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Troubleshooting Adobe Acrobat DC deployment to Windows devices

A teacher working on her device with an Adobe Acrobat icon on a side graphic

Deploying Acrobat DC to Windows devices in school can be frustrating. Let’s discuss why and what you can do to help schools to get the job done.

For school-owned computers, Acrobat DC can only be installed as a push-request from UDM by the school's ICT Coordinator or TSO. Many schools have used UDM to deploy it, only to find it installs on some devices but not on others, even after waiting days. UDM deployments are completely silent and run in the background, and there are no prompts for the user and no indication of success, apart from the desired program suddenly appearing on the target devices, ready for use. But because it is silent, there is also no notification of a failed installation. So it's important to understand what could cause a failed install. Acrobat DC wants to install plugins, so it will fail if any of the following are open and in use:

  • any Microsoft Office program (eg. Word, Powerpoint, Excel)
  • any Internet browser (eg. Chrome, Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox)

Once the install has failed, it may or may not retry the install at a later time, and this is dependent on the reason it failed. If Acrobat DC is not there within two days, it's safe to assume it failed. UDM installs are usually successful when the device is turned on, but not logged on. Or, logged on, but not being used, with Office and browsers closed. For this reason, it's best to advise schools to negotiate when to deploy it with each user.

So why mightn’t Acrobat DC reinstall after an F12-rebuild?

What happens if you F12-rebuild a computer that had Acrobat DC previously deployed to it? Will it be redeployed automatically with the rebuild? As long as the exact version of Acrobat DC on the device being rebuilt is the same version as is currently in UDM, then yes, Acrobat DC will be automatically installed following the rebuild - as will any other package that was associated with the device. However, if the version of Acrobat DC in UDM is newer, then it will not be installed and the school's ICT Coordinator or TSO will need to redeploy the newer package, taking into consideration the advice provided above.