6   Windows cmd line and msiexec

6.1   MSI support

Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader installers are developed using standard Windows Installer technology. Microsoft Installer (MSI) commands were not invented by Adobe. Adobe provides this information as a courtesy, but Adobe technical support can not help you craft a command line syntax to fit specific situations and environments.

Required MSI versions are as follows:

  • For 9.x and earlier: 3.0.
  • 10.0 and later: 3.1

6.2   Setting installer properties

The installer contains a number of customer facing properties with default values that can be overridden by passing command line arguments to the installer. The property rules are as follows:

  • Like most Adobe properties, these MSI properties can be run on the cmd line, in setup.ini, or in the abcpy.ini file.
  • Some properties may be preset in the installer tables; other have to be manually set.
  • Public property arguments must be all uppercase characters, but can include underscores.
  • Order of precedence from least to most controlling is as follows: Property table > Transform > command line. That is, command line run properties override any installer setting.
  • Installer tables may vary by product type (Reader vs. Acrobat vs. Acrobat Standard, etc.) uses Reader. Inspect the tables of the product you are installing to determine if a default is provided.

While it is possible to use the Customization Wizard’s Direct Editor or 3rd party tool such as ORCA to modify the installer tables, Adobe strongly recommends that you do not do so unless you are knowledgeable about editing and troubleshooting installer tables. Improper use can result in the corruption of the installer.

Wizard’s Direct Editor


6.3   MSI best practices

  • When installing over an existing product, remove the old product first in a separate action.
  • When scripting MSI actions, do not use RemoveExistingProducts after InstallFinalize. Doing so results in the installer updating files before removing the old application, and in the event of application removal failure, the installation may be incomplete.
  • Do not use REINSTALLMODE=amus which forces all files to be reinstalled regardless of checksum or version. Such usage could result in a mixture of files from the old and new products. The recommended properties are vomus.
  • Use TARGETDIR on the command line or the AIP user interface to specify an install location other than C: when creating an AIP.

6.4   MSI usage

Adobe has tested and supports the installation of Acrobat products using the command line. You can use command line methods to install software in many ways, such as typing commands at a command prompt, in a batch script (.bat file) or using Microsoft Systems Management Server (deprecated for 10.x).


When using the bootstrapper, command line parameters can be sent to msiexec from Setup.ini using /msi.

The syntax for msiexec is as follows:

  • Windows Installer command-line options are not case-sensitive.
  • Brackets ([]): Optional items
  • Braces ({}); Set of choices separated by a | from which the user must choose only one. For example: {black|white}:

6.5   MSI switches

For Microsoft documentation, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Aa367988.

msiexec command line parameters
Command Description
{ /?| /h} Displays the Windows Installer version and copyright information.
/a Applies the administrative installation option.

For product repair. Enables one or more of the command-line options below:

  • p: Reinstalls only if file is missing.
  • o: Reinstalls if file is missing or if an older version is installed.
  • e: Reinstalls if file is missing or an equal or older version is installed.
  • d: Reinstalls if file is missing or a different version is installed.
  • c: Reinstalls if file is missing or the stored checksum does not match the calculated value.
  • a: Forces all files to be reinstalled.
  • u: Rewrite all required user-specific registry entries.
  • m: Rewrites all required computer-specific registry entries.
  • s: Overwrites all existing shortcuts.
  • v: Runs from source and re-caches the local package
/g Identifies the language. Syntax: /g LanguageID
/i Installs or configures a product.

Advertises a product. If you want to install the application with elevated privileges, use /jm. Syntax:

  • msiexec /j [{u | m}] Package
  • msiexec {u | m} Package /t TransformList
  • msiexec {u | m} Package /g LanguageID
  • m: Advertises to all users of the computer.
  • u: Advertises to the current user.

Specifies the path to the log file. To include the v option in a log file using the wildcard flag, type /L*v at the command prompt. The Windows Installer log file options can also be used with the uninstall and repair processes. For example, use /L*v to set verbose logging.

