© 2017 Adobe Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

Updated Dec 04, 2017.

Multi-User Reader Desktops

What is MURD?

Adobe Reader’s experimental Multi-User Reader Desktop (MURD) feature hosted on LABs allows enterprise users to install multiple Reader versions and define which version should open PDFs with a certain file extension. Organizations often have competing needs for mission critical workflows that present unique challenges for IT: On the one hand, security concerns and new features drive the need to install the latest product versions. On the other hand, certified and regulated workflows may require the continued use of earlier product versions.


MURD is not supported with any version of 11.x products.

For example, Reader 10.0 offers the highly secure Protected Mode as well as new features like commenting. However, workflows that require certification as part of government regulations may demand continued use of 9.x products. MURD enables the adoption of the latest products and product updates for most users while avoiding the time and expense of recertification.


Acrobat cannot be MURD-enabled, but with 10.1 it is MURD-aware. That is, if there is a MURD-enabled Reader present, Acrobat will open any PDF with a MURD extension.

At a high level, the MURD feature is simply a way of creating custom file extensions that are either blacklisted or white-listed for the specified version of the PDF viewer. MURD allows you to:

  • Define custom file extensions.
  • Map a specific version of Reader to files with a particular extension.
  • Prevent Acrobat from opening files with MURD extensions.
  • Update the operating system so that double clicking a file with a MURD extension opens the required version of Adobe Reader.

Custom MURD workflow example


Why LABs?

Adobe intends to periodically release beta and experimental tools, utilities, and scripts on LABS at http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/acrobat/. This informal pre-release program provides a way to help customers while opening up channels for feedback that will help improve the product and related enterprise resources. Items posted on LABs should be tested by your organization in order to determine their compatibility with the particulars of your environment.

What’s supported?

Due to an almost limitless number of possible version variations for Reader, OS, browser, etc, testing focused on a few common scenarios–primarily Windows XP with IE 7 and 8 and Windows 7 with IE 8.

System requirements
Component Version
non-MURD PDF viewer 9.4.2 and later and/or 10.1 and later. On a system that has any MURD Reader, all 9.x versions MUST be 9.4.2 or later, and all 10 versions MUST be 10.1 or later even if they’re not MURD.
MURD viewer 9.4.2 and later and 10.1 and later
OS Windows
Browser Internet Explorer 7 and 8.

Because MURD is designed to allow more than one PDF viewer on a machine, the configurations listed in are supported.

Supported PDF viewer configurations
Non-MURD MURD-enabled MURD-enabled
9.4.2 and later Acrobat or Reader 9.4.2 Reader and later None
9.4.2 and later Acrobat or Reader 10.1 Reader and later None
10.1 and later Acrobat or Reader 9.4.2 Reader and later None
10.1 and later Acrobat or Reader 9.4.2 Reader and later 10.1 Reader and later

MURD deployment

At its simplest, setting up a MURD-compatible workflow involves these steps:

  • Install the non-MURD PDF viewer if it is not already installed.
  • Install zero or more PDF viewers that will be MURD-enabled.
  • Configure the MURD-enabled PDF viewer.
  • Configure any servers used for this workflow to serve the requisite extensions and mime types.

Download files

Before continuing, download the following:

  1. The requisite product installers. Only the installers listed in support MURD.
  2. The MURD tool files from http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/acrobat/.
  3. Extract MURD.zip to any location convenient for accessing the files from the command line. The new directory contains two folders called MURDTool and Browser with the necessary files.
MURD files
File Description
MURDTool.js Configures the system to be MURD-enabled
MURDConfig.txt A configuration file read by MURDTool.js
Rdr09PDF.dll The dll used in Internet Explorer for Reader 9.4.2 when it is MURD-enabled
Rdr10PDF.dll The dll used when Reader 10.1 is MURD-enabled.

Client installation

To install and configure a MURD-capable machine, install all the applications you need whether or not they are to be MURD enabled:

  1. Install the requisite 9.x clients. In most scenarios, a non-MURD client will already be installed, and you will only need to install or update the client that will be MURD-enabled (either 9.4.2 and later or 10.1 and later).


