During an assignment, I was challenged with the question if it is possible to change the Adobe Acrobat DC license from Pro to Standard and visa-versa. I found out that it is possible to do so.

Under the hood, Adobe Acrobat DC Standard and Adobe Acrobat DC Pro are the same. The only difference is the license. The license makes it a 'Standard' or 'Pro' version. So, if you want to change the license you only have to unregister the current license and register the new license. In this article, I will tell you how to change the license.

You can also watch this video on YouTube:
 

Requirements and approach:

Requirements:

In this example, everyone has Adobe Acrobat DC Standard, except the users who are member of the AD group Demo - Adobe Acrobat DC Pro. They will get Adobe Acrobat DC Pro. This license should only be applied to computers that have at least Adobe Acrobat DC version of Adobe Acrobat 2020.012.20048 installed.

Approach:

You can download the JSON license files from the Adobe Licensing website. You can configure the license with the adobe-licensing-toolkit.exe. This can be downloaded from the Adobe Website.

The steps:

  1. Clear the currently installed license:
    adobe-licensing-toolkit.exe --deactivate

  2. install the correct license:
    1. For all users except the Adobe Acrobat DC Pro users:
      adobe-licensing-toolkit.exe --precondition  --install --filePath StandardLicense.json" --addregistryentry

    2. For all Adobe Acrobat DC Pro users:
      adobe-licensing-toolkit.exe --precondition  --install --filePath ProLicense.json" --addregistryentry

  3. Write all the license information to a file for debugging. This might be useful for debugging reasons:
    adobe-licensing-toolkit.exe --licenseinformation > %TEMP%\Adobe_2020_License.txt  

In this example, Ivanti Workspace Control is used to set the license.

Activities in Ivanti Workspace Control:

Step 1: Create a zone 'At least Adobe Acrobat 2020.012.20048'

All the settings are only applied if Adobe Acrobat DC version 2020.012.20048 or higher has been installed.

The zone name.

And the properties: the executable must have at least version 20.12.20048. 

Maybe you are wondering why a zone is used. I worked for an organisation that has more than one Adobe Acrobat version installed on the computers. Then it is needed to differentiate. Registering the license should only be done on particular computers. 

Step 2: Set all the files in %RESCUSTOMRESOURCES%

For this example, all the needed files are placed in the %CUSTOMRESOURCES% map. Then all the needed files are available on all the computers.

Configure %RESCUSTOMRESOURCES%

The %RESCUSTOMRESOURCES% structure. 

 

Step 3: Create a mandatory application _Mandatory Adobe Acrobat DC 2020 Activation

Now, the license is set. It is run for all users on the computers where Adobe Acrobat DC version 2020.012.20048 or higher has been installed.

All the properties from the mandatory application _Mandatory Adobe Acrobat DC 2020 Activation

Description

Shortcuts

The autolaunch at session start is mandatory

It affects all users.

But only if the computer is in the right zone. 

Removing the license - command

Everyone will get the unserialize command.

Serialize Adobe Acrobat DC Pro

But only the users who are member of the given AD group.

Serialize Adobe Acrobat DC Standard.

All the users who are no member of the given AD group.

For debugging: writing the license information to a log file.

And the authorized files.

Step 4: Create the shortcut Adobe Acrobat DC

Now, the shortcut 'Adobe Acrobat DC' is set, but only on the computers where Adobe Acrobat DC version 2020.012.20048 or higher has been installed.

The properties of the shortcut Adobe Acrobat DC
 
 

The shortcut is only shown if the computer is in the right zone.  

And the authorized files.  

Testing on the client

I am logging in with test93. This account is no member of the group Demo - Adobe Acrobat DC Pro.

Testing Adobe Acrobat DC Standard

Now, the user test93 has been made member of the group Demo - Adobe Acrobat DC Pro. After logoff and logon, the version has been changed to Pro.

Testing Adobe Acrobat DC Pro

As a final test, test93 has been removed from the group Demo - Adobe Acrobat DC Pro. After logoff and logon, the version has been changed to Standard again.

Adobe Acrobat DC has been changed back to Standard

And logging:

Logging in Ivanti Workspace Control

If no valid license is found, then a login box appears:

A login box, thus no valid license has been found