ManageEngine x Forrester | Workforce Identity Platforms Landscape Report

Active Directory Policies

How to disable flash on Adobe Reader using GPO

In a networked environment, managing software configurations centrally is crucial for maintaining system security and performance. For system administrators, one task in this realm is disabling Flash in Adobe Reader DC via Group Policy. This measure is particularly important due to the various security vulnerabilities associated with Flash. This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to disable Flash in Adobe Reader DC using Group Policy, aimed at enhancing the security and compliance of enterprise systems.

Understanding the Risks of Flash in Adobe Reader

Flash has been widely known for its security vulnerabilities. Disabling Flash in Adobe Reader DC can mitigate risks such as unauthorized code execution, data breaches, and system compromise.


  • Adobe Customization Wizard: This tool is used for creating a custom installer for Adobe Reader DC.
  • Adobe Reader DC Installer: Standard installer package of Adobe Reader DC.
  • Group Policy Management Console (GPMC): A tool for managing Group Policies.
  • Administrative Rights: Required for creating and managing Group Policy Objects (GPOs).

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Customize Adobe Reader DC Installation
  1. Download Adobe Customization Wizard: Obtain the latest version that is compatible with your Adobe Reader DC installer.
  2. Customize the Installer:
    • Launch the Customization Wizard.
    • Open the Adobe Reader DC installer package.
    • Navigate to the section where you can disable Flash.
    • Save the transformed package after making the necessary changes.
Step 2: Create a Shared Network Location
  • Set up a shared network folder and place the customized Adobe Reader DC installer package there. Ensure it is accessible to the target systems.
Step 3: Open Group Policy Management Console
  • Access GPMC by typing “Group Policy Management” in the Start menu or by executing gpmc.msc.
Step 4: Create or Edit a Group Policy Object
  • To create a new GPO, right-click on the desired domain or OU in GPMC and select “Create a GPO in this domain, and Link it here…”.
  • To modify an existing GPO, find it under the relevant domain or OU, right-click it, and choose “Edit”.
Step 5: Deploying the Customized Adobe Reader DC Installer
  1. Navigate to Software Installation Settings:
    • Go to Computer ConfigurationPoliciesSoftware SettingsSoftware Installation in the Group Policy Management Editor.
  2. New Software Installation Package:
    • Right-click on “Software Installation”, select “New”, then “Package”.
    • Point it to the network share where the customized Adobe Reader DC installer is located.
    • Choose “Assigned” and click “OK”.
Step 6: Apply and Enforce the GPO
  • Link the GPO to the appropriate OU.
  • The policy will be applied at the next Group Policy refresh cycle, or you can force it immediately by running gpupdate /force on the client machines.

Advanced Configuration and Use Cases

  1. Selective Deployment: Apply this GPO to specific OUs or groups, particularly where security is a paramount concern, such as R&D or finance departments.
  2. Compliance and Security: Disabling Flash in Adobe Reader DC aligns with many compliance standards and security best practices.
  3. Mitigating Security Threats: Proactively protect the network from known and potential vulnerabilities associated with Flash.

Security Considerations

  • User Awareness: Educate users about the change and its impact on their PDF interaction.
  • Regular Updates: Keep Adobe Reader DC and the Customization Wizard up-to-date.
  • Policy Review: Regularly review the policy to ensure it aligns with current organizational needs and security standards.


  • Installation Issues: If there are problems with the installation, check the network share permissions and the package’s settings.
  • Policy Application: Utilize gpresult or Group Policy Results in GPMC to troubleshoot policy application issues.


Disabling Flash in Adobe Reader DC via Group Policy is a crucial step in securing an organization’s IT environment. This guide outlines the necessary steps for system administrators to take control of software configurations, specifically Adobe Reader DC, and enhance the security posture of their networked environment.

Related posts
Active Directory Policies

Block windows app installation with elevated privileges using GPO

Active Directory Policies

GPO to prevent regular users from changing MSI installation options

Active Directory Policies

GPO to prevent autoplay on non-volume devices

Active Directory Policies

Prevent remote logon for local accounts with blank password - GPO


There are over 8,500 people who are getting towards perfection in Active Directory, IT Management & Cyber security through our insights from Identitude.

Wanna be a part of our bimonthly curation of IAM knowledge?

  • -Select-
  • By clicking 'Become an insider', you agree to processing of personal data according to the Privacy Policy.