How to remove the Adobe Acrobat Update service after uninstalling Acrobat Reader

For reasons unknown to me, Adobe leaves their Adobe Update Service installed and running after you have uninstalled Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. The issue is that the Adobe Update Service seems to hog resources when the program the updater is supposed to update has been uninstalled. As a result it can start to slow down your system and system start-up time. The following guide will show you how to completely remove the Acrobat Update Service.

The Adobe Acrobat Update service has no practically measurable impact on system performance when it’s working as it should. However, if you uninstall Adobe Acrobat Reader, the service will report high I/O usage when you login to Windows.

I assume you have uninstalled Acrobat Reader DC to remove this piece of **** from your system with its security vulnerabilities. Therefore you have no use for the update services.

If you haven’t done so already: remove Acrobat Reader DC from Apps and Programs in Windows’ Control Panel: Uninstall a program etc.

Removing Adobe Update Service

  • Open Administrative Power Shell (Search for PowerShell in the StartMenu) and right-click: “Run as Administrator” / Alternatively, you can also use and administrative command prompt
  • Disable and delete the Adobe Update Service
sc.exe stop AdobeARMservice 
sc.exe delete AdobeARMservice
  • Delete the remaining files from the Adobe Update Service
del "%PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\Common Files\Adobe\ARM\"

I am curious to why Adobe left the service installed after the removal of Acrobat Reader. I assume it’s possible that Adobe decided to leave it installed in case you would change your mind and reinstall the Acrobat Reader later. However, this doesn’t really make any sense since the service would be reinstalled and overwritten on the reinstallation of Acrobat Reader.

Apart from that, other Adobe software all use their own updater services so this appears to be a bug in the install / uninstall routine. I’ve reported this issue to Adobe but haven’t heard back from tham. This howto should help you to get rid of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC completely.