Note: Visit the Adobe Reader Help and Support page for help with top issues.

What's Covered

Beginning troubleshooting

Intermediate troubleshooting

Advanced troubleshooting

This document can help you resolve system errors that occur while you use Adobe Reader on Windows 2000 or XP. System errors can manifest themselves as a blank or flickering dialog box, a frozen cursor or screen, or one of the following errors:

-- A blank or flickering dialog box

-- A frozen cursor or screen

-- A blue screen

-- An unexpected restart

-- An error such as any of the following:

A STOP error

"Fatal System Error."

"Application Error."

"Reader caused a General Protection Fault in module [filename]."

"Reader caused an Invalid Page Fault in module [filename]."

"Reader has encountered a problem and needs to close."

"The instruction at '[memory address]' referenced memory at '[memory address]'. The memory could not be 'read'."

"[filename] has generated errors and will be closed by Windows."

Different factors can cause system errors, including conflicts among device drivers, software, and hardware, and corrupt elements in specific files. Although a system error may occur only when you work with Adobe Reader, Adobe Reader may not necessarily be the cause--it may be the only application that is memory- or processor-intensive enough to expose the problem.

To benefit most from this document, perform the tasks in order. Keep track of the tasks you perform and the results of each, including errors or other problems. Adobe Technical Support can use this information to better assist you, should you need to call.

Beginning troubleshooting

The tasks in this section can help you resolve the most common system errors. Always restart the computer after a system error occurs to refresh its memory. Continuing to work without restarting the computer may compound the problem.

Note: Some of these tasks require you to locate hidden files or folders, or files by their full file names, which include extensions (for example, filename.ini). By default, Windows Explorer doesn't show hidden files, hidden folders, and filename extensions it recognizes.

To show hidden files, hidden folders, and all filename extensions in Windows Explorer:

1. In Windows Explorer, choose Tools > Folder Options.

2. Click the View tab in the Options dialog box.

3. Select Show Hidden Files And Folders.

4. Deselect Hide File Extensions For Known File Types.

5. Click OK.

1. Make sure that the system meets the minimum requirements for Adobe Reader.

Adobe Reader 8 may not run correctly if the system doesn't meet the following requirements:

-- Intel Pentium processor

-- Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Home Edition (Service Pack 1 or 2), Windows 2000 (Service Pack 2), Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Windows Server 2003, or Windows NT (Service Pack 6 or 6a)

-- 128MB of RAM (256MB recommended)

-- Up to 90MB of available hard-disk space

-- Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 (or higher), Netscape 7.1 (or 8.0), Firefox 1.0, or Mozilla 1.7

2. Install the latest version of Adobe Reader.

The latest version of Adobe Reader may be more compatible with your operating system and hardware drivers. Before you install an update or upgrade, make sure that the system meets the requirements.

The free Adobe Reader is available from the Adobe website at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html .

3. Run Adobe Reader while no applications are running in the background.

Some applications that run in the background may cause system errors or freezes when running concurrently with Adobe Reader. You can identify these applications and disable them before starting Adobe Reader. To identify problematic applications that run in the background, remove applications from the Startup folder and close those that are specified in the registry to start automatically.

-- To disable startup items and services (Windows XP):

1. Quit all applications.

2. Choose Start > Run, type msconfig in the Open text box, and click OK.

3. Click the Startup tab and the Services tab. Record all unselected items.

4. Click the General tab, and choose Selective startup.

5. Deselect Load Startup Items. Verify that Process System.ini File, Process WIN.INI File, and Load System Services are checked.

6. Click the Services Tab, and check Hide All Microsoft Services

7. Click Disable All.

8. Click OK, and restart Windows.

9. Right-click icons in the Notification Area (called the System Tray in earlier versions of Windows) to close or disable any startup items that are still active.

Note: Upon reboot, you'll be notified that the System Configuration Utility has made changes to the way that Windows starts up. Click OK, and when the System Configuration Utility appears click Cancel.

Then, try to re-create the problem:

-- If the problem doesn't occur, one of the startup items conflicts with Adobe Reader. Reenable startup items one at a time, testing each time until you determine which item is causing the conflict. Then contact that item's developer for an update, if available.

-- If the problem recurs, startup items aren't the cause and you can reenable startup items and services.

-- To reenable startup items and services (Windows XP):

1. Choose Start > Run, type msconfig, and click OK.

2. Choose Normal Startup on the General tab, click OK, and restart the computer.

Note: You will need to deselect any recorded unselected items after you select Normal Startup.

-- To disabled startup items and processes (Windows 2000):

Note:Windows 2000 does not have the MSConfig utility for disabling start items. You can disable the items manually.

