When downloading Adobe Reader over the Internet, the delivered software is packaged using the FEAD (Fast Electronic Application Distribution) Optimizer. This article tells you how to convert the FEAD package into a customized, unattended setup using free software from Adobe. These instructions also work on the full version of Adobe Acrobat, with some minor modifications in the path.
The first obstacle is to obtain the InstallShield MSI installation files from within the FEAD package. Paradoxically, one must first install the Adobe Reader program to get access to these. After installation, the necessary files can be found under the path:
%PROGRAMFILES%\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Setup Files\RdrBig705\ENU
Note: When downloading the FEAD package, be sure to uncheck the Adobe Yahoo! Toolbar and the Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition extra downloads.
From this point, one can use standard MSI command-line switches and Transform Files to create a standard, unattended install. But I find the process of configuring an MSI to be tedious and unnecessarily complicated when performed by hand. Fortunately, Adobe provides the InstallShield Tuner for Adobe Acrobat, a graphical interface to Acrobat’s Windows Installer that enables IT administrators to make modifications to the installer via a Transform File.
The Tuner enables you to set a variety of options, including the default install path, supressing the EULA, and setting security policy. After saving your changes, an MST transform file will be created. However, the Adobe installer will not utilitize this transform file by default. To do so, you must repackage the setup and create a new installer package by selecting Packaging Wizard from the Project menu.
Under Windows Installer Command Line Arguments, pass
/qb-! for a quiet, basic installer that disables the Cancel button during installation. All other options should be self-explanatory. When the Packaging Wizard is complete, your unattended installation should be available under the Network Location specified in the wizard.
While there are other ways to create unattended installers, I find this technique to be the “most official” for the Adobe Acrobat Reader product.