Can't get Adobe to install and be default program

IF I had any hair I'd tear it out. I have tried to get Adobe Reader X to install fully on my new Windows 7 setup.
I have uninstalled and re-installed more than once.
I have used a utility to take ownership of all the files I can find. Despite this, I can only get the program to open in a way that I have to explicitly ask for the file I want to read. And every time I run it, it asks for permission to update.
I can't get it to set Adobe as the default for pdf files. The Adobe program does not appear in the list of available programs to be associated. If I go in through browse and select acrord32.exe as the program, it ignores me - does absolutely nothing.
I have been liking Windows 7 in other ways, but this ownership
and security process is complete bollocks - seems like a clumsy way to address the various security vulnerabilities.
I am not daring to install some other programs until I understand how this process works reliably. Any help much appreciated
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More about adobe install default program
  1. Are you the administrator on this computer?
  2. Yes I am the administrator, the only user account and in addition have been running all exe's as administrator.
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