For most Windows users, Adobe Acrobat is the PDF viewer of choice. It's easy to use, a great tool for creating PDFs, and you can edit, print, and share your collection with others.
However, the software sometimes behaves like any other app, so a variety of problems can arise while using it. A common problem occurs when Adobe Acrobat Reader DC fails to open PDF files. Hence, here are six fixes you can try to resolve Adobe Acrobat Reader DC failing to open PDF files.
Before implementing any of the fixes, make sure that the problem is not unique to one PDF file. Check every other file in the software. If all the other files are working just fine, download the PDF again or get it from the source you got it from earlier.
If you cannot open any of the PDF files, you can proceed with the following fixes.
1. Run Adobe Acrobat as an administrator
When you run an app as an administrator, it has full access to all files on your operating system that would otherwise be restricted. Therefore, you should first try to run Adobe Acrobat Reader as an administrator. If Windows is preventing Adobe from opening PDF files due to missing or corrupted permissions, running as administrator will resolve the issue.
You can run Adobe Acrobat as an administrator by simply left-clicking the icon and tapping Execute as administrator.
Now, if the software works fine and opens PDFs normally, you should make this setting the default for Adobe Acrobat. Follow these steps to configure Adobe to run as administrator by default:
Right click on the Adobe shortcut and go to Properties.
Navigate to the Link tab in the properties window.
Tap on Progressive.
Check the box for Execute as administrator and hit OK.
Note: Granting administrative rights to programs that are not supported by trusted sources can be dangerous. Always pay attention to which programs you are granting administrator rights.
2. Run Adobe Acrobat in compatibility mode
Windows compatibility mode allows older versions of Windows to be used as the operating system. Some programs may work better with an older version of Windows than with an updated one.
If you're using a version of Adobe that isn't compatible with the current version of Windows, run it in compatibility mode. To do this, proceed as follows:
Right click on the Adobe Acrobat shortcut and go to Properties.
Navigate to the Compatibility tab in the properties window.
Check the box for Compatibility mode.
Select any older version of Windows from the options available.
Tap on Use and hit OK.
If compatibility was the problem, Adobe PDF would open as normal. If not, make sure to turn off compatibility mode before implementing the rest of the fixes on this list.
3. Disable Protected Mode
Protected mode is a security feature introduced in Reader 10.0 that protects users from viruses and attacks. This is a good thing for your safety, but sometimes files are mistakenly interpreted as malicious and not opened properly.
Hence, you can try temporarily disabling this mode to see if it is preventing the software from opening PDFs. This is how it works:
Press Profit + r to open the Run command.
Type Regedit and tap Enter to open the registry editor.
Paste the following address into the registry editor.
Computer HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Policies Adobe Adobe Acrobat DC FeatureLockDown
Right click and navigate to New> DWORD value.
Rename the file to "bProtectedMode."
Right click the file and tap Change.
Change Data value to 0 to disable Protected Mode.
Run the PDF again with Protected Mode turned off. If everything works fine this time, leave Protected Mode off instead of having to toggle it on and off multiple times throughout the day. This, of course, puts your safety at risk, so it's up to you to decide whether it's worth staying away from!
4. Repair / update Adobe Acrobat Reader DC
In the presence of potentially unwanted programs, some files can be corrupted by software and apps. Corrupted files cause Adobe Acrobat to malfunction. The most common problems are improper file saving, crash issues, and software not loading all PDFs properly.
To make sure this isn't a problem, repair Adobe Acrobat once. This will repair any damaged files and reinstall any missing files. To repair Adobe Acrobat, do the following:
Open Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.
Navigate to the Help tab.
Tap on Repair the installation.
If the problem persists after the software is repaired, check for available updates. An outdated version of Adobe Acrobat can also cause such a problem.
To do this, open Adobe Acrobat and navigate to Help> Check for Updates. Adobe takes some time to check for updates and you can update to the latest version if it is available.
If none of the fixes work, you can reinstall the software.
5. Reinstall the software
Before reinstalling the software, please uninstall the software and delete any related system files that may still be on your computer.
To do this, go to Control Panel> Programs and Features. Once you find Adobe Acrobat DC, right click on it and select Uninstall.
Remove the related system files by going to the address below on your computer and deleting each file.
C: Users AppData Local Adobe Acrobat
Next, you'll need to reinstall the latest version of Adobe from the Adobe website.
Consider upgrading to the older version of Adobe Acrobat if you continue to have problems after reinstalling.
6. Roll back to an older version of Adobe Acrobat
When a new version of software comes out, it often brings with it tons of unexpected problems. You can always revert to an older version of Adobe that will not work properly after an update. But before you do that, make sure you uninstall it properly.
After you've uninstalled Acrobat, it's time to download an older version to see if that fixes the problem. Adobe can reset your copy of Acrobat, and you can use third-party websites that host some older files. Before downloading, however, make sure the source is legitimate.
Open PDF with ease in Adobe Acrobat
If nothing worked, you can turn off all background processing, update Windows or roll back to an older version, and run a security scan to make sure there aren't any viruses. Even if these options don't work, you can try another PDF reader.
While there are plenty of other Adobe Acrobat alternatives, PDFescape is a trending one that you should definitely check out!
Are Free PDF Editors Good Enough? Adobe Acrobat Pro DC vs. PDFescape
PDF editors are indispensable for modern work. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC or PDFescape are the best, but which is better?
About the author
(61 published articles)
Shan Abdul is a mechanical engineering graduate. After completing his training, he started his career as a freelance writer. He writes about using various tools and software to help people be more productive as a student or a professional. In his spare time, he likes to watch YouTube videos on the subject of productivity.
From Shan Abdul
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