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Adobe Reader DC will not update. Receiving error code 1603.

I am trying to upgrade an older version of Adobe Reader and the pre-built automatic update package for Adobe Reader DC 19.012.20034 throws an error every time.

Can PDQ fix this issue because their pre-built deployment script doesn't work?



Date Votes
  • That usually means there is an installation progress. Restart the computer a few times and try again. The deployment works for our environment.

  • 1603 is a generic MSI error that says little more than "something went wrong". If you dig into the Output Log you can usually find a line somewhere in the middle that gives you a better error message.

  • The issue is it's trying to install the base version, but not sure why PDQ configured as such. The I cannot run the update separate because then I can the following error below; it wont let me output.log the install because the error pops up immediately.

    Seems no solutions for pushing updates for Adobe Reader DC, it's odd.

    enter image description here

  • What is the full name of the package you are trying to deploy? If it's the patch, the target has to already have Reader installed. Also, the patches are specific to each train. For example, if the target has DC 2015, you can't deploy the DC 2017 patch to it.

    Another thing you can try is to deploy the "Uninstall Adobe Reader" package, then try again with a package that does not say "patch".

  • So a user will have Adobe Acrobat Reader DC 19.012.20034 for example. An update of 19.012.20035 will become available.

    If I push the package down using the auto download feature of the 19.012.20035 version, it fails because for some odd reason it tries to push out the base version which makes no sense.

    When I convert to a standard package and move the update step up and try to just update the person's Adobe Acrobat Reader DC version, it says the following:

    The upgrade patch cannot be installed by the Windows Installer service because the program to be upgraded may be missing, or the upgrade patch may update a different version of the program. Verify that the program to be upgraded exists on your computer and that you have the correct upgrade patch.

  • So basically I have all these outdated Adobe Acrobat Reader DC users who have CVE vulnerabilities and PDQ cannot update them. Very frustrating.

  • It sounds like what you are doing should work. The Adobe Reader packages are some of our most popular, and this is the first time I've heard of something like this. Please contact

  • Hey jasonmluna,

    Just wanted to let you know i ran into the same issues as you and figured out a way to fix the issue.

    basically You have to make an uninstall Package for Adobe reader DC first then convert the regular installer then edit in the uninstall step to be first then the rest of the package works as its supposed to.

    Apparently there is some issue in the installer from older versions of Adobe that prevent pdq from pushing the update on those versions.

    sometimes this requires due to there being different versions installed a wildcard for versions or manually uninstalling every different version which is rather annoying


  • I ran into this same issue over the weekend to update automatically. Left MANY machines in a bad way where Acrobat would just close after starting. Like Matt Brown said, I had to uninstall the previous version and reinstall the new version. Hopefully someone has an easy fix to do automatic upgrades for the future.

  • Matt Brown John Estep

    If you aren't already, I highly recommend using the Patch packages.

  • So you are saying, the patch file has to be used?


    I was trying to have a schedule to run, so maybe if you explained exactly what you mean?


    If I want all my users to have the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader DC???



  • Adobe Reader is weird because they don't provide updated full installers, only the original installer and patch files. I recommend using the packages that don't have Patch in their name for installing Adobe Reader, and the Patch packages for updating it.

  • Ah, then that is probably why my updates failed. And it sounds as if it always will. I have mixed versions :/

    Thanks for that info

  • We have an outdated version of Reader DC ( installed via GPO, I am trying to update to the latest as we are trying to move to PDQ for all our installs and updates. When I run the patch package against a target with our GPO version installed. The package runs successfully but the target is not updated. Any ideas?

    Installing the base version from a clean install fails.

  • I found it was best to uninstall all various versions and then get everyone on the same version. Once they were on the same version, I just made my baseline imaging package in PDQ Deploy use the Full installer, and all update schedules use the Patch.

  • @Jason Amick Sorry to ask this, but can you be a bit more specific on how you did this? It sounds like what I want to do exactly.

  • Turns out the old version we had installed was via AIP and couldn't be updated with the patch installer.

    Here's what I did to make it work.

    Download cleaner tool from:

    I modified the check script provided in the Java autodownload package