From what I get from your post is that you have a manually installed Adobe Reader 9.x.x on your system (i.e. not installed via GPO deployment mechanism but installed using a sysprep image). Now you want to be sure about the process of updating this to the latest released Reader 9.3.4 via a GPO package.
Please let me know if I have understood your query correctly.
I also want to make sure I know what the update process will be after we deploy via a GPO. Are there normally MSP files for minor updates, 9.3.x and full MSI's for 9.x or 10?
Thanks for confirming my understanding.
The process that you are following is not the most best process for enterprise deployment, since Adobe recommends that you install a GPO on a clean machine and hence, your setup does not work properly with a previous manual/sysprepped install.
If you plan to use GPO for enterprise deployment, its better to manage the whole enterprise installations via GPO alone and not incorporate any manual install or likewise inbetween.
If you want to push the MSP to an already installed version of Reader 9.3.3, it would be very convenient for you to use SMS to push the MSP. The following link would help you out in this regard.
If you still want to use a GPO for your update, you can try uninstalling Adobe Reader from the client systems (can be achieved by using a startup script while creating a new GPO and then achieving the uninstall successfully). Once the uninstall operation completes, you can then deploy a fresh GPO package for Reader 9.3.4. Going forth you would just have to delink this GPO and link a fresh GPO for further updates.
As far as your next question goes, you are absolutely correct i.e. monor updates like 9.x.x are released as MSPs while any major update is released as an MSI. If you plan to use an SMS deployment mechanism you can easily deploy all kind of updates easily without having to uninstall the previous installation on your client systems.
Hope this helps.
We do not use SMS so that is out of the realm of possibilities. If I slipstream the msp into the MSI, do I need to slipstream each version or can I just slipstream the lastest 9.3.4 with 9.3.0?
Any idea if installing the GPO slipstreamed msi over a locally installed version will uninstall the locally installed ver even if it goes back to 8.x? Sending out a script can take a while to reach all the computers since they might not be restarted for a while.
I am assuming that by slipstreaming you mean creating an AIP for the product.
Coming back to your question; If you slipstream an MSP into the MSI, then you have to slipstream all the patches i.e. 9.3.2, 9.3.3 and 9.3.4. (Since all the patches are incremental patches, and can only be applied one after the other)
Well, the answer to the last question would be a No.The deployed GPO will try and reinstall Adobe Reader 9.3.4 using the command:
msiexec /i <path to msi> REINSTALL=ALL REINSTALLMODE=vomus
This command won't give correct results all the time (and should be avoided) and many files may be left unpatched.
That's why installing the first instance of the software via GPO (i.e. Reader 9.3.0) is recommended, since delinking the GPO can achieve the uninstallation needed, while linking a new GPO for the latest released version (Reader 9.3.4) will install the same perfectly without any hassle.
Uninstalling Adobe Reader from all the client machines seems to be the only solution in order to be able to switch to GPO deployment completely. You can do that either manually () or use an uninstallation script.
Hope this answers your query.