Windows – Disable Adobe AcroTray.exe from starting at boot

adobe-readeradobe-reader-dccontext menuwindows 10

The problem I am having is that whatever I do or disable I cannot stop AcroTray.exe from Adobe starting at boot and doing… whatever it is that it is doing, until it is stopped manually via task manager:

enter image description here

Naturally I disabled it on "Start-up":

enter image description here

And even set to "stopped" all services that are related with Adobe:

  • AdobeARMService
  • AGSService

Adobe DC, Acrobat Reader X & Creative Cloud are all set to manual or no updates (inside the applications).

I have tried:

  • Deleting the exe – just gets put back silently, like a virus
  • Quarantining the app via virus protection software – This sort of works, but I get a popup at each start up warning that AcroTray.exe has tried to start which is just as frustrating
  • "Locking" the folder via 3rd party app – stops it, but pops up a warning every boot again

I understand that this app does something but I want explicit control of when it does that and I absolutely hate that it ignores being disabled. All the other Adobe helper apps launch when one of the suite of programs is started and that is totally fine, that's what they are supposed to do, but AcroTray seemingly can't be prevented from running at boot and sitting there in the running processes, glowering at me.

Is there anyway to stop AcroTray.exe starting at boot other than uninstalling Adobe DC &/or Acrobat Reader X (that doesn't also replace it starting with some kind of warning or pop up)?

Best Answer

  1. Go to Services.msc (hit Win and write in search services.msc) and run it as Administrator. Here set Adobe Acrobat Update and Adobe Genuine Software Integrity Services to manuall.
  2. From Windows Task Manager → Start-up Tab disable the Adobe related programs.
  3. Download Autoruns utility and disable here also various Adobe related programs like Adobe Updater Startup Utility and Acrobat Assistant (AcroTray) and maybe Adobe Acrobat Synchronizer. But be careful, if you are not sure about something, then leave it be.
  4. Download ShellExView, go to Options and select Show 32-bit Shell Ex extensions. Now disable the Adobe Acrobat Create PDF from Selection, Adobe Acrobat Create PDF Helper and Adobe Acrobat Create PDF Toolbar. Now in Options deselect Show 32-bit Shell Extensions and disable again the above items plus Acrobat Elements Context Menu.
  5. Now Kill the AcroTray.exe from Task Manager. Sign out and Sign in into Windows. Open Task Manager and observe the Task Manager for AcroTray.exe entry. Right Click on some .pdf file (image or office file) on your desktop and you will see that AcroTray is not starting to run anymore in your Task Manager. If this is the case you made it!
  6. Run Task Scheduler, check for Adobe Tasks (if any) and disable them.

Explanation: The first, second and third step disable Adobe related programs from running at Windows OS startup. But AcroTray.exe is invoked by right clicking on files and folders (windows context menu). It is responsible for the Adobe related entries in the context menu. The biggest problem of all is that right clicking is much slower, because AcroTray.exe must be first started.

Now AcroTray.exe won't be starting anymore when right clicking on Files/Folders. But other programs might start AcroTray.exe if there is a dependency. For example if you open Outlook 2013 and navigate to the Tab Adobe PDF and select a item from here it will start AcroTray.exe.

The fourth step: stop invoking AcroTray.exe when right clicking on files SehllExView disable Adobe in context menu