1. Quit all applications.

2. In Windows Explorer, move all icons and shortcuts from the following folders to another folder:

-- Documents and Settings/All Users/Start Menu/Programs/Startup

-- Documents and Settings/[user profile]/Start Menu/Programs/Startup

3. Restart Windows.

4. Right-click the taskbar, and choose Task Manager from the pop-up menu.

Note: The simplest method to shutdown all remaining programs is to disable processes that are not required for the system to run. Without a strong understanding of the Windows 20000 architecture you can typically reduce the number of process down to 19. If the process is not in the required process list, disable the process following the steps below.

5. Click the Processes tab.

6. Select an process, click End Process, choose Yes.

Important: Do not disable the following required processes: wuauclt.exe, WinMgmt.exe, WINLOGON.EXE, TASKMGR.EXE, System Idle Process, System, svchost.exe, spoolsv.exe, SMSS.EXE, SERVICES.EXE, regsvc.exe, mstask.exe, LSASS.EXE, explorer.exe, CSRSS.EXE

Note: You will need to disable these processes every time you need to reboot the computer.

Then, try to re-create the problem:

-- If the problem doesn't recur, then move the icons and shortcuts back to the Startup folder one at a time and restart the computer until you determine which item is causing the conflict. Then contact that item's developer for an update, if available.

-- If the problem recurs, then startup items aren't the cause and you can reenable them.

-- To reenable the startup items when you are finished (Windows 2000): Move the icons and shortcuts back to their respective Startup folders, and restart the computer.

4. Troubleshooting plug-ins conflicts in the Adobe Reader Plug-ins folder.

Determine whether the problem is being cause by plug-ins.

To troubleshoot plug-in conflicts:

1. Start Adobe Reader without any plug-ins running.

a. Double click on the Adobe Reader shortcut on the Desktop.

b. Immediately after double-clicking, press and hold the left Shift key on the keyboard.

-- If the Comments menu item is not present, then close Reader and repeat step 1.

-- If the Comments menu item is present, then proceed to step 2.

2. Attempt to reproduce the error.

-- If the problem goes away, then proceed to step 3.

-- If the problem persists, then proceed to step 5.

3. Close Adobe Reader.

4. Remove third-party plug-ins from the Reader plug-ins folder. The default location for the Reader Plug-ins folder is Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 8.0\Reader\Plug_ins.

5. Start Adobe Reader and attempt to reproduce the error.

-- If the problem does not occur, then proceed to step 8.

-- If the problem recurs, then proceed to step 6. Leave the third party plug-ins out of the Adobe Reader plug-ins folder.

6. Move all remaining plug-ins into a new folder.

7. Restore one Adobe Reader plug-in at a time and attempt to reproduce the error.

-- If the problem recurs, then record the plug-in name, move the plug back to the new folder, and repeat step 6. After you test all of the Adobe Reader plug-ins, proceed to step 9.

-- If the problem does not occur, then repeat step 6 with the next plug-in.

8. Move one third-party plug-in back to the Reader plug-ins folder and attempt to reproduce the error.

-- If the problem doesn't occur, then repeat steps 8 with another third-party plug-in.

-- If the problem recurs, then contact the developer of the plug-in for assistance with there plug-in.

9. Run a detect and repair on Adobe Reader with the corrupted Reader plug-ins removed from the Reader folder.

a. Remove all corrupted plug-ins recorded in step 7 from the Reader plug-ins folder.

b. Choose Start > Control Panel, and double click Add Or Remove Programs.

c. Select Adobe Reader and click Change.

d. When prompted, confirm that you want to repair Reader.

5.Re-create the Adobe Reader preferencesfolder.

Re-create the Adobe Readerpreferences folder to eliminate problems that damaged preferences files might cause.

Note: Color management preferences and other settings will be affected by using this solution. The majority of the Adobe Reader preferences are stored within the registry.

To re-create the Adobe Readerpreferences folder:

1. QuitReader.

2. In Windows Explorer, go to Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Adobe\Acrobat\8.0 folder and move the Preferences folder to another location (for example, C:\Temp).

3. Start Adobe Reader. Adobe Reader creates a new Preferences folder.

If the problem recurs after you re-create the Adobe Reader preferences folder, then the problem isn't related to the Preferences folder. To restore custom settings, drag the file you moved in step 2 back to its original location, and then click Yes to replace the new Preferences folder.

Intermediate troubleshooting

If the tasks in the previous section don't solve the problem, try the following intermediate troubleshooting tasks.