  • Syntax: msiexec /L [i][w][e][a][r][u][c][m][p][v][+][!]LogFile.txt
  • i: Logs status messages.
  • w: Logs nonfatal warnings.
  • e: Logs all error messages.
  • a: Logs startup of actions.
  • r: Logs action-specific records.
  • u: Logs user requests.
  • c: Logs initial user interface parameters.
  • m: Logs out-of-memory.
  • p: Logs terminal properties.
  • v: Logs verbose output. To use v, specify /L*v.
  • +: Appends to existing file.
  • !: Flushes each line to the log.
  • *: Logs all information except for the v option. This is a wildcard.
/p Applies an update.

Sets the user interface level. /qb+- is not a supported user interface level. The modal box is not displayed if the user cancels the installation.

  • Syntax: msiexec /q{n | b | r | f | n+ | b+ | b-}
  • /qn: Displays no user interface.
  • /qb: Displays a basic user interface.
  • /qr: Displays a reduced user interface with a modal dialog box displayed at installation end.
  • /qf: Displays the full user interface with a modal dialog box displayed at the end.
  • /qn+: Displays no user interface, except for a modal dialog box displayed at the end.
  • /qb+: Displays a basic user interface with a modal dialog box displayed at the end.
  • /qb-: Displays a basic user interface with no modal dialog boxes.
/qb Indicates the user interaction level for this installation.
/t Applies transform to advertised package. Syntax: /t TransformList
/x Uninstalls a product.
/y Calls the system API DllRegisterServer to self-register modules passed on the command line.
/z Calls the system API DllUnRegisterServer to unregister modules passed on the command line.
Package Code Specifies the globally unique identifier of the Windows Installer package. For Acrobat products, this is the GUID.
Package Not supported. Specifies the name of the Windows Installer package file

6.6   MSI properties

You can also use Windows Installer functions to set properties on the command line. For example, you can set a company name or suppress rebooting. shows a few of the MSI properties defined by the Microsoft Windows Installer, but you should refer to Microsoft documentation at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa370905(v=VS.85).aspx for a complete and current list.

Unsupported MSI properties

The following properties are unsupported:

  • SHORTFILENAMES is no longer supported. Microsoft has removed this property from the Windows 7 Logo Requirements.
  • ALLUSERS is not working properly in version 9.x.
MSI installer properties
Property Description
ADDLOCAL A list of comma delimited features to install locally. The features must be present in the Feature column of the Feature Table. To install all features locally, use ADDLOCAL=ALL on the command line rather than the Property Table to avoid creating an installed package that cannot be correctly removed.
ALLUSERS Determines where configuration information is stored. It is a per machine setting and is set to 1 by default for both Acrobat and Reader.
COMPANYNAME The name of the company installing the product.
INSTALLDIR Specifies a non-default installation directory.
INSTALLLEVEL The property specifies an installation level threshold. A feature is installed only if the value in the Level field of the Feature table is less than or equal to the current INSTALLLEVEL value. 100 is the default install level.
REBOOT Force or suppress rebooting.
REINSTALL List of features to reinstall. Setting this property results in a required reboot for 9.x. For 10.x products, let the MSI engine decide what to reinstall; doing so should result in fewer reboots.
REINSTALLMODE A string containing letters that specify the type of reinstallation to perform. Use of the vomus switches is the recommended configuration.
REMOVE List of features to be removed. You can pass either ReaderBrowserIntegration or AcrobatBrowserIntegration to REMOVE when a product is already deployed and a subsequent deployment requires disabling browser integration.
TARGETDIR Specifies the root destination directory for the installation. TARGETDIR must be the name of one root in the Directory table. There may be only a single root destination directory. During an administrative installation this property specifies the location to copy the installation package. Do not create an AIP at the root directory. Use the AIP UI or this property on the command line to install from a directory other than C:, D:, etc.
TRANSFORMS Property that is used to specify what transform (.mst) files should be applied to the package. In some cases, this will be the MST you created via the Customization Wizard. Use with /i, not /p.
USERNAME The username of the person performing the installation.

