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Active Directory Policies

How to disable JavaScript in Adobe Reader DC using GPO

For system administrators managing a network of computers with Adobe Reader DC, it’s essential to maintain security and control over the software configurations. One such critical setting is the management of JavaScript execution within PDF documents. Malicious JavaScript within PDFs can be a security threat. Disabling it in a managed environment can help mitigate such risks. This article provides a detailed guide on how to disable JavaScript in Adobe Reader DC using Group Policy.

Understanding the Need for Disabling JavaScript in Adobe Reader

JavaScript in PDFs can be used for various legitimate purposes, including form validation and document automation. However, it can also be exploited for malicious purposes. Disabling JavaScript in Adobe Reader DC can prevent such security exploits.


  • Adobe Customization Wizard: This tool is used to create a customized installer for Adobe Reader DC.
  • Adobe Reader DC Installer: A standard installer package for Adobe Reader DC.
  • Group Policy Management Console (GPMC): Access to GPMC for deploying the customized installation package and settings.
  • Administrative Rights: Adequate permissions to create and manage Group Policy Objects (GPOs) in your Active Directory environment.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Customize Adobe Reader DC Installation
  1. Download Adobe Customization Wizard: Get the latest version compatible with your Adobe Reader DC installer.
  2. Customize the Installer:
    • Run the Customization Wizard.
    • Open the Adobe Reader DC installer package.
    • Navigate to the JavaScript settings.
    • Disable JavaScript execution.
    • Save the transformed package.
Step 2: Create a Shared Network Location
  • Create a shared network folder and place the customized Adobe Reader DC installer package in this location. Ensure it’s accessible by the target computers.
Step 3: Open Group Policy Management Console
  • Access GPMC by searching for “Group Policy Management” in the Start menu or by running gpmc.msc.
Step 4: Create or Edit a Group Policy Object
  • To create a new GPO, right-click your domain or an OU in GPMC and select “Create a GPO in this domain, and Link it here…”.
  • To modify an existing GPO, find it in the appropriate domain or OU, right-click it, and choose “Edit”.
Step 5: Deploying the Customized Adobe Reader DC Installer
  1. Navigate to Software Installation Settings:
    • In the Group Policy Management Editor, go to Computer ConfigurationPoliciesSoftware SettingsSoftware Installation.
  2. Create a New Software Installation Package:
    • Right-click on “Software Installation”, select “New”, and then “Package”.
    • Point to the shared network location where the customized Adobe Reader DC installer is located.
    • Choose “Assigned” and then click “OK”.
Step 6: Apply and Enforce the GPO
  • Link the GPO to the appropriate OU.
  • The policy will apply during the next Group Policy refresh cycle or upon restarting the client computers.

Advanced Configuration and Use Cases

  1. Selective Deployment: Apply this GPO selectively to OUs or groups that require enhanced security measures, such as departments handling sensitive information.
  2. Security Compliance: Ensure compliance with organizational or regulatory requirements regarding the use of JavaScript in PDFs.
  3. Mitigating Specific Threats: In response to identified threats exploiting JavaScript in PDFs, quickly deploy this setting across the network to mitigate risks.

Security Considerations

  • User Communication: Inform users about the change and how it might affect their interaction with PDF documents.
  • Regular Updates: Keep the Adobe Reader DC software and the Customization Wizard tool updated to their latest versions.
  • Policy Review: Regularly review the GPO settings to ensure they are still relevant and effective.


  • Installation Issues: If the installation fails, check network permissions and ensure the shared location is correctly configured.
  • GPO Application: Use the gpresult command or the Group Policy Results tool in GPMC to troubleshoot GPO application issues.


Disabling JavaScript in Adobe Reader DC via Group Policy is a strategic move to enhance the security of an IT environment. By following the steps outlined in this guide, system administrators can effectively manage the settings of Adobe Reader DC across multiple computers, mitigating potential security risks associated with JavaScript in PDFs.

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