Many organizations prefer to customize their installations of Adobe Reader. This is made possible by the Adobe Customization Wizard. While it is a somewhat involved process, it’s actually pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it.
Here are some benefits of deploying a customized Adobe Reader vs. the out-of-the-box version.
- No Google toolbar
- Disable auto updates (and other phone-home options)
- Disable Acrobat purchase links
- Force installation in silent mode
- So much more I don’t feel like listing them all
Step 1: Download and install the customization wizard
The file is named CustWiz90_en_US.exe and is available from the Adobe website. Install the application accepting all defaults.
Step 2: Extract files for customization
Open a command window and cd to the location of AdbeRdr933_en_US.exe. Enter the following in the cmd window:
The necessary files are now extracted. It’s here that you could start scratching your head. Adobe isn’t very clear about where they stored your new extracted files. The location is:
%LOCALAPPDATA%\Adobe\Reader 9.3\Setup Files\Reader9
Step 3: Use Adobe Customization Wizard
From Start > Programs open the newly installed Adobe Customization Wizard. Select open and navigate to the AcroRead.msi (path above).
You will see the following window.
It’s time to make your modifications. There are too many to list here, but tip-toe around and see what jumps out at you.
Four sections to pay close attention to are:
- Personalization Options
- Online and Acrobat.com
The EULA is nice to customize as it prevents a user from needing to accept it when Adobe Reader is first started. I like the shortcuts because it allows me to remove the desktop and start menu icons. (Those icons have always been clutter to me).
The most important of these four options (to your humble blogger, that is) would be the Online and Acrobat.com. This page allows you to remove Acrobat.com solicitations and also allows an IT adminsitrator to prevent each Reader installation from attempting to update itself. In larger organizations this is important. While security updates are critical, it’s a mess to have hundreds of computers phoning home to Adobe every week to see if updates are available.
I also like to disable all of Acrobat.com access.
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