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Adobe Acrobat Patch Management

Posted on 2013-01-18
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Last Modified: 2013-01-22
I need help understanding the best way to manage updates to Adobe Acrobat in a small network environment.  We currently have only WSUS for managing MS patches, but nothing for 3rd party apps.  We have several individual licenses for Acrobat Standard & Pro ranging from ver. 6 to 9.

I've been browsing Adobe's FTP site and downloading various update files in a best-guess fashion, but so far I've not been successful in locating the correct files.  When I attempt to install them, I get errors about not having the correct version.  

This gets rather frustrating as many of the files are well over 100MB.  Obviously I can use the "Check for Updates" utility from the "Help" menu, but I don't want waste time and bandwidth downloading the same files on each individual client.   And despite considerable effort, I can't find the location were the files are downloaded on a given client machine; all of this is wasting a lot of time, effort and bandwidth.  And it's frankly making me very angry with Adobe as a company.  I have an entire diatribe prepared, but I'll spare you from that.

All I want to do is identify, locate and download all of the applicable updates for the products we own and store them in a central network location for distribution to the client workstations.  This should not need to be so difficult and convoluted a process and I can't understand the rationale as it only serves to raise the ire of hard-working IT professionals simply trying to manage a network.

And I seriously don't want to deal with Adobe's tech support because this is a simple issue in essence and jumping through more arbitrary hoops is a waste of my time.  And I certainly don't need more sales pitches.  If it were up to me, we'd purge Adobe from the organization and use something like Foxit.
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Question by:Demersus
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Expert Comment

by:Brad Bouchard
ID: 38794948
There is an awesome product we use called Ninite.  It's very easy to setup and configure.  Try it out:

http://ninite.com/
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Author Comment

by:Demersus
ID: 38795003
That looks like a very interesting product, particularly for a home user.  I might give it a try on my personal computers.  

But, I don't want to install any additional 3rd party apps at the client level in this professional environment.  After all, I have access to Adobe's FTP site, I just have no idea how to identify the correct files.

I should also add that later in the year we'll probably implement System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, or something similar.  As such, I don't want to have remnants of other utilities installed at the client level.  We like to keep it high and tight here.

I want to manually identify and obtain update files and store them on a central network location - this and exactly this only.
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by:Brad Bouchard
ID: 38795065
We are a managed IT firm and we install that on all of our computers.  It is a professional company and it has licensing if you need it.
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Author Comment

by:Demersus
ID: 38795084
Well, again please understand that I don't want to incur licesning costs and I don't want to install a utility locally.  Therefore, while this product may do a decent job of obtaining updates, it's not going to be very useful for working in a centralized fashion.  After all, we don't go to each individual computer and run MS updates, we use WSUS and manage centrally.

I do understand that on any given machine where this utility is installed I can probably use it to obtain updates and then locate and cache them on the network somethere.  But, my workstation doesn't have all of the software that's used at the client level because my job role differs greatly from the typical end user.
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webtechgal earned 250 total points
ID: 38795499
I think you might be looking for the repository of Adobe downloads

I would start here
http://www.adobe.com/devnet-docs/acrobatetk/

Then choose Enterprise downloads from there, which gives you the list of all Adobe product FTP downloads by directory

ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/

Go down and choose the Reader directory -  Adobe Reader is here - including the latest 10.1.5 update just released on 1/8/13

ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/win/10.x/10.1.5/misc/
 

I might suggest reading their Administration Guide, on the main page of the ETK, under the "Determine what installers I need" to figure out which file you want.  You also have the ability to configure the deployment to meet your needs.

You should be able to put the files in a network folder on your network and access them as you need them.

Hope this helps. :)
reader.png
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by:vak73
ID: 38800954
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Author Comment

by:Demersus
ID: 38806412
Webtechgal, thanks for this information.  It looks to be what I'm seeking and you appear to have a clear understanding of my objective.  To re-iterate, my work plan includes implementation of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager sometime in the second quarter of this year.  We have a Microsoft Enterprise agreement, so I'm not going to consider other solutions for patch management.  Therefore this is just a quick n' dirty interim solution.

However, I had already browsed Adobe's FTP site:

ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/acrobat/win/9.x

To clarify, I'm currently focusing on Acrobat.  But I do need to address Reader updates as well.

I tried downloading a number of files, starting first with the highest, 9.5.3; my assumption being that any Acrobat 9.x intallation should be updgradeable to the most recent service pack, or whatever term they use.   But, upon initiating installation I got an error about not having the correct product installed for the update.  So, I reversed course and tried 9.1, with the same results.  There does not appear to be a differentiation between the Standard and Pro products in the FTP directories.  When I used the update feature from the help menu on one workstatoin, the product was updated to 9.2.

So, I guess I will need to do some reading in that Administrator's guide.  But again, that's just annoying.  I have a lot of other higher level network & client/server systems that I'm responsible for administering and maintaining and having to jump through so many hoops just to get the available updates for about a dozen stand-alone installations is not the best use of my limited resources.  I mean, I'm not always a big fan of MS, but at least I can find all patches for their products with relative ease.
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Author Comment

by:Demersus
ID: 38806437
vak73,

I am familiar with Manage Engine and I've used their products in different environments.  I liked them, but we won't be going that direction here for the reasons stated in my prior post.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Demersus
ID: 38806565
This member was very specific and concise, which is exactly what I wanted.  Other members offered solutions that did not directly address my core objective.
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Expert Comment

by:webtechgal
ID: 38807792
Thank you for your comments. I do try to be specific and concise. Thanks for the recognition.

This is not a suggestion to help, but rather an observation on Adobe products - I have noticed on updating Adobe products of late, that they are offering in their latest product updates to "install updates automatically", which I have been choosing to let it do. (With the idea if I don't have to visit it to update, that is good). This is a new feature for Adobe products that was not available until very recently.

From the trend of Adobe to move to the cloud, i.e., Adobe Creative Cloud and all products available there, it seems that they may eventually push everything from there. I have a Creative Cloud subscription and they manage updates to your PC with their Adobe Application Manager. You login with your subscription ID and it notifies you of new updates as available. However, Reader is not one of the Cloud installs; most likely because Acrobat is. I have attached a couple of pix of what the Cloud App Manager looks like. I personally like the manager, as I can control when things get installed on my machine. Interestingly, updates seem to happen for the Cloud apps before they are available for general download.

Creative Cloud is certainly not the way to go if all you need is Reader. But if you are already using multiple Adobe products, you may want to check into it for the future.

Thanks again for your comments.
adobeappmgr.png
adobeappmgrupdates.png
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Author Comment

by:Demersus
ID: 38807825
Thanks for the additional info.  I'm well aware of the trend of many vendors to move their products to the "cloud" as it were.  And I frankly rail against this trend also.  Having been in the IT field for about 15 years, and in the biotechnology field for about a decade prior to that, I have a healthy mistrust of technology from a reliabilty perspective.  I would never put myself personally, or my organization, in a position where the availability of mission critical systems could be interupted by an Internet connetivity issue which may be wholly outside the control of the vendor and the customer.

Netflix streaming was out over the Christmas holiday due to an Amazon glitch resulting from a simple human error.  Blackberry has been plauged by a number of outages in recent years for whatever reason.  I could go on, but I'm sure you get my gist.
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by:webtechgal
ID: 38807879
I agree with you whole heartedly. :)

Just to be clear, the Adobe Cloud apps actually download and install like normal software to your machine. AND (caveat) so getting updates are only active as your subscription is active. You can keep what you installed if you no longer subscribe, but no updates if no subscription.
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