VMware Horizon Deployments

You can deploy Acrobat products on a VMware Horizon server for streaming to Windows machines via VDI (desktop virtualized deployments). Only desktop streaming with the application hosted on a server is supported. Adobe has certified the following:

  • Virtual machine-based desktop deployments using pooled virtual desktops for Windows 7 and 10.

  • Every user has their own separate operating system instance with Acrobat and Reader installed.

Since there are many ways to configure Acrobat products and VMware servers, these instructions are intended as basic examples. Administrators may need to tailor these instructions to meet the requirements of their environment.

System requirements


It’s recommended that users deploy Acrobat and Reader on x64 machines as there is a limited set of resources available on x86. Since each user runs a different instance of Acrobat, additional users do consume more CPU and RAM resources.

Tested environments

Because there is an unlimited number of possible execution environments, Adobe tests common scenarios, including:

  • A user account was set up using Active Directory domain user group. The Anonymous User profile was not tested.

  • The user account was set up on the server as non-privileged accounts. The user can operate the computer and save documents, but they cannot install programs or make changes to the system files or settings.

  • The server machine was running typical enterprise software. For example, testing scenarios often include installing the latest versions of Microsoft Office Professional, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Visio Professional Version, Microsoft Office Publisher, Microsoft Office Project Professional, Lotus Notes, and McAfee VirusScan Enterprise.

  • Esx(i) 5.5 hypervisor (but any version should work).

Best practices

  • Apply all critical and recommended hotfixes and all hotfix rollup packs that Microsoft provides.

  • Apply all critical and recommended hotfixes and all hotfix rollup packs that VMware provides.

  • Follow the Acrobat recommendations below.

Tuning for virtual envs

Tune the installer prior to imaging and deployment.

Tuning helps mitigate performance issues, simplifies the end user experience, and allows you to disable features and behaviors that should not be accessible to end users in an IT-managed environment.

  • Install the latest product.

  • Disable the updater.

  • Accept the EULA on behalf of all users by setting the appropriate registry key.

  • Use SUPPRESSLANGSELECTION on the command line at install time to disable user’s ability to change the language.

  • If the product language should be different than the OS languages, set the language.

  • Supress registration (there are multiple ways: Wizard, cmd line property, PRTK tool).

  • Disable push notifications: Set bToggleNotifications to 0.

  • Disable the Help > Repair Acrobat Installation menu by setting:

    • 32 bit machines: [HKLM\SOFTWARE\Adobe\(product name)\(version)\Installer] "Disable_Repair"

    • 64 bit machines: [HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Adobe\(product name)\(version)\Installer] "Disable_Repair"

Scrolling performance

If scrolling performance is poor in graphic intensive documents, try the following:

  1. Go to Edit > Preferences > Rendering.

  2. Uncheck Smooth line art and Smooth images. Alternatively, you can set these preferences during pre-deployment configuration:

HKCU\Software\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\<version>\Originals\bAntialiasGraphics: 0x00000000
HKCU\Software\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\<version>\Originals\bAntialiasImages: 0x00000000

Distiller performance

  • In some environments, Distiller performance may suffer if the messages.log file becomes too large after a number of Distiller operations. Delete this file periodically. It is located at \Application Data\Adobe\Acrobat\Distiller <version>\messages.log.

  • Remove unused fonts from the Windows installation.

Folder permissions

Protected Mode will only work when the USERS group has the following permissions on the product installation folder: Read and execute, List folder contents, Read. For a default installation, the path might be C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat Reader DC.

Other settings

There are over 500 other registry preferences documented in the Preference Reference . Use the Wizard or manual/scripted methods to customer the product.


Only licensed users should have access to the virtual Acrobat instance. For more information, refer to the Software license terms.

VMWare deployments support the following licensing options:

  • Serial numbers

  • Named user licensing

  • Feature restricted licensing

Named user licensing

Named user licensing (NUL) is the preferred activation method.

DC products support NUL and user management via the Admin Console. The Console supports managing single user and group entitlements for all Adobe products as well as Single Sign-On. It also provides tools for managing software, users, and devices and support multiple ID types. With NUL, end users simply “activate” Acrobat by logging in to any VM or machine. License-related data is saved in the <user>/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/ folder which is synced to the VM on login.