6. Run Detect And Repair while no other applications are running.

1. Quit all applications and restart Windows.

2. Choose Start > Control Panel, and double click Add Or Remove Programs.

3. Select Adobe Reader and click Change.

4. When prompted, confirm that you want to repair Reader.

5. After the repair is complete, restart your computer.

7. Reinstall Adobe Reader in a simplified Windows mode.

Because device drivers can interfere with opening or installing files, restart Windows in a simplified mode to disable the device drivers, and then install Adobe Reader.

1. Disable startup items and services. (See Section 3 of this document for more information.)

2. Reinstall Adobe Reader.

a. Choose Start > Control Panel, and double click Add Or Remove Programs.

b. Select Adobe Reader and click Change.

c. When prompted, confirm that you want to remove Reader.

d. Reboot.

e. Download the appropriate version of Adobe Reader from the Adobe website at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html .

f. Run the downloaded installation file.

g. Verify Adobe Reader is functioning properly before re-enabling startup items.

3. Reenable startup items and services. (See section 3 of this document for more information.)

8. Update the video driver.

Many manufacturers of video display adapters frequently update their software drivers. If you haven't updated the display adapter driver recently, contact the video card manufacturer for an updated driver, or download one from the manufacturer's website. (To determine the manufacturer of the video card, view the card's properties in Device Manager.) You can often determine if the video driver is outdated by changing the color-depth and resolution of the video card or by disabling graphics hardware acceleration.

To change the color-depth and resolution of the video card:

1. Choose Start >Control Panel.

2. Double-click Display, and then click the Settings tab.

3. Change the color-depth using the Color quality menu.

Note: Reader performs optimally at 16bit color. Please increase or decrease the color depth depending on the current setting.

4. Change the resolution using the Screen Resolution slider.

Note: Reader preforms optimally at 800x600. Please increase or decrease the screen resolution depending on the current setting.

5. Click Apply, and then click OK.

6. Restart Windows and Adobe Reader. If the problem no longer occurs, contact the video card manufacturer for an updated driver.

To disable graphics hardware acceleration:

1. Choose Start > Control Panel.

2. Double-click Display, click the Settings tab, and then click Advanced.

3. Click the Troubleshooting tab.

4. Move the Hardware acceleration slider to None.

5. Click OK to accept the new setting, and then click OK to close the Display Properties window.

6. Restart Windows and Adobe Reader.

7. Attempt to reproduce the issue.

-- If the problem no longer occurs, then contact the video card manufacturer for an updated driver.

-- If the recurs, then proceed to the next step, "Verify that device drivers are compatible with Windows."

9. Verify that device drivers are compatible with Windows.

Device drivers are files that allow Windows to communicate with devices such as scanners, video cards, mouse devices, and keyboards. Contact the device manufacturer to make sure that you have the latest driver for it.

To check for device driver problems:

1. Choose Start > Control Panel

2. Double-click System, click the Hardware tab, and then click Device Manager.

3. Click the plus sign (+) to the left of each device type.

4. If a device appears with a black exclamation mark (!) in a yellow circle, right-click that device, and choose Properties from the pop-up menu.

5. Check the properties for the device:

-- Check the Device Status field: If the device isn't working properly, information in this field can help you troubleshoot the problem.

-- If the Properties dialog box has a Driver tab, click it. If the Driver tab doesn't indicate the driver provider, click Driver Details. If Microsoft is the provider, you probably have a generic driver and should obtain the most recent driver provided by the device manufacturer.

10. Install the latest Microsoft Windows update.

Updates to Windows (also called Service Packs) improve its performance and compatibility with other applications. Although each version of Adobe Reader requires a Service Pack (see the system requirements in task 1 of this document), a more recent Service Pack can further improve performance. Service Packs typically include updated device drivers and other updated system components. You can obtain Service Packs from the Microsoft website at www.microsoft.com . For assistance installing a Service Pack, contact Microsoft Technical Support.

If you reinstall an application or Windows after you install the latest Service Pack, then reinstall the Service Pack. Some applications install commonly used system files, overwriting the updated versions installed by the Service Pack.

11. Disable hard disk compression.

Disable hard disk compression, which can interfere when Reader attempts to store and access files and resources. For more information, see the documentation for the compression software, or see the Windows documentation for compression included with Windows.

12.Optimize handling of temporary files by Windows.

Windows and applications store working data in temporary (.tmp) files that they create on the hard disk. Excessive or outdated temporary files can interfere with performance of Windows or applications. Delete temporary files, and make sure that at least 50 MB of free space is available on the hard disk to which temporary files are written.

To make sure that at least 50 MB of free space is available on the hard disk to which temporary files are written:

1. Quit all applications.

2. Choose Start > Control Panel > System.

3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Environment Variables.

4. In the User Variables For [user profile] section, locate TEMP in the Variable column, and note the folder listed in the Value column. If the complete pathname for the folder isn't visible, double-click TEMP in the Variable column, and note the folder name in the Variable Value box.

