HOME




© 2015 Adobe Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

Updated Jun 08, 2015.

Administration Basics

Latest release: Acrobat DC

If you’re installing the latest “DC” products, please see Document Cloud Product Tracks.

Managing entitlements

Serialized vs. named user deployments

For 11.x and earlier, admins license and activate the product prior to deployment. DC products provide the additional option of named user deployments. Support for enterprise and federated IDs as well as the ability to manage usage rights via the Enterprise Dashboard provides admins with new tools for managing software, users, and devices. For a comparison of the two entitlement types, see Document Cloud Product Tracks.

The Adobe Enterprise Dashboard provides a central location for managing your Adobe entitlements, including specific users and groups, across your entire organization. The dashboard allows you to manage licenses for users and groups for all Adobe products. For more information, see:

Installation best practices

  • Start with a fresh set of files.

  • Accept the Reader Distribution Agreement.

  • On Windows:

    • Create an MST file or make changes on the command line.
    • Set the file’s read-only attribute on a vendor MSI for which you’re creating a transform.
    • Save your MST in case you need to upgrade with a full installer (MSI or EXE) which would uninstall the existing Reader installation and remove your customizations.
  • If there is a problem, patch a virgin copy of the original files as a test.

  • Before updating, verify what’s already installed. Two versions of Acrobat or two versions of Reader cannot coexist. It is possible to have different versions of Acrobat and Reader on the same machine.

  • Know the supported update order:

    • DC products: All updates, including out of cycle patches, are cumulative to the base release. Chaining updates is never required.
    • 11.x and earlier: The update order is the last base installer (exe or msi) + last quarterly + last security patch (if any).
  • When installing a product of one type over another type (e.g. Acrobat Pro Extended on machines where Acrobat Standard is already installed), always uninstall the other product first. Do not rely on MSI parameters such as REINSTALLMODE=amus to do the work for you.

  • Develop a pre-deployment configuration plan. Know what settings, files, and functionality you need to support or block.

  • Adopt an update strategy. Many admins disable updates to control deployments. If you can, leave updates set to install automatically.

  • Know the product end of life schedule: The schedule is set several years in advance as described at http://www.adobe.com/support/products/enterprise/eol/eol_matrix.html#86.

  • Back up the original files. Do not modify the original download. If you are doing a chained installation, the archive folder should contain the major release installer and the requisite update files. For example:

    • 10.x and later products offer cumulative installers (quarterly installers are cumulative to the last MSI and patches are cumulative to the last quarterly. Thus, for an upgrade to 10.1, the folder would contain a copy of the original installation media as well as the 10.1 update.
    • Older installers are not cumulative. For example, if installing 9.0 and the 9.1 and 9.1.2 updates and patches, the folder would contain the original installation media as well as all required updates.

Typical deployment workflow

  1. Read the release notes. These provide links to installers as well as details about new features and bugs.

  2. Download the requisite installer(s).

  3. Preconfigure the installer. Options include:

    • Windows: Customization Wizard and manual registry modification
    • Macintosh: Customization Wizard and manual plist modification
  1. Set cmd line properties as needed to perform the actual install:

    Windows

    • If you’re using the MSI installer, configure abcpy.ini.
    • If you’re using the Setup.exe bootstrapper installer, configure setup.ini.
    • On your command line, you can use msiexec and Adobe properties and switches.

    Macintosh

    • Use the Adobe Provisioning Tool to set properties for preserialization, EULA suppression, etc.
  2. Deploy according to the recommendations in this guide.

Enterprise vs. end user

Note

DC products provide two tracks. “2015” installers are typically deployed by enterprise while “DC” installers are usually installed by end users. However, this method is not a requirement.

Enterprise installers

Adobe provides enterprise IT with a download site that contains all available installers. Most admins download the product, updates, and patches from ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/ (or Acrobat). This FTP site provides the following:

  • An archive of all currently supported binaries for all products, versions, updates, and patches.
  • Deprecated application versions which are no longer supported.
  • Vanilla installers without additional components. For example, 9.x installers on the FTP site do not include the Adobe Air runtime (9.x).

