Adobe Reader 9 Customization Tool Bug

I would like to take a few minutes to relay a story of a bug in Adobe’s Customization Wizard version 9 that causes Adobe Reader 9.x browser integration to fail. If you are seeing the symptom in the screenshot below (“The Adobe Acrobat/Reader that is running can not be used to view PDF files in a Web Browser. Adobe Acrobat/Reader version 8 or 9 is required. Please exit and try again.“), then please read on:

Adobe Reader 9 Error

Adobe Reader 9 Error

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Recently, I put together a package to deploy Adobe Reader 9.1 (now updated to 9.1.1) to our Windows clients (using ConfigMgr). I deployed this package successfully to a couple thousand workstations. After this deployment though, we had a couple of complaints, from users that had a license for Adobe Acrobat, that Adobe Reader had taken over as the default PDF software. As a result from this feedback, we went back and changed an option, for future deployments, to leave Acrobat as the default PDF software if it is installed (“Make Acrobat the default viewer if both Acrobat and Reader are installed.“).

Not thinking much of the change we made, using this newly tweaked package, we continued our deployment to the enterprise. After deploying to about 600 more workstations, that’s when the bad news began. Reports of an error message coming up (see introductory paragraph / image) began streaming in from our on-site technicians, because our users in those locations heavily relied upon Adobe Reader’s browser integration to open and print PDF documents.

It took quite a while of trial and error to figure out, but eventually we discovered that the setting under “Installation Options –> Default viewer for PDF files” was causing the issue. By reverting this option back to the default value of “Installer will decide which product will be the default,” we successfully worked around this problem.

Adobe Reader Customization Wizard - Installation Options

Adobe Reader Customization Wizard - Installation Options

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As best I can tell, this is a bug with Adobe’s Customization Wizard software. It has caused a lot of headache, a lot of wasted time, and a couple of very late nights at the office for me last week, but eventually we got it resolved.

Thanks Adobe.

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me on Gmail at pcgeek86.

Update (2009-06-02): Fixed text rendering errors around images