Back in October, I expressed my frustration with Adobe Reader updates. After updating Reader 8 and 9 too many times to count, suddenly in 9.2 I was left with more questions than answers. Part of that post was wondering what adobearm.exe was. That post is still strangely popular so I thought I’d post an update.

Adobe still has nothing about adobeARM.exe in its knowledgebase.

When you Google adobeARM.exe after finding the link for this site, you find some sites claiming adobeARM.exe is malware. Hard to believe since this file is part of the installation package from Adobe Reader.

The best info I’ve found is in this Adobe Forum thread.

Ignore the usual misinformation about Flash for ARM powered mobile devices, and the ubiquitous advice to just switch to FoxIT.

You find the same info that we had a commenter post in October. “AdobeARM.exe is a part of new Adobe Acrobat\Reader updater. If you manage updates yourself, it is absolutely safe to remove it from Run registry.”
While this info is far from authoritative, I would suggest home users leave it alone. In corporations that manage updates, I’d continue to disable updates via the Adobe Tuner and remove this exe from the startup directory.


  1. is it ok if I disable AdobeArm from Startup ?? My PC is becoming too slow & I dont know why its taking 3 to 4 minutes while opening windows , My Computer, Control panel ,my Documents … everything . it was fine a month ago but even restoring the system to earlier point but make no effect … is it somthing wrong with the Window XP or my hard disk ?

  2. The bUpdater DWORD with value 0 that you can add to the registry at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\9.0\FeatureLockdown just prevents the Help, Check for Updates.. menu option from appearing.

  3. This is one reason why I hated update sometimes. Much as I wanted update for better security, I hate the ‘added’ program to load at startup sometimes. What I usually did is to Google what the file is about and if I could, I would just disable it.

  4. Thanks folks – v useful to have found this at the top of google search. I too have found XP start-up to have become painfully slow as keep everything optimised and defragged. Have upgraded Adobe Elements from v4 to v8 and find it keeps crashing so am going to remove ARM.exe from startup and reinstall Elements. Be interesting if it then works properly!

  5. In my many years of experience in the online world Adobe is and has always been one of the most deceptive products. They do and always have operated like spyware and once you let it in your system it works exactly like a trojan, rootkit oriented.
    I have always kept this proggie @ bay and when I do updated it, from time to time, I imeediately go in and correct the damage and strt-ups it creates.
    Good luck!

  6. Thank you for the post. Am a bit rusty with the Windows Environment (& Adobe) so this post helped. Btw, I’d like to plug Mark Russinovich’s tools; process explorer & autoruns. Both are indispensable in learning more about the Windows environment (e.g. autoruns led me here).

  7. C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\ARM\1.0\AdobeARM.exe Is the AdobeARM updater….I’ve recently discovered several machines in my organization with C:\Program Files\Common Files\AdobeARMS.exe (note the path and file name change)…these machines all have the same things in common 1. messed up TCP Driver (cannot get online/network) 2. Run command and Folder options are disabled via registry 3. AdobeARMS file mentioned above loads on startup. 4. AdobeARMS.exe file is marked as hidden file directly in common files folder under program files. Adobe ARM may be a valid adobe updater process, however this definately appears to be some kind of virus/malware.

  8. the same night the adobe arm install box came up on my #2 computer it crashed after an attack of epic virus porportions ! the box didnt look legit and i didnt accept the install but i think it was already planted somewhere on my computer. funny thing is on my #1 computer my anti virus caught it first and i denied it before it became an “adobelike” program. * when i say it didnt look legit , the adobe box was lightly colored and the print looked like ascii text. so ~ in my opinion and in this case my abobearm experience was a killer virus !
    still in the process of getting some recovery disks together to try and save it. * never ever had a virus in my nearly 20 years of internet type computing *
    thanks for listening ~ Tom

  9. I’ve just ran Sysinternals ProcessMonitor during boot up and this single exe has generated 125,000 registry queries. No wonder some people are reporting slow logins.
    It runs through every entry under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\ZoneMap\Domains. These entries contain web sites to block, so not sure what Adobe are playing at.

  10. This process appears to be an auto updater. HOWEVER, if you are having constant redirects or you have seen an adobe error such as “A 3D parsing error has occurred” right before a sysguard malware or other episode, you may want to disable this in msconfig/start tab as well as start your virus and malware scans.

  11. This process appears to be an auto updater. HOWEVER, if you are having constant redirects or you have seen an adobe error such as “A 3D parsing error has occurred” right before a Antispyware Soft* malware or other episode, you may want to disable this in msconfig/start tab as well as definitely starting your virus and malware scans.

  12. Found this thread in my hunt for residual side-effects of removing this process:
    Another item you may find interesting: If you add AdobeARM*.exe to a restricted policy in a domain environment you will get even more unpredictable operation.
    User’s will randomly and continually get prompted that ‘This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer’; even when sitting at the desktop. Remove AdobeARM.exe from the restricted programs list and this behavior ends.
    We will have to roll out a registry hack removing AdobeARM.exe from RUN instead. How annoying!

    • I checked out your link. Found a fairly large .pdf dedicated to Acrobate-Reader Updater. Now I have the info I need to remove it from the 2000+ computers in my business environment. AdobeArm executes every time someone logs into the computer. The only good thing it does is to check for and prevent multiple copies of updater from running on the computer. But I don’t need any copies running!

      Thanks for the tip.

  13. @EF: Just tried your link, here’s what the helpful people at Adobe say:
    “Your search of Support for AdobeARM.exe did not match any documents. ”
    This is beyond absurd, Adobe!!

  14. Search the MS link with “AdobeARM” & you will get some answers, but the
    punter responses below are not encouraging to say the least.

  15. It almost feels like Adobe is reluctant to let users disable automatic updates. There’s Adobe_Updater in Common Files; the Adobe Reader preferences; and this AdobeARM.exe which is not obvious (my firewall told me about this update process, even though I’d already disabled the previous two options).

  16. I have just monitored AdobeARM.exe open a connection and download from some random TPG broadband user in Australia (IP It was using BITS and then when I turned off BITS it went direct (chewing up all of my bandwidth on the way). Does Adobe use some kind of P2P for it’s updates? WTF? Seems more like malware to me.

  17. Adobe has always been a leader in the photo and graphics arena, there programs are top of the line and the company USE to be a very professional & reliable entity.

    Lately though with the Adobe elements and Online adobe products thay have gone %100 spyware, they have been spying on me for at least 2 years through the IPV6 backdoors Microsoft introduced in Xp/Sp2 and they constantly insert intrusions that slow down and clog up my operations in multiple applications.

    I just ran into Adobearm.exe, and now I have to chase down yet another spy and pull its teeth, again it went right though the standard fire wall piggy backing on MS windows 7.

    Its simply a pain in the A&^!


  18. Nice little firestorm on this issue! After purchasing a new hard drive and performing a fresh re-install of the OS and applications, I was initially impressed with the performance of this old PC…..until I installed Acrobat Reader X. What a joke. Initial load time increased exponentially AND my wireless network connection was dropping an a regular basis. I just uninstalled Acrobat Reader and re-booted. Incredible difference! I went back to FoxIt Reader….but beware the ASK.COM toolbar! The toolbar CAN be uninstalled from its own toolbar option. PDFs open fine ~AND~ my computer boots quicker ~AND~ no network drops.

    I agree with the above comments…. Adobe just doesn’t get it!

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