In the past I’ve had good luck ‘stacking’ Adobe Flash Player installs on top of each other in group policy. For some reason one of the newer versions (10.3.183.7) choked, leaving something along the lines of an ‘FP_AX_MSI_INSTALLER’ error in the event viewer. That error led me to this post which stated, more or less, that a computer logon batch file is the best bet (so ’90s!). I implemented the batch file and had no issues getting everyone’s Flash updated (do note though that you’ll need to do a double detect if you have 64 bit systems in your environment as the version key is at “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Macromedia\FlashPlayer” on 64 bit systems).
It was at this point that I moved on to Acrobat Reader. I was a little puzzled because I downloaded the latest version (10.1.1), but after installing it, it reported that it was only ‘10.1.0’. It turns out the ‘.1’ is a standalone patch that is included with the distribution. Unfortunately, as I’d found with Office 2007, group policy does not do .msp files (msi patch files). Right away I thought of my Flash Player install batch file, but Acrobat Reader (as near as I can tell) does not have a version registry key like Flash Player. I hunted for an easy way out, but finally gave up and wrote a program to return the Acrobat Reader version (based on what’s reported by the installed executable file). You can download the excutable and the batch files that I used for Adobe Flash Player and Acrobat Reader here. (Note: if the computer does not have Acrobat Reader installed, the detector should return the string “NotInstalled”. I didn’t worry much about this detection as I have the batch file in the group policy that installs Acrobat Reader.)