Disable Adobe Updater with Adobe Customization Wizard 8

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 AdobeReader 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_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\8.0\FeatureLockdown. 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>\AppData\LocalLow\Netopsystems\temp\Adobe Reader 8.0 on Windows Vista or C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Temp\1\Adobe Reader 8.0 on Windows 2000/XP/2003, to a folder elsewhere on your system (e.g. C:\Temp\Adobe)
  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.