6.7   Troubleshooting msiexec

When using msiexec, if you receive an “Incorrect command line parameters” error message, verify that:

  • Your syntax is correct.
  • There is a space before the log file name if you use the syntax for writing a log file.
  • You have not placed a /qn switch between the /i switch and the name of the MSI file.


For more information about msiexec options, refer to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc759262(WS.10).aspx#BKMK_Install.

6.8   Command line examples

These examples demonstrate different ways to install Acrobat products using the command line. Keep in mind the following:

  • The examples use specific products and versions. Modify the command line to suit your environment, changing paths and file names as appropriate.
  • It is possible to apply patches during an initial installation.
  • For multilingual installers, use the selected language transform in the command line (for example, 1036.mst for the French language).
  • Transforms in the installer media directory do not require fully qualified paths in the command.
  • Patches do require fully qualified paths.


As of July 2010, Reader update installers on the Reader Download Center for Tier 1 are chained by default. If you are downloading the product from the RDC rather than the FTP site, just download the latest file and you’ll get all patches in one file.

6.8.1   Installing without Visual C++

Use IGNOREVC10RT if you do not need the following features:

  • PDF Creation add-on (PDFMaker plugin) for Microsoft Office 64-bit applications (viz. Word, Excel, PowerPoint & Outlook) will not appear.
  • Send emails or resolve addresses via 64-bit Microsoft Outlook.
msiexec /i <path to AcroStan.msi> /qb IGNOREVC10RT=1

6.8.2   Language selection

Use LANG_LIST if you would like to specify languages via the command line rather than the Wizard’s MST. Specify both the language code and the language-specific MST:

msiexec /i <path to AcroPro.msi> LANG_LIST=en_US TRANSFORMS=<1033.mst>  /qb

For details, see 7   Adobe Properties

6.8.3   Creating an AIP

To create an administrative installation for a customized installer, use /a and TRANSFORMS. For example, the following installs Acrobat Pro with an MST file created with the Customization Wizard:

msiexec /a AcroPro.msi TRANSFORMS="AcroPro.mst"

To create an administrative installation for a major release installer and a patch, use /a and /p. For example, the following installs Acrobat Pro 7 and the 7.0.5 patch:

msiexec /a AdbeRdr1000_lang_ID.msi /p AdbeRdrUpd1010_en_US.msp


It’s always a good idea to keep the files in the same directory and cd to that directory so that you can run the commands from there.

6.8.4   Installing with an MST

Updates and patch installers can be modified with MST files created via the Customization Wizard shows how to install and modify an Acrobat product with an MST file. This example installs a customized version of Acrobat Professional, displays a basic user interface, and enables verbose logging.


See also the chained update examples below.

Customized MST install

msiexec /i AcroPro.msi TRANSFORMS="AcroPro.mst" /qb /L*v c:\acrobat.log

6.8.5   Chaining updates

To install a quarterly update, provide the path to the base MSI and use PATCH to point the updates. Note that because 10.x and later products have cumulative installers, you do not need to install all the intermediate out of cycle security patches.   11.x updates with MST

msiexec /i [UNC PATH]\AcroRead.msi
PATCH="[UNC PATH]\AdbeRdrUpd11001.msp;
[UNC PATH]\AdbeRdrSecUpd11002.msp" TRANSFORMS="AcroRead.mst"   10.x updates with MST

msiexec.exe /i "[UNC PATH]\AdbeRdr1000_lang_ID.msi"
PATCH="[UNCPATH]\AdbeRdrUpd1010_en_US.msp" TRANSFORMS="1036.mst"   9.x updates with MST

Installing Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro EFG (French) with updates 9.1 and 9.1.2 as a single transaction in interactive mode. To run in silent mode, append /qn.

msiexec.exe /i "[UNC PATH]\AcroPro.msi"
[UNCPATH]\AcrobatUpd912_all_incr.msp" TRANSFORMS="1036.mst"   9.x updates with REINSTALLMODE

