Adobe Reader X – Extracting the MSI

Adobe Reader X (X is for version 10) is a free application provided by Adobe that allows for the viewing and printing of PDF files.

Current and previous versions of Adobe Reader are available as a free download from Adobe.  See Downloads and Offline Tools for links to Adobe download resources.

2 versions of the Adobe Reader installer are typically available for download, one is an executable file (.exe) , the other is a Microsoft Installer file (.msi). Using the english version of Adobe Reader X (version 10.0) as a baseline, the filenames generally look like this:

The Executable (AdbeRdr1000_en_US.exe)
Many administrators will extract the contents of the EXE file for purposes of customizing the .msi file, which is then used to deploy Adobe Reader.  The extracted files include the .msi file Acroread.msi, which can be opened by the Adobe Customization Wizard X for editing. The Acroread.msi can be edited, allowing an admistrator to set custom options before deploying Adobe Reader.  In the past, the Adobe customization Wizard has allowed you to save those changes directly to the MSI file, though this currently does not seem to be the case. However, when you select save within the Customization Wizard, a transform file (.mst) is automatically generated.

The Microsoft Installer file (AdbeRdr1000_en_US.msi)
You can also download the MSI file.  This .msi file (AdbeRdr1000_en_US.msi) can also be opened by the Adobe Customization Wizard X. Changes are made within the Customization Wizard, also allowing an admistrator to set custom options before deploying Adobe Reader.  Those changes cannot be saved directly to the MSI file, when you use Customization Wizard X to save the changes, it will generate a transform file (.mst).

Extracting Files From the EXE
The example shown here uses Adobe Reader X version 10.01, english (AdbeRdr1001_en_US.msi).  Notice when a new FULL version of Adobe Reader is released, or you are using a different language, the file name of the .exe will change, so adjust as necessary.

Using the following command will extract the files inside the Adobe Reader installer to a folder called AdobeReaderFiles in the root of your C drive:
AdbeRdr1001_en_US.exe -nos_oc:\AdobeReaderFiles -nos_ne

Notes About Extracting Files From the EXE
There is no space between the -nos_o switch and the path “c:\AdobeReaderFiles”

If you extract the files into an existing folder, such as “C:\Temp”, be advised that this command now deletes the contents within the destination folder and then extracts its own files to the folder.  I had not encountered this behavior when extracting the files from previous versions of the Adobe Reader installer. Double check your path statement before committing, and make sure you extract your files into an empty folder.

Which file you download may have more to do with what you have used in the past.  I have normally downloaded the EXE and then extracted its contents.  From there I would customize my installation by editing the Acroread.msi, but I have now tested the Customization Wizard with both downloads, and was able to customize and deploy both without difficulty.

Adobe Customization Wizard X and Adobe Reader X

Adobe Customization Wizard X Features and Benefits

Deploying Adobe Reader X (Aaron Parkers

Deploying Adobe Reader 9 (


Adobe Reader 9.x – Extracting the MSI

Extracting the Adobe Reader 9.1x MSI installer for deployment

Adobe Reader 9.2 – Customizing the MSI

Adobe Reader 9.1x – Patching the Base MSI File


One comment on “Adobe Reader X – Extracting the MSI

Comments are closed.