Find Your Adobe Acrobat Serial Number

On our network, we have quite a few computers that have Adobe Acrobat Standard installed on them. Unfortunately, we don’t know which ones match what serial numbers. So I set out to find out how.

First, you would think you could find it in the registry. This may have been possible with older versions, but with 9.0+ (and possibly lower, I just haven’t checked), it is not saved in the registry.

There is a software product called Recover Keys that will do this for you, but it needs to be purchased and their demo will not show the entire key. This program will even search the whole network for you, but at a much higher cost. So I set out to find out HOW this program found the serial number. Using ProcMon, I discovered that it searched all over the registry, then it started to search Adobe folders. It came across this file:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\Adobe PCD\cache\cache.db

omit the (x86) for 32-bit

It turns out that this file is a SQLite database. Using an SQLite browser, sure enough, there was my serial number. Here is how to find the serial:

SELECT value FROM domain_data WHERE key = 'LineCU 4';

It should spit out your serial number. Using these two steps, it should be possible to write a program that finds the cache.db folder on the computer then reads the value out of. I will be investigating doing this on our network programmaticly.

I checked this against Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro, and it was the same. However, on Adobe Acrobat 8 Standard, the key is different. Here it is:

SELECT value FROM domain_data WHERE key = 'EPIC_SERIAL';

I hope this helps you. I may be designing an application that you can point at a computer name and it returns the serial. I’ll post it up here if I do.

23 comments

    • Ruben,

      I just noticed that a couple of days ago. I think it is missing the last four numbers. I need to find my original key or do a new install and see where they put those four, or if it requires math to calculate it. I’ll update and let you know what I find out.

  1. I found this on another website – havent had a chance to test if its encrypted or not yet but it did give me a 24 digit number.
    When I ran the query above it didnt return anything on a computer with Acrobat X Standard

    select * from domain_data where key=’SN';

    This serial number is similiar to how it was stored in the registry in prior versions and will need to be converted to the actual displayed number.

    • Do you know how to convert the 24-digit serial number so that it shows the actual number? I have the boxes with the serial numbers listed, but am not sure which computer each has been installed on. Thanks!

  2. Geoff, I will try it on mine also. I am going to be installing a copy on a virtual machine early next week and will test it again. I will try your method also.

  3. Great find, sir. I’m curious to know if were able to find out the problem of the last four characters to the Serial Number. I just ran the query on my machine and it also returned only 20 characters.

  4. For anyone on version X use the query for SN listed above for Acrobat X and you get a “random” string of numbers you can go to the website below to decrypt.
    http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~sag47/adobe/
    If you look at the code for that website (in adobe.js) it is a simple number substitution.I downloaded a copy of the index.html and adobe.js files just incase the website goes offline.

    • This totally worked. I verified it with several serial numbers. I’m thankful someone took the time to hack out the algorithm to decode the value you can easily locate in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\software\Wow6432Node\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\9.0

      Awesome resource. Saved.

  5. I found an SQLite Datebase Browser that pulls all of the information from the cache.db file and makes it easily readable. The browser can be found here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/sqlitebrowser/. Once you open the db file, you can goto browse data and the table you want to select is domain_data. The line you are looking for has the key of SN and the value will be your key.

  6. I tried this solution and was not able to see the final 4 characters of the key.. I little more searching led me to the Belarc System Advisor, a free utility that produces an pretty awesome report on the health and welfare of the PC; including the FULL key for Adobe. I’ve run it on a few different machines with different versions of Acrobat, and it works well.

  7. Just chiming in here — ran into the same stuff as everyone else — no last 4 digits. But the Belarc System Advisor did in fact correctly recover the key in question.

  8. For anyone on version X use the query for SN listed above for Acrobat X and you get a “random” string of numbers you can go to the website below to decrypt. http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~sag47/adobe/
    If you look at the code for that website (in adobe.js) it is a simple number substitution.I downloaded a copy of the index.html and adobe.js files just incase the website goes offline.

    This works for adobe 6, 9, and X. Thanks Ryan!

    • Hi,

      Sorry, I’m late on this trhread but what about Acrobat XI? I try to retrieve the Adobe Acrobat XI Pro serial using the SQLLite DB Browser method and I can see nothing when I open the cache.db file.
      Anyone has the same problem?
      Thanks for your feedback guys.

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