Adobe Reader Customization wizard registry settings for all users

Posted on 2014-09-05
Last Modified: 2014-09-09
I am having an issue when modifying an Adobe reader XI installation with the Customization Wizard which includes registry settings brought in from HKCU of my local machine.  The reg settings are modifications to the toolbar.  The settings apply to the admin account on the TS just fine (from which it was installed from) but are not applying to other users that sign into the system.  It was my understanding terminal server software installations monitor HKCU changes to be able to apply to all users.  What am I missing?
Question by:slsmith
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captain earned 100 total points
Comment Utility
They should.

The first thing I would check are the permissions on the keys. It is quite like that you have restrictive permissions on the keys so the keys can not be read by the users.

Whatever permissions your local admin account has, you need to add your TS group to have the same permissions on the keys.

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Accepted Solution

Coralon earned 400 total points
Comment Utility
There are a few different ways to achieve this.

1. Adobe has some ADM/ADMX files you can use in Group Policies for your TS box.
You would use these in either a loopback policy or on the user's OU.
2. You can set the policy/registry settings also in a Group Policy Preference in a Group Policy, again with loopback policies or on the user's OU.  (I absolutely prefer loopback for TS/RDS).
3. Place the values in the shadow key.  If you have a 64bit system, this is under HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Terminal Server\Install\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\<version>\*  If it is a 32bit system, then it is the same path without the Wow6432Node segment.   The real key to this is putting the system in install mode (change user /install) at the command line and entering the registry values.  This causes the system to time stamp the registry entries, and when a user logs in, the system compares the time stamps in HKCU vs the shadow key and copies the values from the shadow key values to HKCU when they are newer.  During a normal install of Adobe Reader, you put the system in install mode, install it, and then run it.  (Acrobat doesn't create all of the keys until it has run the first time).  When the program runs and creates keys in HKCU, those same keys are copied into the shadow key for new logins.  
4. You can set these values in a login script on the system.  I have a full article on how this works, and how to set it up.  This works extremely well.

But, based on your comments, you did not use Install Mode, and did not run the program while the system was in install mode.   (You can also use the Add/Remove Programs wizard to install the program which will also put it in install mode.)

There are also a number of best practices for configuring Acrobat on TS, and here are the settings I typically use:
(go into install mode and run Acrobat, then go into Edit | Preferences)
Full Screen - Set the Mouse Cursor to Always Visible
Page Display - set the Resolution to Use system setting
3D & Multimedia - Set the Preferred Renderer to Software
Internet - Turn off Allow speculative downloading in the background
Internet - Set the connection speed to LAN
Search - disable the Enable Fast Find
Security (Enhanced) - Disable the Enable Enhanced Security
Spelling - Disable the Check spelling while typing
Tracker - Set the Automatically Check for New Comments and Form Data to Never
Updater - Set it to Do not download or install updates automatically.


Author Comment

Comment Utility
Thank you both for the quick replies.  I am still not having luck getting the reg edits to apply to normal users on the TS.

I manually entered Install mode, installed Adobe using the custom transform that imports the AVGeneral and other keys.  I then opened adobe reader and everything looked good.  I opened the registry to check the wow6432 keys to see if they were created and I did not see them so I imported the reg keys I wanted into this location.  I then changed to execute mode.  

Rebooted the system and logged on as a typical user to only get the adobe defaults for toolbars.  I opened Registry under this user and do not see my desired keys in HKCU.  

I did check permissions on the HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Terminal Server\Install\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\<version>\* and they are set for users to read whereas others are full control.  Changed the Reader key and below to full control for remote desktop users to no avail.

Any other thoughts on this?  I do put out some reg keys via GP preferences so I guess I can try that with this.  My original hope was to have the installation take care of the registry settings.

LVL 23

Expert Comment

Comment Utility
Something is wrong with the Shadow keys.. it may not be recording the time stamps. Did you set the registry keys while you had it in change user /install?  
Another option is to try setting them in HKCU for yourself, while you are in install mode.  
However, the usrlogon.cmd configuration will absolutely work.  

But, test your shadow keys.. make sure they are working. Create a new test key under that location (under install mode) (HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Terminal Server\install\software\somekey\somevalue) and then have your users login, and check to make sure the value does propagate to the HKCU of user's logging in.  And verify existing profiles/roaming profiles vs. *new* profiles.


Author Comment

Comment Utility
I will test to ensure the shadow keys are working.  However, I ended up using GPO Preferences to set the registry keys.  It is working well enough so time to move on.  Thanks for the help and knowledge you imparted.

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