Trial installs and the Classic track do not support named user licensing.

Image-based deployment

  1. Set up profile redirection. User profile data in <user>/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/ as well as the HKCU hive must sync to the VM instance on which the user logs in. Admins should ensure that such data is saved on user logout or disconnect. Some systems provide VM tools; for example, Citrix (Citrix Profile Management) and VMware Horizon (View Personal Management). At a minimum, sync the following:

  • File: C:\Users\<User>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\AdobeUserInfo

  • Folders

    • C:\Users\<User>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\OOBE

    • C:\Users\<User>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\SLData

  • HKCU\Software\ registries:

    • Adobe

    • Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar\WebBrowser\{47833539-D0C5-4125-9FA8-0819E2EAAC93}

    • Microsoft\Internet Explorer\MenuExt

    • Wow6432Node\Google\Chrome\Extensions\efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj

    • Wow6432Node\Google\Chrome\NativeMessagingHosts\com.adobe.acrobat.chrome_webcapture

  1. Log in to the master image.

  2. (Optional) Customize the installer with the Customization Wizard.

  3. Install Acrobat on the master image by calling the default exe or the one you modified with the Wizard. Use the following command:

  1. Verify the following registry keys are present and the string (REG_SZ) values are 1 on the master image. If not, create the key and set the value as 1.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Licensing\UserSpecificLicensing]"Enabled"="1" (REG_SZ)
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Identity\UserSpecificIdentity]"Enabled"="1" (REG_SZ)
  1. If you are using a Federated ID or connectors (like Dropbox), enable third party cookies:

    1. Choose Internet Explorer > Settings > Internet Options > Privacy > Advanced.

    2. For First-party cookies, choose Accept.

    3. For Third-party cookies, choose Accept.

  1. Shut down the master image.

  2. Take a snapshot of the master image.

  3. Update all VM desktops with the new snapshot.


Unlike serialized deployments, do not launch Acrobat on the master image.

Serialized deployments


On November 30, 2019, some customers may see their serial numbers expire. To avoid interruption and to access the latest versions of the apps, migrate to named user licensing or update your serial number.

To image a machine with Acrobat, first generate a prov.xml file on an online machine and then create a permanent offline exception that is not machine specific. Note the following:

  • Supported for volume licenses only.

  • Acrobat need not be installed.

  • The target machine must be online.


  1. Download the latest Adobe Provisioning Toolkit Enterprise Edition.

  2. Open an elevated prompt (run as administrator).

  3. Generate a prov.xml file on any machine connected to the internet using the following APTEE tool command line with the following options:

    • serial: The serial number

    • regsuppress=ss: Optional (but recommended); suppresses registration

    • eulasuppress: Optional; suppresses the EULA prompt

    • locales: Optional; specify from the limited list of locales in the formal xx_XX or ALL

    • provfile: Optional; path of the folder where prov.xml is created. If this parameter is not specified, prov.xml is created in the folder in which APTEE resides.

    • LEID:

      • Continuous Track: V7{}AcrobatCont-12-Win-GM

      • Classic Track 2020: V7{}AcrobatESR-20-Win-GM

      • Classic Track 2017: V7{}AcrobatESR-17-Win-GM

      • Classic Track 2015: V7{}AcrobatESR-12-Win-GM

adobe_prtk --tool=VolumeSerialize --generate --serial=<serialnum> --leid=<LEID of product> [--regsuppress=ss] [--eulasuppress]
[--locales=list of locales in xx_XX format or ALL>] [--provfilepath=<Absolute path to prov.xml>]
  1. Install Acrobat on the master image.

  2. On the master image, copy the prov.xml file created above.

  3. Serialize and activate Acrobat using the following APTEE tool command line:

adobe_prtk --tool=VolumeSerialize [--provfile=<Absolute path to prov.xml>] --stream
  1. For Acrobat Classic 2020 deployments, create and set IsNGLToAMTEnforced to 1.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\2020\Activation]"IsNGLToAMTEnforced"=dword:00000001

For Acrobat DC deployments, create and set IsNGLToAMTEnforced to 1.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\DC\Activation]"IsNGLToAMTEnforced"=dword:00000001
  1. Launch Acrobat once for about a minute and close.


