Deploying Adobe Acrobat Reader MSI by GPO (Group Policy)

Posted on January 2, 2011

Adobe recently released version 10.0.0 of their Acrobat Reader package. Versions prior to this release did have an MSI available, it took extra steps to extract and acquire it. With 10.0, they finally came to their senses and released a native msi available for download directly from their site.

Download it here:
ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/win/10.x/10.0.0/en_US/

You can now deploy this package using the standard active directory software deployment methods available on all 2008/2008R2 servers. We can confirm that when Acrobat X is installed, it does upgrade previous versions of reader so that you only have the latest instance. In the past, we noticed the installation files did not remove/upgrade existing versions.

To deploy this package by group policy object, complete the following:

1) Download the adobe MSI package and save it to a shared network location accessible to all client stations. (example: \\server\software\adobe\)
2) Load the "Group Policy Management" console
3) Create a new Group Policy Object (call it "Software Deployment - Adobe Acrobat Reader")
4) Edit this GPO and navigate to ( Computer Configuration -> Policies -> Software Settings -> Software Installation)
5) Right click and add new "Package"
6) Browse to the UNC path to the downloaded package ( "\\server\software\adobe\AdbeRdr1000_en_US.msi")
7) Choose "Assigned" and save.
8 ) Browse through your OUs (organizational units) and find the container where your PCs reside. Link this new GPO to this container. If you currently have your computer objects located under the default "Computers" container, you need to create a new OU, move the computers to this location, and link the newly create GPO to it. Storing your computer objects under the default "Computers" location is not recommended and will not work with a lot of active directory features.

Your PCs will now install this package on start-up.
You can also apply updates using this same method and assigning the updates to the original package within the same GPO.

Have fun!