Archive for June, 2013

Deploy Adobe Acrobat Reader XI (11.0.03) Using SCCM 2012 SP1

There are several blogs on this topic; however, some seem to be lacking one or more details or may not show how to patch and customize Adobe Acrobat Reader XI. In this blog, I will show you how to patch, customize and deploy, via SCCM, Adobe Reader XI (11.0.03).

Pre-requisite: Make sure you have installed Adobe Customization Wizard XI

  1. Download the latest version of Acrobat Reader from Adobe’s FTP site.
    1. The direct FTP link is: ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/win/11.x/11.0.03/en_US/
  2. We’re going to download the EXE file: AdbeRdr11003_en_US.exe
  3. Next, from an administrator command line, we’re going to extract the MSI from the EXE file using the following command: AdbeRdr11003_en_US.exe -nos_o”c:\SomeDirectory” -nos_ne
    1. Do not close this command line window as we’ll use it again.
    2. For this example I’m extracting the contents to C:\temp\Adobe XI (11.0.03) folder.

  4. Once we’ve extracted the source files from the EXE file, then let’s run (as an administrator) the Adobe Customization Wizard XI to create the MST file that we’re going to use to customize Adobe Reader XI.
    1. If the customization wizard isn’t run as an administrator, you won’t be able to save the package.
  5. Basically, we’re going to make changes in the the following sections:
    1. Personalization Options
    2. Installation Options
    3. Shortcuts
    4. WebMail Profiles
    5. Online and Adobe online services Features

  6. Once the customization options have been completed, proceed to click on Transform menu option then click on Generate Transform…
    1. Save the MST file in the same folder where the Adobe Reader MSI exists.
    2. For this example, we’re going to save this file as AcroRead.mst
  7. Next, click on File and then click on Save Package.
  8. Back to the command line and let’s create an Application Installation Point (AIP) in order to patch Acrobat Reader.
    1. In the folder where the MSI file was extracted, you’ll notice that file AdbeRdrUpd11003.msp is located there – that’s our patch file that we’ll be applying.
    2. For this example we’re going to create a new folder – C:\AdobeAIP
  9. From the command line, in step 3, we’re going to create the AIP with the following command: msiexec /a AcroRead.msi
    1. Once the wizard comes up, make sure to point it to the folder created in step 8.2
    2. Make sure you run this command from the folder in step 3.
    3. Take a look at the files extracted
  10. Change directory to folder C:\AdobeAIP
  11. Now we’re ready to patch the Acrobat Reader source files, let’s use the following command: msiexec /a AcroRead.msi /p “c:\temp\Adobe XI (11.0.03)\AdbeRdrUpd11003.msp”
    1. This will open a wizard window; make sure there are no error messages during this task.

  12. If the patching process was successful, then we should now have a patched Acrobat Reader XI installation as well as a customization file.
  13. From Step 3 folder (C:\temp\Adobe XI (11.0.03)), copy the MST file to the Step 6 folder (C:\AdobeAIP)
  14. At this time, folder C:\AdobeAIP should contain a patched Acrobat Reader  XI as well as the customization file. We’re going to use the contents of folder C:\AdobeAIP as our deployment files to create our SCCM 2012 deployment package.
  15. Copy all contents of C:\AdobeAIP to the share that SCCM uses to deploy applications in your environment.
  16. Let’s create a new application deployment package in SCCM. First, go to the Software Library section, and click on Application Management and then click on the Applications container to create the new package.
  17. Right click on the Applications container then click on Create Application option.
  18. Point to the network share where you copied the files in Step 15 and select the file AcroRead.msi
    1. You may get a warning message about not being able to verify the publisher of this MSI file, just click on Yes.
  19. In the General Information wizard screen, in the Installation program field, add the following:TRANSFORMS=”AcroRead.mst”
    1. This line should read: msiexec /i “AcroRead.msi” TRANSFORMS=”AcroRead.mst” /q

  20. Continue accepting defaults until the application wizard finishes.
  21. Now, you can deploy this new application to a selected number of computers or users.


Supersedence Notes
In my environment, I’m replacing, or superseding, and older version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Here’s a quick screenshot on how it’s done.


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A disk controller driver nightmare from hell!!

Recently we started the deployment of Windows 7 Enterprise (x64) throughout the company that I work for. The targeted hardware were DELL Optiplex 980, 990 and 9010 model desktops. The nightmare began after deploying several Optiplex 990 models. We use Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 to deploy the OS and applications to these desktops.

After deploying over 20 Optiplex 990 models, we noticed that on some 990s we were getting continuous BSOD’s after a day or two (the BSOD’s also came after a week of having the computer in production!). After a desperate call to Microsoft, it was determined that the BSOD code was a generic hardware error code. However, Microsoft was unable to pin-point the issue after 3 weeks of troubleshooting!

The one thing that came to mind was that the recent models that I deployed were older model Optiplex 990 desktops (possibly 2012 and very early 2013 models) , but at that time I failed to look into this clue. Luckily, and I mean luckily, I was able to catch the culprit of this nightmare, and here are the screenshots.


Note: disregard the failed PCI driver controller installation


Basically, you’re looking at a hijacked SATA driver installation!

These DELL Optiplex 990 models come with a SATA drive and controller installed. As a matter of fact, when Windows 7 Enterprise gets installed, SATA drivers are loaded for this computer; however, sometime post installation Windows finds, or detects, an IDE ATA chipset and without any warning, it installs the Intel(R 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset drivers!

To make matters worst, I’ve configured the OS Deployment in SCCM to use native DELL drivers specific for this computer model, yet Windows Updates comes a day or two later and replaces them with the Intel(R 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset drivers.

The quick, and lazy fix, is to go to the BIOS and change the drive controller settings from Raid On (default setting) to ATA.

I’ve yet to identify the reason why this change in disk controller drivers.

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