Need to Determine What Version of Adobe Acrobat is Installed on Each Device You Manage?

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I get questions from IT managers who, for licensing compliance reasons, are trying to get a handle on what versions and variations of Acrobat are deployed across their networks. Distinguishing between Acrobat and Reader is pretty easy. You can scan the hard drives for the executables; Reader is “AcroRd32.exe” and Acrobat is “Acrobat.exe” but this won’t tell you which version is installed or what variation of Acrobat you have or how it was licensed. You need to dig into the registry for that kind of information.

Desktop administrators can determine the versions and variations of Acrobat deployed across the organization by using asset management tools to query for the product’s Globally Unique Identifier or “GUID”. The Windows Installer Service creates this key automatically when the product is properly installed initially, but it is also updated when product is patched. This article just covers Acrobat. For complete documentation on parsing the GUID for both Acrobat and Reader see the Enterprise Administration Guide for the Adobe Acrobat Family of Products.

For the Acrobat family of products, the GUID indicates the following:

  • Product family: It’s always going to be “Acrobat” – actually “AC76BA86″, to be precise
  • Version: For example, version 9
  • Language: For example, English versus English/French/German
  • Additional languages: Other languages that are included in the package
  • Product type: Standard, Professional, 3D, Pro Extended etc.
  • License type: Whether the retail or volume license product is installed
  • Major version: For example, 8 or 9
  • Minor version: For example .1 or .2 – Typically for quarterly releases
  • Minor-minor version: For example .1 – Typically for patches

PhonePad
During installation, the product GUID is created as a Key/Value pair in the registry. Each GUID section represents information using a combination of hexadecimal and telephone keypad indicators. Each release and language group receives a unique product code. In the InstallShield project, this code is specified in the Product Configuration panel for the release type. Installers update the GUID though patchers do not. Patches (.msp files) target the originating GUID for patch transformation, and thus do not change the GUID.

The registry value’s actual name is always “ENU_GUID” even when other languages are also present (for example, FRA, DEU, ESP). The GUID for Reader indicates the major, minor, and minor-minor version. However, for 9.x versions of Acrobat and earlier, the GUID does not identify the minor-minor version.

Note: The only time the GUID is updated is when the product is installed with a new MSI installer. The GUID is not updated for patches that don’t use an MSI installer.

GUID construction:

The basic formula for decoding the GUID for Acrobat is as follows…

[product family]-[language code]-[additional languages]-[product variation]-[license type][0s][major version]

GUID Segment Description
Product Family The first section of the product code attempts to spell the product family using a combination of hexadecimal and telephone keypad indicators. "AC76BA86" stands for "ACROBAT6". The last digit in this section is no longer used to indicate version number.
Language Code This second section of the product code contains the four-letter default language code as defined by Microsoft.
Additional Languages A hexadecimal representation of extra languages (ex. "DF60" == DFN == Danish Finnish Norwegian). Use
the first letter of the language’s country code if it is between A-F. (D = Danish); Otherwise, use a telephone
keypad indicator to represent the language. (ex. 6 = Norwegian). See the Enterprise Administration Guide for the Adobe Acrobat Family of Products for other examples.
Product Variation The product using hexadecimal and telephone keypad indicators as follows:
7760 – Acrobat Pro (PRO using telephone Keypad indicators, followed by a zero)
BA7E – Acrobat Standard (BASE)
7761 – Acrobat 3D (PRO1)
License Type The first in the last series of digits indicates either volume or retail serial number was used; 1 indicates
volume licensing. 0 indicates retail licensing.
Acrobat Major Version In the last number series, the last digit indicates the major version as follows:
1: version 6
2: version 7
3: version 8
4: version 9
5: version 10

For Example the GUID {AC76BA86-1033-F400-7760-100000000005} indicates “Acrobat-English-French/German-Pro-Volume-Ten” or in other words I have an “Acrobat X Pro EFG Volume license”.