Windows Server 2016

Adobe Reader DC msi


I'm trying to install Adobe Reader remotely and silently to a set of PCs in a Windows Domain. I have setup a network share, ABC-Deploy$, containing the Acroread.msi together with a GPO (software install) policy to effect this. So far I have not managed to get it working.

Having spent some time trying to isolate what I thought might be a policy failure, I decided simply to click on the MSI in the shared folder to see if it would install. I did this as an admin user on the server itself i.e. where the shared folder containing the msi resides. After the 'do you want to install' preamble the attempts fail with the following prompt:-

Error 1305.Error reading from file C:\ABC-Deploy$\AcroRdrDC2200320282_en_US\AcroRead.msi. Verify that the file exists and that you can access it.

Clearly the file does exist as I have just clicked on it. I have researched this ad nauseam looking at share permissions, NTFS permissions, msiexec parms, admin user rights, clearing temporary files, clearing the registry etc all to no avail. I concentrated on permissions since the msiexec.exe runs under SYSTEM and I'm calling it from a domain admin user.

At present, the ABC-Deploy$ folder has the following permissions:-

Share Permissions Value
Everyone Full Control
NTFS Permissions Value
Everyone Full Control
SYSTEM Full Control
Local Admins Full Control
All PCs (Domain Security Grp) Read and Execute
sysadmin (Domain Administrator) Full Control

I have tried many, many permutations of permissions none of which seem to make any difference.

Any ideas how to resolve this anyone?


Note: Moved from StackOverflow to ServerFault 16/12/22

  • Now that it has been determined to not be Group Policy, the first source of information would be to enable Windows Installer verbose logging, and get the log file. That can be enabled either through the local policy editor, or with the msiexec.exe command. E.g.: msiexec.exe /i acroread.msi /lv* C:\TEMP\Logfile.log. Additionally there is a customization wizard that needs to be used to create the required MST transform file. Have you done that? adobe.com/devnet-docs/acrobatetk/tools/Wizard/index.html
    – Greg Askew
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 17:03
  • Hi Greg.. Yes, I have used the wizard to amend the msi and to produce an mst. There is also an map file in the directory. I have just run using your suggested flags and a quick look at the log reveals
    – gray web
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 20:35
  • Just injecting a link to more in-depth information on MSI logging. Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 20:40
  • **msp file in the directory. Extract of the log .... Note: 1: 1314 2: AcroRdrDCUpd2200320282.msp MSI (s) (50:E8) [20:29:53:920]: Unable to create a temp copy of patch 'AcroRdrDCUpd2200320282.msp'. This update package could not be opened. Verify that the update package exists and that you can access it, or contact the application vendor to verify that this is a valid Windows Installer update package. c:\ABC-Deploy$\AcroRdrDC2200320282_en_US\acroread.msi"
    – gray web
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 20:45
  • P.S. I had already merged the msp with the msi before attempting to install it.
    – gray web
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


Finally, finally, I have got this to deploy. The permissions, spurious registry entries and temporary installation files may all have had an effect at various stages but the root of the problem was really my mis-understanding of the way Adobe Reader is installed, patched and transformed.

I stumbled upon a reference to the requirement for an Administrative Installation Point, AIP, which led me to this [quite old] Adobe video ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5Ns6WMqgfo .... I hope this, combined with further information about the use of .msts here .... https://www.adobe.com/devnet-docs/acrobatetk/tools/Wizard/deployment.html ... plus a little experimentation might help others with this problem.

Essentially, you need to

  1. Extract the downloaded AcroRdrxxx.exe into a local directory, let's call that Dir1
  2. Open the Command Prompt, CD to Dir1 and perform an 'administrative' installation using 'msiexec /a acroreader.msi' into another local directory (i.e. not Windows\Program Files). This is done at the installer's 'which directory', prompt. Let's call that Dir2
  3. Copy Dir2 to a new blank folder, let's call it Dir3 and then copy the .msp file from Dir1 to Dir3
  4. CD to Dir3 and run another administrative install with the patch with 'msiexec /a AcroReader.msi /p AcroRdrxxxxx.msp'. This time stay with Dir3 when the 'which directory' of the installer prompt appears.

The resulting msi in Dir3 is now ready for installation.

If you are brave enough you can copy the setup.ini from Dir1 to Dir3 and run the Adobe Customisation Wizard against the msi in Dir3 to create an mst, 'Transforms', file. With this you can specify the options you would like the install to use. The mst can then be utilised when installing AcroReader.msi from Dir3 using the msiexec parameter /TRANSFORMS="Acroxxx.mst". Note that the setup.ini is only used by the wizard and is not needed by the .msi

I hope this quick explanation of a quite foggy topic helps someone out there and saves them the 3 or 4 working days I spent on this.

Thanks to all for their tips and suggestions.

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