When applying multiple patches in a chain patch transaction, you can set the REINSTALL and REINSTALLMODE public properties as shown. For example, to run msiexec to apply updates 9.1, 9.1.2, and 9.1.3 as a chained patch transaction silently over a previously installed Acrobat 9 Pro.

msiexec /p "[UNC PATH]\AcroProStdUpd910_T1T2_incr.msp;
[UNC PATH]\AcrobatUpd913_all_incr.msp "REINSTALLMODE=vomus REINSTALL=ALL /qn   9.x Acrobat example

msiexec.exe /i "[UNC PATH]\AcroPro.msi"
[UNCPATH]\AcrobatUpd913_all_incr.msp TRANSFORMS="1036.mst"

6.8.6   Silent uninstalls

A silent removal runs without any dialog boxes to show the user that the removal is running. All products use the same command line and the same installer file for silent updates:

msiexec /x {[Package Name | Product Code]} /qn


You must include the braces in the command line. An MSI package name (e.g. AcroRead.msi) can be substituted for the Product Code. For Acrobat products, the Product Code is the GUID.

6.8.7   Browser integration

Pass either ReaderBrowserIntegration or AcrobatBrowserIntegration to REMOVE when a product is already deployed and a subsequent deployment requires disabling browser integration. For example:

msiexec /i {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A91000000001} REMOVE=ReaderBrowserIntegration /q

To re-enable Browser Integration, use ADDLOCAL:

msiexec /i {AC76BA86-7AD7-1033-7B44-A91000000001} ADDLOCAL=ReaderBrowserIntegration /q

6.8.8   9.x patching

This example only applies to 9.x and earlier. To install the 9.1.1 security update at the same time as the 9.1 quarterly, use the following command:

set MSINAME=AdobeReader
set MSIVER=9.1.0
start /w msiexec /i %WINDIR%\installer\%MSINAME%\%MSIVER%\AcroRead.msi TRANSFORMS=%WINDIR%\installer\%MSINAME%\%MSIVER%\AcroRead.mst /update WINDIR%\installer\%MSINAME%\%MSIVER%\AdbeRdrUpd911_all_incr.msp ALLUSERS=2 DISABLE_CACHE=1 DISABLE_BROWSER_INTEGRATION=YES SUPPRESS_APP_LAUNCH=YES REBOOT=ReallySuppress /qn /Liv c:\temp\%MSINAME%.log

6.9   Removing product features

Because Acrobat products support MSI technology, it is possible to the use the REMOVE property to uninstall any component as described in the Microsoft documentation:


“The value of the REMOVE property is a list of features delimited by commas that are to be removed. The features must be present in the Feature column of the Feature table. Note that if you use REMOVE=ALL on the command line, the installer removes all features having an install level greater than 0. In this case, the installer does not remove features having an install level of 0. For more information about the install level of features see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa371194%28v=vs.85%29.aspx.”

Removing any feature via REMOVE that is not specifically identified as a unique component in the user interface during a custom install is not supported. Moreover, some components have subcomponents which don’t appear in the UI, and admins are advised to inspect the installer tables and test their installs prior to deployment.


It is the responsibility enterprise IT to test non-standard installs within their unique environments.

The command line is in the form of:

Msiexec /i <Package.msi|ProductCode> REMOVE="(product name)"

Where <Package.msi|ProductCode> is either the full path to the original MSI file or the ProductCode of this product.

6.9.1   Removing FormsDesigner   Adobe properties

Adobe provides two properties for removing Forms Central components as described above.

Example: FormsDesigner removal for Acrobat Pro EFG 10.x

msiexec /i <install root>\{AC76BA86-1033-F400-7760-000000000005} DISABLE_FORMS_CENTRAL=YES   MSI REMOVE

The MSI REMOVE property method for removing LiveCycle Forms Designer is as follows:

msiexec /i "C:\MyFolder\AcroPro.msi" REMOVE="FormsDesigner"

FormsDesigner removal for Acrobat Pro EFG 10.x

msiexec /i <install root>\{AC76BA86-1033-F400-7760-000000000005} REMOVE="FormsDesigner