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Creating WSUS updates for Adobe Reader (v9)

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The first thing you need to do is to get a license from Adobe to distribute the reader. This license is free, and the steps to acquire it are described here.

After you download the reader, follow the other steps on that link to extract the files from the exe file. That page also contains a link to a PDF file that describes additional customizations you can do to the reader. In particular, look at using the Adobe Customization Wizard to turn off automatic updates, remove the Adobe Reader icon from the desktop, and control the programs that get launched every login.

After you have extracted and configured the files for the update:

  • Launch LUP
  • Choose Tools/Create Update.
  • Click the "Browse for Update File", and point to AcroRead.msi.
  • Use Add File to include data1.cab.
  • If you have used the Adobe Customization Wizard, there will also be an MST file. Use Add File to add it. Not sure if abcpy.ini is also required, but I include it anyway.
  • Click Next.
  • The two fields that are required (Vendor and Product) should be set to "Adobe Systems, Inc." and "Adobe Reader."
  • All of the other fields are optional. You can set values in them if you like.
  • Click Next until the update gets added.

Note on 9.4

In my environment, I already had v9.3.x installed before I began using LUP. Unfortunately, you can't (easily) perform any customizations when just installing MSPs. Installing the upgrade to v9.4 allowed me to turn off automatic update checks, remove the desktop icon, disable speed launch, etc.

Warning: You don't want to have updates for both v9.3 and v9.4 approved at the same time for the same machines. Either delete the v9.3 package, remove all approvals or change the definition for v9.4 to indicate that it supersedes the v9.3 package. The last time I used supersedes, it wouldn't let me remove the superseded package (apparently because it was "in use").

Creating WSUS updates for Adobe Reader security patches

While Adobe includes the latest security patches with their Reader download, I don’t include them in my “Adobe Reader 9.3” update. Instead, I create separate updates for each of the security patches. This allows me to keep track of what's installed where.

To create an update for a security patch:

  • Start with Tools/Create Update, and point to the MSP that contains the security patch.
  • Click Next.
  • Change the Package Title and Description to “Adobe Reader x.x.x”.
  • Set the two required fields (Vendor and Product) to "Adobe Systems, Inc." and "Adobe Reader" (which should now be in the pull down).
  • Click Next until the update gets added.

As of this writing, you should add updates for 9.3.2, 9.3.3 and 9.3.4. The 9.3.1 update is included in 9.3.2.

Customizing

If you use the Adobe Customization Wizard, you can turn off the desktop icon, disable auto updates, etc. Unfortunately, the configuration changes only apply to clean installs.

To apply these types of changes to machines where AR is already installed, consider making your own update. While the process of creating your own installer package from scratch is beyond the scope of this document, some general thoughts to get you started:

For the Installable rule, check for the registry value:

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\Adobe Reader Speed Launcher.

Then:

In your update, you might run a vbscript to perform the configuration actions you want:

' Create this key to disable the ARM
WshShell.RegWrite "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Adobe ARM\1.0\ARM\iCheck", 0, "REG_DWORD"

'Remove speed starter from the registry
regKey = "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\Adobe Reader Speed Launcher"
objShell.RegDelete regKey

' Disable ARM
regKey = "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\Adobe ARM"
objShell.RegDelete regKey

' Remove desktop icon
Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
fso.DeleteFile "C:\Users\Public\Desktop\Adobe Reader 9.lnk", True 
fso.DeleteFile "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop\Adobe Reader 9.lnk", True 
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