How To Deploy Adobe Reader XI (11) through GPO

This method presents a way to install and customise Adobe Reader 11 (XI) in combination with the Adobe Customisation Wizard and GPO.

The main reason why I tend to use the Adobe Customisation wizard is the extra options you get with the GUI and the ADM/ADMX that Adobe provided only allows for Accepting the EULA and Suppressing the Splash Screen at first startup. If you follow these steps as the updates get released it will be easier later on as the .bat script simply gets added onto.


First we need to create a few folders on our local computer as we will be running some CMD prompt commands. Therefore, it is easier installing on the root of C:

C:\AIP (Our Administrative Install point)

C:\AdobeReaderDownloads (Where the original apps will go)

C:\AdobeReaderTransform (The finalised server version)


Secondly, we need to download the Adobe Customisation Wizard X.

Download the Apps to “C:\AdobeReaderDownloads”


Adobe Customisation Wizard XI (6.2MB)


Download and install (Don’t worry about this until later)


WinRAR (1.4MB) – wrar420.exe



Adobe Reader 11 (36.1 MB) - AdbeRdr11000_en_US.exe


Creating the Administrative Install Point

1. Download and install WinRAR

2. Download and install Adobe Customisation Wizard XI

3. If you have not signed up to the “Adobe Runtimes / Reader Distribution License Agreement” I suggest you do so, if you have the Admin Distribution Link skip to step 6.

4. You can sign up here: http://www.adobe.com/products/reader/distribution.html

5. Depending on what you have signed up for Adobe will then email you a link to download the administrative versions of Flash, Adobe Reader, Shockwave and AIR.

6. Using the Distrubution link download the Adobe Reader Administrator Distribution package following the three steps presented on the website to ‘C:\AdobeReaderDownloads’

7. Under ‘C:\AdobeReaderDownloads’, Right Click on ‘AdbeRdr11000_en_US.exe’ and click ‘Extract Here…’ with WinRAR

8. After this has completed create ‘AIP.bat’ file by right clicking in the right hand explorer pane, ‘New – Text Document’ and change the name as well as the extention to ‘AIP.bat’

9. Right Click on ‘AIP.bat’ and click ‘Edit’.

10. Add this into the file and then ‘File-Save’:


msiexec /a C:\AdobeReaderDownloads\AcroRead.msi


11. Close Notepad and run ‘AIP.bat’ with administrative rights. (right click ‘run with administrative rights)

12. When the install dialogues prompt for a location, install to ‘C:\AIP’. This creates a administrative installer that allows slipstreaming of updates into the actual ‘AcroRead.msi’ which you will have to create a new one each time a new patch is applied. Sadly, you do end up with having four folders and an .msi. It’s just how it is.

13. Copy ‘setup.ini’ from ‘C:\AdobeReaderDownloads’ to ‘C:\AIP’ OR create a text file and save in ‘C:\AIP’ as ‘setup.ini’:


RequireOS=Windows 2000


[Windows 2000]

[MSI Updater]


14. Install and run Adobe Customisation Wizard XI

15. File – Copy Package

16. In the pop up dialogue

> The existing source package is located at: ‘C:\AIP\AcroRead.msi’

> Specify a Name for your package I went with ‘AcroRead’

> Where it is to be copied to: C:\AdobeReaderTransform

17. Click OK and wait for it to copy.

18. Go through the Left hand panel enter in the personalisation you want whether you want to disable looking for updates, silent installation and suppressed rebooting, EULA  e.t.c

19. Once done Click File – Save Package.

This will have generated AcroRead.mst and updated your setup.ini file to enable silent install and more if selected. Close the Customisation Wizard. You can come back to your package at any time by opening up ‘AcroRead.msi’ under ‘C:\AdobeReaderTransform\yourNameOfPackage\’ make your edits and save again.

20. Copy the ‘yourNameOfPackage’ folder from C:\AcrobatTransform\ to your server share

21. Open up Group Policy Management MMC

22. Go to the Organisational Unit that you want to apply software to

23. Right click on the OU and select ‘Create a GPO in this Domain, and link it here…’

24. Write your GPO name. mine was “Software – Adobe Reader 11.0” Click OK

25. Right Click on GPO, Click Edit

26. Drill down “Computer Configuration – Policies – Software Settings – Software Installations”

27. Right click “Software Installations”

28. Click ‘New – Package’

29. Browse to your server share of ‘yourNameOfPackage’ Click Open

30. Select Deployment Method: Advanced

a. Under General Tab - Change the name if you want to

b. Under Deployment Tab – Change whether you want the application to uninstall off computers when you remove the GPO

c. Under Upgrades Tab - You can choose GPO’s which this can upgrade over. For example older versions of Acrobat and also gives you the ability to either uninstall then install the new product or just do an upgrade.

31. Click Modifications Tab

32. Click Add…

33. Browse to your ‘yourNameOfPackage’ folder on the server share and select your ‘yourNameOf.MST’ file.

34. Click Open

35. Click Ok

36. Exit out of Group Policy Management, restart the computers and enjoy!


  • Awesome article! I was able to deploy 11.0.0 with no problems. Reader now wants me to update to 11.0.02. How do you add the updates (.msp) to the GPO? - Vandor 8 years ago
    • Use the /p switch to add patches (.msp) to the MSI file before running the .bat file in step 11.

      Since AdbeRdrUpd11001.msp is required before applying AdbeRdrSecUpd11002.msp, these two commands need to be run:

      msiexec /a C:\AdobeReaderDownloads\AcroRead.msi /p C:\AdobeReaderDownloads\AdbeRdrUpd11001.msp

      msiexec /a C:\AdobeReader\AdobeReaderDownloads\AcroRead.msi /p C:\AdobeReaderDownloads\AdbeRdrSecUpd11002.msp

      This will add the two updates to AcroRead.msi. You can then execute AIP.bat as stated in step 11. - Vandor 8 years ago
      • Thanks! I got lazy.. But I've made an updated blog!
        http://itninja.com/blog/view/how-to-deploy-adobe-reader-xi-11-0-02-through-gpo - trancendence 8 years ago
  • Excellent document works correctly implementing it by "user settings", but I had problems implementing it by "computer settings", I solved adding read permissions to the group "Domain Computers" to the share. - diabolo 8 years ago
    • Very cool, and glad i could help! =] - trancendence 8 years ago
  • GPO doesn't see .mst packages, only .msi. - JudeEden 6 years ago
    • Sorry - missed that step where you add the .mst as the modification. I completed all these steps and verified the GPO is applying to my test group, but the package still isn't installing. I'll have to figure that out. Keeping this article on tap! - JudeEden 6 years ago
      • Make sure to check your server shares ACL's ;) - trancendence 6 years ago
  • Yeah that's not it, permissions are as they should be. - JudeEden 6 years ago
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