Granting an offline exception using the Customization Wizard for an imaged OS deployment method is not supported. Use the PRTK tool.

Feature Restricted Licensing

Acrobat supports Feature Restricted Connected and Offline Licensing (FRL) in most virtual environments, including Citrix, VMWare, RDS/WTS, and App-V. Use this package type for end-users who:

  • Cannot adopt named user licensing since they are not allowed to use online services.

  • The users are periodically connected to the Internet (FRL connected).

  • Restricted environment with no internet (FRL offline).

Support is limited to:

These high level steps do not supersede the details on the FRL page or the deployment steps below, but in general, use the Admin Console to create an FRL-enabled Acrobat package:

  • Create license-only package from the Admin Console and deploy Acrobat from a standalone installer, OR

  • Create an FRL package that embeds Acrobat.

Then, deploy as usual:

  1. (Optional) Customize the installer with the Customization Wizard.

  2. Log in to the master image.

  3. Install the package on the master image. If you have created a license-only package, first run the Acrobat installer followed by the license-only package.

  4. Shut down the master image.

  5. Take a snapshot of the master image, and update all VM desktops.

Troubleshooting steps:

  • Verify that FRL package is applied properly on the master image.

  • Validate that ASNP, Certificates and Operating Configuration folders are present at C:\ProgramData\Adobe\<folder> on the master image.

  • If present, remove HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\DC\Activation\IsAMTEnforced.

Shared Device Licensing

Acrobat does not support Shared Device Licensing (SDL) in virtual environments.

However, SDL may prove useful to you in other business contexts. SDL is a licensing model to deploy and manage Adobe applications in labs and shared device setups, where multiple users use the devices and applications. The software license is assigned to a device or computer instead of an individual. SDL is ideal for computers in labs or classrooms, but is not designed for use on machines used by dedicated users. For dedicated users, we recommend you deploy named-user licenses. For more detail, see https://helpx.adobe.com/enterprise/using/sdl-deployment-guide.html

VMWare deployment

Note that VDI’s can be persistent or non-persistent for both serialized and NUL installs.

Parent image update

  1. Update the application on the parent machine.

  2. Open a prompt as an administrator.


  4. Shut down the parent machine.

  5. Prepare the snapshot.

Virtual desktop update

  1. Login to the Composer Server.

  2. Open the Horizon 6 administrator console.

  3. Select Catalog.

  4. Go to Desktop Pools.

  5. Select an option from the pool.

  6. Double click the configuration that you need to update with the latest snapshot.

  7. Select View Composer > Recompose.

  8. Select the snapshot.

  9. Select Force user to log off or your desired setting.

  10. Choose Next.

  11. Choose Finish.

Known Issues

  • Acrobat/Reader cursors appears blurred.

  • On touch devices, zoom and scroll touch gestures do not work. The issue is a general framework issue seen for all applications like Acrobat and Reader, including Microsoft Excel.

  • Some shortcuts with a combination of shift+ctrl do not work in Chrome. For example, using Shift+Ctrl+T to insert a blank page in existing document does not work on Chrome for VMware Horizon 6.2. The command is intercepted by Chrome and opens the last closed tab. The same is true for Shift+ctrl+J (to cascade windows) as well. For more details, see https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1011705.

Known issues common to virtual installs

  • Push notifications to specific users are unsupported.

  • If users sign in on both a virtual environment and a physical machine, then they may be randomly signed out from a physical machine. This is because users can activate Acrobat on multiple virtual machines while only two activations are allowed per user. The current implementation provides an over activation workflow for these environments which does not force users to see or interact with any dialogs.

  • Volume licenses are deleted when multiple users launch the product simultaneously before it is activated.

  • In the Help menu, signed-in users are not shown as signed-in on subsequent sessions.

  • Users may appear as signed-in on the Help menu even if they are signed out from the Creative Cloud Desktop application or signed out of the current session.

  • Signing in with IDs having no subscriptions may result in random failures.

Why do I see an error that my license is expired or not activated?

Users must launch Acrobat prior to using “Print to PDF”, the Microsoft Office Acrobat plugin, or any other PDF Maker features.