Disable Adobe Reader XI Updates with Group Policy

01-disable_reader_11_updates-iconLike Adobe Reader X, an installation of Adobe Reader XI can check for updates automatically. In a small environment, this may not be a problem (honestly, I would encourage it!). However, in a larger (typically managed) environment, this can generate unnecessary bandwidth usage, problems when users update their own installs with untested updates, and unnecessary support requests to your Help Desk or IT personnel. Here’s how to disable the Reader XI update checks so that your end users don’t see update notices and can’t manually install updates.

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[Sort of] Manage Adobe Reader XI with Group Policy

When Adobe announced Adobe Reader XI a few weeks ago, one of the new features listed was the ability to [finally!] manage common enterprise settings with Group Policy. Previously, you had to do all of this by customizing your install with the Adobe Customization Wizard. If you didn’t do that, your other option was to either edit the Registry or use one of the custom ADM/ADMX files floating around out there that (#1) isn’t supported by Adobe and (#2) isn’t true Group Policy since it isn’t modifying one of the Policy areas of the Registry.

Now that Adobe has released Adobe Reader XI, the administrator templates are also available for download (ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/win/11.x/11.0.00/misc/ReaderADMTemplate.zip), here’s how you install the Administrative Templates to start managing the settings Adobe deemed to be “common enterprise settings.”

Update (November 8, 2012) – Adobe has released the Adobe Customization Wizard XI for Windows. You can download it here: http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=5515.

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Disable Adobe Reader X updates with Group Policy

By default, an installation of Adobe Reader X will check for updates and then will prompt the end user to install the update whether or not the user has Admin rights. In a small environment, this may not be a problem, but in a larger environment, this can generate a lot of unnecessary support requests when a user that doesn’t have Admin rights gets a UAC prompt that wants Admin credentials. Here’s how to disable the Reader update checks so that your end users don’t see messages like this:

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