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A94000000001} which doesn’t work either. The message suggests going to an alternate path to a folder containing the installation package “Adberdr940_en_US.msi” but I’m unable to find that. Please help!