Regardless of what you have installed or will install, the applications MUST be installed in sequential version order. For example, install Reader 9.4.2 before Reader 10.1.

  1. Verify the EULA has been accepted and exit the application.

  2. Install the requisite 10.x Reader application (if needed):

    1. Open a command prompt.
    2. Run the following command:
msiexec /i <path to msi file>\AcroRead.msi REMOVE_PREVIOUS=NO

3. Start the application.
#. From the menu, choose  **Edit > Preferences > General**.
#. Uncheck  **Enable Protected Mode at startup**.
#. Verify the EULA has been accepted and exit the application.
  1. Configure the registry to recognize the client that will by MURD enabled:

    1. Open a cmd prompt.
    2. Run the following:
regsvr32 <path to extracted MURD files>\Browser\Rdr<09 or 10>PDF.dll

Client configuration

After installing Reader onto the managed desktops, run the MURD tool locally.

  1. Go to <path to extracted MURD files>MURDTool.

  2. Open the MURD configuration file murdconfig.txt.

  3. Configure murdconfig.txt. At a minimum, you will need to configure the following:

    • COMMAND: Enable or disable MURD.
    • PATH: The path to the client .exe.
    • VERSION: The application version.
    • EXTENSION: You custom extensions.


Do not leave spaces before or after the colon delimiter. Parameters are case sensitive.

  1. Run MurdConfig.js. On Windows 7, the file must be run from the command prompt with administrative privileges.
  2. Reboot the machine.

Sample configuration file

PATH:C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Reader\AcroRd32.exe
EXTENSION:<your custom extension>
murdconfig.txt configuration parameters
Parameter Description

Required. Options include:

  • ENABLE: Adds MURD capabilities to Reader and the OS.
  • ENABLE_MURDONLY: Adds MURD capabilities to Reader and the OS. Reader 9.4.2 and later only supports MURDOnly (not ENABLE) For Reader X it is treated the same as ENABLE.
  • DISABLE: Disables MURD capabilities from Reader.
  • DISABLE_AND_CLEANALL: Disables MURD capabilities from Reader and removes the version-specific MURD registry entries. Note that the extensions to remove must be identical to the extensions previously added via ENABLE or ENABLE_MURDONLY.
VERSION Required. The two digit major version of Reader that should be MURD enabled. For example, for Reader 9.3.1, you would use 09.
PATH Required. The path of the installed application.
ICON Optional. The file location of the icon that you want to represent your business workflow PDF document (MURD document). If this parameter is not specified, then the default PDF icon is used.

Required. If you wish to specify multiple extensions to use for business workflow PDFs, then list them as separate parameter-value pairs. Naming restraints include:

  • Only upper/lowercase characters, digits, and hyphens can be used.
  • No spaces in the extension name.

Server configuration

When a server is used in the PDF workflow, configure it to serve the MURD-specific content of the desired mime type. The table below provides example mappings. In this example, the business workflow that requires a specific PDF viewer consumes PDFs with “murd” in the extension’s name. Here a hyphen and business workflow name (-murd) is simply appended to the original Reader extensions and MIME types.

Example MURD extensions and mime types
MURD Extension MURD Mime Type
.pdf-murd application/pdf-murd
.fdf-murd application/vnd.fdf-murd
.xfdf-murd application/vnd.adobe.xfdf-murd
.xfd-murd application/vnd.adobe.xfd+xml-murd
.xdp-murd application/vnd.adobe.xdp+xml-murd

Updates and patches

Upgrading to a higher version of a MURD-enabled application requires removing any previously installed versions.


Does the MURD tool change the registry?

Yes. The MURD Tool is a JavaScript file that modifies the Windows registry for MURD-enabled versions of Reader. By changing the GUID of PDF file types to use the browser integration component Rdr09PDF.dll. GUIDs after MURD enablement as follows:

  • AcroPDF GUID: CA8A9780-280D-11CF-A24D-444553540000
  • Rdr09PDF GUID: 5CE32390-7AFA-4FF2-8224-8596307ED852
  • Rdr10PDF GUID: 5D3C3CE1-7D27-41e3-A2FE-760E69BB3D56

What happens when a non-MURD Reader tries to open a MURD document?

An error dialog appears.

MURD error dialog