Disabling Automatic Updates for Office 2008, Apple Software Updates and Adobe CS4

by on January 26, 2009 » Add the first comment.

Over at the Make Mac Work blog, Ellis has a very informative article about how to disable automatic update notifications for Apple Software Update, Microsoft Office 2008 and Adobe CS4.

It’s generally a good idea to do this if your users are not admin’s of their own machines and/or you are centrally managing these updates with a desktop management tool such as Apple Remote Desktop (ARD), LANDesk, JAMF Casper Suite or LANRev. Disabling the notifications can help cut down on call and email volume. Many users will get prompted for updates and want them installed immediately. When we began deploying new machines without giving admin rights, our work load went up and the customers would use it as another reason to object to not being an admin on their machines (which they were in the past).

Disabling updates on the machines we support has been on my hit list for a while now, but I seem to keep putting it off. I’ve disabled updates on some Windows apps such as Adobe Reader and Java recently. We’re a LANDesk shop, but that has not been as reliable at handling Mac updates as I would like. There are times I push updates and it tells me it’s successful when it is not. This may be because of obsure exit codes given by the package installers. So I have been hesitant about disabling automatic updates because many of our users are still admins and take care of some of their own updates.

I haven’t been able to get a good handle on Adobe CS3 and CS4 updates. Adobe does have a option for installing each update silently, but it’s pretty daunting to gather all the possible updaters that could be involved. They don’t provide any “master” updaters that will update everything that is installed for a given suite. You have to push each individual update (ie. Photoshop, Acrobat, Illustrator, etc). We have not standardized on any particular suite because each user can decide which suite they want to buy and we obtain and install it. I wish Adobe had something similar to Apple’s “softwareupdate -i -a” command to update everything. This could have changed with CS4, I haven’t checked yet.

I’m not terribly concerned about disabling Apple software updates because we have a Software Update Server (SUS) and so we decide which updates are approved. Plus, non-admins are not prompted with available updates. Microsoft updates are nice to disable because it is very intrusive and will notify of updates even if no Microsoft apps are running at the time.

Office 2008 updates can also be disabled via MCX, see this Managing Office 2008 post from Greg Neagle’s blog.

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