End user installers

End users typically download installers from the Reader Download Center (RDC) at http://get.adobe.com/reader/. These installers always provide the latest version of the product.

Identifying download authenticity

If you need to perform additional authenticity checks other than getting your download from adobe.com or ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub, check the installer’s signature using third party tools.

Windows

  1. Right click on the installer.
  2. Choose Properties > Digital Signature.
  3. Select Adobe Systems from the signature list.
  4. Choose Details.
  5. Read the signature status.

You can also view the certificate, the counter signer’s certificate, and the certificate chain to the trust anchor for both.

Macintosh

If you download from Adobe’s download center, Adobe’s download manager downloads the bits. Once you mount the dmg, verify its signature using the codesign tool:

$ codesign -vvv /Volumes/Adobe\ Reader\ Installer/Install\ Adobe\ Reader.app

To check a pkg which has been extracted from a dmg:

$ pkgutil --check-signature Adobe\ Reader\ XI\ Installer.pkg

or

pkgutil --check-signature AdbeRdrUpd11009.pkg

Expanding EXE packages

These steps apply to EXE installers, including those downloaded from the Reader Download Center, the FTP site, or Adobe’s LWS site. Note the following:

  • The compression technology changed from Nosso to 7-zip for 10.0 and later.
  • EXEs are only created for the base install (e.g. 11.0), quarterly releases where the second dot increments (rare), and quarterly releases for the en, jp, fr, de, and es languages.
  • EXEs don’t need expansion during bootstrapper deployments.
  • EXEs provide preconfigured chained installs, but you can download individual MSPs from the FTP site.
  • If you are using SMS (not officially supported since 9.0) and do not need to customize the installer, you can use the Nosso-compressed file directly with the SMS installer.

To expand an EXE:

  1. Open a command prompt.
  2. Expand the MSI package with a set of command line switches. The general form of the command to convert a Nosso-compressed file to an MSI package is:
<path>\<product_name>.exe <Nosso, 7-zip, or Adobe switches>...]

For example, the following command specifies that the EXE file is not executed after file extraction (the installer doesn’t run). The files are placed in a directory called “MyFolder”.

<path>\Acrobat_2015_Web_WWMUI.exe -nos_o"MyFolder" -nos_ne

Note

Do not use the current directory, and do not leave any spaces after -nos_o or -sfx_o command.

The following example expands Reader DC using the format <path>\AdobeReaderEXE> -sfx_nu /sALL /msi <Any MSI parameter>.

AcroRdr20151500630032_MUI.exe -sfx_nu /sALL /msi EULA_ACCEPT=YES

Expanding Nosso compressed EXE

<path>\Acrobat_2015_Web_WWMUI.exe -nos_o"MyFolder" -nos_ne

Expanding 7-zip compressed EXE

AdbeRdr1001_en_US.exe -sfx_ne -sfx_o"<some path>\MyFolder"
Switches for expanding the Nosso installer
Nosso switch (9.x) 7-zip switch (10.x) Description
-nos_ne -sfx_ne Do not execute any file after installation (overrides the -e switch) This switch should be used if user only wants to extract the installer contents and not run the installer.
-nos_o -sfx_o Specifies the name of folder where the contents of the expanded package are to be placed. The folder name should be enclosed in quotation marks. It is best if you do not use an existing folder, and there should be no space following the -nos_o. For example: <path>\AdbeRdr90_en_US.exe -nos_o"TestFolder" -nos_ne. The default output folder is %TEMPDIR%/Adobe <Productname>.
  -sfx_nu Silently extracts the installation files from the EXE.

