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Rant : Adobe Acrobat Reader - what a mess

Pete Brown - 15 November 2007

Why can't Adobe Acrobat Reader, arguably one of the most essential pieces of software out there, just play nice with the rest of my systems?

Through several browser versions on three different systems, over several system rebuilds, running three different operating systems (XP Pro, XP Media Center, and Vista), one thing has remained consistent: Acrobat reader has been and continues to be a stability problem.

Acrobat reader hogs up resources on my main XP machine, eventually preventing me from opening any additional windows. I hate tabbed browsing, so I open new web pages in new windows. Once I start killing processes, I always find at least one non-visble IE instance that is hogging memory and resources. One instance, that is, for each process that was hosting an Acrobat Reader control. I also find Adobe Acrobat Reader hanging out in the processes list, and have to kill it too (just killing it doesn't free up the IE process it is hogging)

On all three systems, Acrobat reader is what prevents my machine from restarting correctly. It's always the process that is hanging around, refusing to allow a reboot until I kill it.

This has been the case on all my machines, for years. I've gone through multiple Acrobat Reader updates, and through multiple versions of browsers. It happens on my two PCs (XP Pro and Vista) and my wife's PC (XP Media Center). You'd think after all the updates that Adobe pushes out to this product, they'd fix the problems.

It drives me nuts. It drives my wife nuts. Annoying to say the very least as Adobe has an effective monopoly in this space, so I'm stuck using this POS software.

posted by Pete Brown on Thursday, November 15, 2007
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8 comments for “Rant : Adobe Acrobat Reader - what a mess”

  1. Manoj Negandhisays:
    I've had similar problems , although in my case its a little different since I am using Adobe Acrobat 8. Everytime I start up Acrobat it starts an instance of Acrobat Updater which uses up 100% CPU and cannot be killed . Manage to get around that by changing its 'nice' value to very low .

    I would recommend looking at alternate readers. I use Foxit (http://filehippo.com/download_foxit/) which reminds me of Acrobat reader ver 5 or 6 ( whichever was faster). I use this for viewing PDFs now.
  2. Jordan Knappsays:
    I'm not sure if you are using more than just acrobat reader - however a good alternative is Foxit Reader by www.foxitsoftware.com. A much better user experience by far!

  3. Danielsays:
    I was going to suggest Foxit (which I've heard about but not used) or otherwise grab an older, less hogging Acrobat, and do the optimising thing on it - http://www.geekrant.org/2004/10/25/speed-up-acrobat/
  4. Waltsays:
    I stopped using Adobe reader several years ago as it was completely frustrating and resource intense. Not to mention it takes so long to startup. I switched to Foxit and never looked back. I think you'll like it
  5. Spartacussays:
    Interesting, I don't get any stability issues with Adobe Reader. I see that it has some processes running in background, but so does everything these days, I guess that's the price I pay for wanting more functionality from everything and wanting it to run instantaneously. I've tried Foxit but moved back to the Adobe reader because I need more functionality than Foxit provides, but it's an OK product too.... Hope it works out for ya.

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