Updating Adobe Reader in the Enterprise

SCCM Administrators can use the following path to download the latest Windows XI version of Adobe Reader. ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/win/11.x/ In this case I downloaded Adobe Reader 11.0.07 for Windows.

The image below represents the current (8/21/2014) Adobe Reader XI for Windows update path. You can find this information on the Adobe Website along with link-able release notes and other useful information. This is important if you are using SCCM 2012 and using the supercedence feature within the application model. The important thing is to keep a clean copy of the 11.0.0 Adobe Reader base release on your SCCM server or another area that’s easy to get to. The reason for this is that all of the quarterly Adobe Reader releases are cumulative and can be applied to the 11.0.0 Adobe Reader base release directly using the .MSP. Out-of-Cycle (11.0.08 for example) patches should be applied to the last quarterly update as you will see below.

The Adobe Reader XI Update Cycle

SCCM Adobe Reader Update Cycle

For Example: If you are updating Adobe Reader from 11.0.03 to  11.0.04 you can see in the graphic above that this is a quarterly release being updated to another quarterly release. So at this point you can apply the 11.0.04 quarterly update to the  Adobe Reader 11.0.0 base release to create an SCCM 2012 Application. 

Assuming that all the Adobe Reader 11.0.0 base release files have been extracted to C:\AdobeReader1100 and the AdbeRdrUpd11004.msp has been extracted and placed in the same directory, the command line would be:

C:\AdobeReader1100\msiexec /a AcroRead.msi /qb /p AdbeRdrUpd11004.msp

This will update the 11.0.0 Base Release to incorporate all updates up to 11.0.04. You can then use the resulting .MSI and supporting files to create your Adobe Reader update application. If you have used this method to update all of your Adobe Reader installs you can then use the  Supercedence feature in SCCM 2012.

If you are interested in step-by-step instructions on slipstreaming and file extraction there is an Excellent Post on Slipstreaming.

Adobe Reader OOC Updates

Adobe Reader out of cycle (OOC) updates are a different story. The OOC updates can only be applied to the previous quarterly update. For example,  Adobe Reader 11.0.08 is a OOC security update for Windows. That update needs to be applied to the Adobe Reader 11.0.07 Quarterly update, not the 11.0.0 Base Release.

So you would apply AdbeRdrSecUpd11008.msp to the Adobe Reader 11.0.07 .MSI. For example, if you updated your Adobe Reader 11.0.07 with the method explained above and the resulting files were in a directory called C:\AdobeReader11007 and you had the Adobe Reader 11.0.08 patch  AdbeRdrSecUpd11008.msp in the same directory the command would be:

C:\AdobeReader11007\msiexec /a AcroRead.msi /qb /p AdbeRdrSecUpd11008.msp 

What a pain in the ass right? It’s a good thing we get paid for this.

Adobe Reader 11x Updates

To summarize: All quarterly updates are cumulative to the base release, Out-of-Cycle patches are applied to the previous quarterly release as noted below.

11.0.0 Base Release

11.0.0 < 11.0.01 Quarterly Update
11.0.01 < 11.0.02 Out of Cycle Security Patch
11.0.0 < 11.0.03 Quarterly Patch
11.0.0 < 11.0.04 Quarterly Patch
11.0.04 < 11.0.05 Out of Cycle Security Patch
11.0.0 < 11.0.06 Quarterly Patch
11.0.0 < 11.0.07 Quarterly Patch
11.0.07 < 11.0.08 Out of Cycle Security Patch

Extracting the Adobe Reader MSI

To deploy Adobe Reader with SCCM 2012 you can download and extract the latest Adobe Reader .EXE to get to the system files ( .msi, .ini, .msp etc..) using the method below.

From the command prompt: AdbeRdr11004_en_US.exe -nos_ne

Extract Reader EXE to MSI

The following screen will appear.. Adobe Reader XI (11.0.04) – Setup

Extracting Adobe Files

In this case the Adobe Reader EXE (AdbeRdr11007_en_US.exe)  was extracted on a Windows 7 PC and the extracted files can be found in C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Setup.

The sub-directory under Setup in my case was {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-AB0000000001} which is also the GUID or Product ID for this particular MSI.

Now that the Updated Adobe Reader Files are extracted, you can create a SCCM 2012 Adobe Reader Application or create a Package to deploy the Adobe Reader .MSP directly.

Sccm Adobe Reader

 The extracted directory name in this case will also be the uninstall GUID (shown below) when you create your Adobe Reader 11.0.07 application with Configuration Manager 2012.

uninstall GUID

The extracted Adobe Reader files are shown below.

Adobe Reader Extracted Files

Encapsulating the MSP into the MSI

If you look at the files listed above you will see that the patch (the MSP file) is separate from the MSI.

If you need to roll-out the full Adobe Reader Application in SCCM you have the option of encapsulating  the Adobe Reader MSP file into the MSI and then just deploy the MSI with a transforms (MST) file if desired.

I would do this for a full install only, if I already have Adobe Reader XI clients on the network, all I need to do is deploy the Adobe Reader MSP directly.

To add the MSP patch to the MSI from the command line: msiexec /a AcroRead.msi /p AdbeRdrUpd11004.msp

Then when creating my application in Configuration Manager 2012 all I need to do is to add TRANSFORMS = “AcroRead.mst” to the command line after msiexec /i “AcroRead.msi”