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Without using additional software, how are people managing software like Acrobat Reader and Flash Player in a Windows domain? I can deploy these applications via GPO software installation. Am I looking at creating my own .msi packages and updating my policies manually for every update?

I can certainly get started and have something working pretty quickly, but I want to see if anyone has any advice that might be helpful first.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

To speak to Flash Player in particular: You can obtain an MSI from Adobe through a licensing program. Have a look at:

I regularly install Adobe Reader, Flash, Apple QuickTime, and others using GPO-based installations. When new versions are released, I deploy the new versions as mandatory upgrades.

You should take some time to learn about Windows Installer and building your own packages. You can use repackaging tools, but the best results, in my expereience, come from learning how to use tools like WiX ( to create your own packages from the ground up. Repackaging tools create "dumb" MSIs that don't necessarily do what the original SETUP author wanted. An intelligent human repackager tries to learn what the SETUP author wanted to do and creates a package that does that.

At the very least, you need a tool like ORCA allow you to create Transform files (MST) for existing packages, and enough of an understanding of Windows Installer to allow you to intelligently create MST files.

I've had really good luck with managing software this way. It's been a big win with my Customers for efficiency, and has been a great differentiator of my services. I highly recommend it.

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I like the tool Advanced Installer to do my MSI creatation – Zypher Jun 1 '09 at 18:45

I have created an GPO to manage the settings in Adobe Flash Player. Settings like auto update, if users are allowed to upload/download files using flash, if flash can read local files etc.

The settings are defined in the Adobe Flash Administrators guide available here:

The settings is stored in a file called mms.cfg under either %windir%\system32\macromed\flash or %windir%\syswow64\macromed\flash depending if you are running a 32bit or 64bit client.

Instead of everybody having to re-invent the wheel, I have placed the GPO for download here:

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You have to create a forum account to download your attachment? Why not put it up some where anyone can access, it pastbin, github, etc.? – jscott Feb 21 '12 at 12:04

Not only can you use GPOs to install like Flash and Acrobat Reader, there is an application out there called PolicyPak, a group policy based desktop management system that allows you to create GPOs and deliver settings to any Windows application, and ensures that those settings are locked down using GPOs. It works with Flash and Acrobat Reader. Here are a couple of links that shows how PolicyPak manages these two applications.

Yes, this is a commercial solution but the company offers two ways to try out the application for free called community mode and trial mode.

I do disclose that I do work for the company that creates PolicyPak.

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