Versioning strategy

Versioning DC tracks

DC track release schedules and their respective versions will be different, but both the Continuous and Classic tracks share an identical methodology. The new strategy is designed to provide better granularity, support more frequent releases, and aid in troubleshooting by providing build information. In it’s generic form, the version number will appear as major.minor.minor_minor.

_images/version.png
Versioning
Version Range Notes
major 1-255 The last two digits of the release year.*
minor 1-255 An internal number indicating when code moves from Trunk to Beta.
minor_minor 1-65535 The first two digits indicate the track. 20 = Continuous. 30 = Classic.
Hidden 4th field Changelist number Only visible if user clicks on the version number in the About box.

* The year-based version number is not the same as the Classic track name. While the Classic track version begins with 15 and the current track version is 2015, the track name only changes at each major release–not every year. The version number increments every year.

Versioning 11.x and earlier

Adobe uses version numbers to clearly communicate to IT professionals the deployment model for a given release.

Acrobat and Reader version numbers contain 3 integers and two dots:

  • The first integer identifies the major release; for example, 9.0.0, 10.0.0, or 11.0.0 (sometimes XX.0 for short).
  • The second integer is incremented when a quarterly update is delivered as a full installer; for example, 9.1.0, 9.2.0, and 10.1.0. These always include previously released out of cycle patches.
  • The third integer is incremented for all other updates and out of cycle patches; for example, 9.4.3, 9.4.4, 10.0.1, 10.0.2, etc. Note that 11.0 products use the format: 11.x.xx (with two integers identifying minor updates starting with 01).

Updating Acrobat is straightforward because all update types are incremental and every one must be installed in order. For Reader, however, use the version number and file type to determine your update strategy. For a list of installer types see the release notes:

Installer file types

New and existing installations may work with one or more of the following file types.

  • Windows

    • MSI: A full installer. Only the Acrobat base install is ever an MSI. For Reader, MSI’s may occasionally be released when the second dot number is incremented (e.g. 10.0 > 10.1).
    • EXE: A full installer. Only the Acrobat base install is ever an EXE. For Reader, EXE’s may occasionally be released when the second dot number is incremented (e.g. 10.0 > 10.1), but they are often available for quarterly releases of tier 1 languages.
    • MSP: An incremental patch installer.
    • MST: MST files are used for a Microsoft Windows Installer transform. The file can perform transforms, adds, deletes, or change properties in a Microsoft Windows Installer (.MSI) package to enable customization of the installation for different groups of users. If you’re using the Customization Wizard, you’ll create an MST file that is applied to the original MSI file.
  • Macintosh

    • PKG: Includes both full and update installers. The download is a DMG file.

Update order

DC products

All updates, including out of cycle patches, are cumulative to the base release. Chaining updates is never required. For all products and tracks, install the base release and the last update.

10-11.x products

The version number helps you determine the number of releases that have been issued since your last install. Attempts to update in an unsupported order will result in failure.

  • To get to the latest version, install the product in this order:

    • Acrobat: Base release > latest quarterly > latest security update
    • Reader: Latest MSI > latest quarterly > latest security update
  • Quarterly updates are cumulative to the base release (or the last installed MSI in the case of Reader), and security patches are cumulative to the last quarterly. Thus, quarterlies always include all previously released out of cycle security patches.

Note

Details about versions, what each version can be installed over, and other items such as bug fixes, features, file sizes, etc., reside in the release notes (10.x and later | 8.x-9.x).

Reader distribution

To distribute the desktop or mobile Reader in any form, do the following:

  1. Go to http://www.adobe.com/products/reader/rdr_distribution1.html.
  2. Choose Apply to distribute Reader.
  3. Fill out and submit the form. After responding, you will be notified within two days whether your application has been accepted or denied.

Your confirmation e-mail will contain a link for the Reader download. The license agreement is good for one download. The license agreement is good for one year, and you will receive a reminder by e-mail in advance of the expiration date.

Note

For details about Acrobat installations, see Common Deployment Options and Methods.