Adobe Reader 9.x and Redirected Application Data folder

Finally got around to upgrading Adobe Reader from version 8 to version 9.3 on the Thin Client system and during testing received an error from iexplore.exe (or directly from AcroRd32.exe if the PDF opened not embedded within Internet Explorer) thus:

Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Llibrary
Runtime Error!
Program: C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE
abnormal program termination
AcroRd32.exe Visual C++ Runtime Error

AcroRd32.exe Visual C++ Runtime Error

or

AcroRd32.exe causing iexplore.exe Visual C++ Runtime error

AcroRd32.exe causing iexplore.exe Visual C++ Runtime error

Seems like this problem has been around for a while (2008, when Reader 9.0 was released) and is because Adobe don’t seem to know how to handle a redirected Application Data folder. This is obviously fairly poor as redirecting folders is common where Active Directory Group Policy is used. Additionally, I would consider it best practice where Terminal Services/XenApp is implemented (to stop lots of configuration files being copied around during log on and log off, due to roaming profiles).
The fault has been discussed on their forums for a few years, and recently somebody has posted a useful summary workaround.
Earlier in the thread somebody noted that Reader tries to find its Application Data folder by starting at the share level and then working down.
My users have an H drive (which is their %homedrive%), and Application Data is redirected to within a folder called Windows within that. Due to the H drive letter not being present early in the logon process you have to use a UNC path when doing the Application Data folder redirection. So within Group Policy, AppData(Roaming) is redirected to \\server\users$\%username%\Windows\Application Data
The first place Reader tries to look is within the users$ share, and you tend not to give users any access to that at all.
The workaround is to give users the specific “List Folder / Read Data” NTFS permission on the folder that is the users$ share, and only give them it for “This folder and files”. So assuming that \\server\users$ is actually a folder called Users on the root of the D:\ drive, it is that where you make the permissions change.
If you had other folders down your redirection path that users didn’t have “List Folder / Read Data” permission to then you’d presumably have to change their permissions too.
Adobe Reader 9.3 is now working for me, and more importantly my users.

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2 Responses to Adobe Reader 9.x and Redirected Application Data folder

  1. Pingback: Adobe Reader X « I'm Mad About Technology..

  2. Pingback: Adobe Reader X – 10.1 Update Fixes Sym Link Bugs « I'm Mad About Technology..

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