Note: If a TEMP variable doesn't exist, contact your system administrator for assistance.

5. In Windows Explorer, verify that the folder you noted in step 4 exists on a noncompressed disk partition that has at least 50 MB of free space:

-- If the folder doesn't exist, create it: Right-click the drive, choose New Folder from the menu, and type the folder name you noted in step 4 (for example, Temp).

-- If the disk doesn't have enough free space, then create additional space by removing unnecessary files. To determine the amount of free space, right-click the drive and choose Properties from the menu.

To delete temporary files:

Note: Repeat this procedure periodically. Windows deletes temporary files when Windows and applications close normally. When Windows or an application crashes, however, temporary files can accumulate on the hard disk.

1. Choose Start > Run, and type cmd (Windows XP, 2000) or command (Windows 98) in the Open text box. Click OK.

2. Type the following commands and press Enter after each command:

c:

cd\

cd "C:\Windows\Temp"

Important: Verify that the command prompt reads C:\Windows\Temp before you enter the next command. Initiating this command at other hard drive locations can damage your Operating System. Adobe provides this information as a courtesy only and is not responsible for issues you may encounter if you run this command in an incorrect location.

del *.* /s /q

3. Microsoft Windows will delete all unprotected files from the Windows Temporary directory and then return to a blinking command prompt. When it has return to the blinking command prompt, type the following commands and press Enter after each command:

cd\

cd %temp%

Important: Verify that the command prompt reads C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Temp before you enter the next command. Initiating this command at other hard drive locations can damage your Operating System. Adobe provides this information as a courtesy only and is not responsible for issues you may encounter if you run this command in an incorrect location.

del *.* /s /q

4. Type exit to close the Command.com window.

13.Check for font problems.

To determine whether a font causes the problem, reduce the number of active fonts by moving the font files to another location:

Note: Don't remove the fonts installed by Windows. For details, see the Microsoft website.

1. Create a new folder (for example, C:/TrueType).

2. Navigate to the fonts folder.

-- On Windows XP: Open the Windows/Fonts folder.

-- One Windows 2000: Open the Winnt/Fonts folder.

3. Move font files, excluding those installed by Windows, from the Fonts folder to the folder you created in step 1.

4. Move a few of the fonts from step 3 back to the Winnt/Fonts folder.

5. Start Adobe Reader, and try to re-create the problem:

-- If the problem recurs, then one of the fonts you moved in step 4 may be the cause. Remove those fonts from the Fonts folder, and repeat steps 4-6, this time adding only one font at a time. When the problem recurs, remove the fonts using a font utility, remove the font and reinstall it from the original media, or contact the font manufacturer to obtain an updated version of the font.

-- If the problem doesn't occur, then repeat steps 4-5 and test different fonts.

14.Run Adobe Readerin a different user account.

Create a new user account that has the same permissions as the account you use when the problem occurs. If the problem doesn't recur, then the original user account may be damaged. For information on setting up a user account, see the Windows 2000 or Windows XP documentation or contact your network administrator.

15.Repair and defragment hard disks.

System errors can occur if hard disks contain damaged sectors or fragmented files. Repair and defragment hard disks using either the Error-checking tool and Disk Defragmenter utility included with Windows or a third-party disk utility such as Symantec Norton Utilities. You should run such utilities on each hard disk or partition.

The Error-checking tool repairs bad sectors, lost allocation units and file fragments, cross-linked files, and invalid file names. To access the Error-checking tool, double-click My Computer, right-click the desired hard disk, and choose Properties from the pop-up menu; in the Local Disk Properties dialog box, click the Tools tab, and then click Check Now in the Error-checking section.

Disk Defragmenter rearranges the files and free space on the computer so files are stored in contiguous units and free space is consolidated in one contiguous block. To access the Disk Defragmenter utility, choose Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.

For more information about a third-party disk utility, refer to the utility's documentation.

16. Scan the system for viruses.

Use current anti-virus software, such as Norton AntiVirus or McAfee VirusScan, to check the system for viruses. Virus infections can damage software and cause system errors. For more information, see the documentation for the anti-virus software.

17. View the System Log to identify software conflicts.

When starting, Windows adds entries to the System Log, which contains information about applications, security settings, and system information. You can view the System Log to identify software conflicts. If you identify a software conflict, reinstall or update the software.

To view the System Log:

1. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel, and double-click Administrative Tools.

2. Double-click Event Viewer, select System Log in the Event Viewer window, and note the following:

-- A white "x" in a red circle indicates that a service or driver is stopped (that is, it didn't start or load).

-- A black exclamation point in a yellow triangle warns of a possible future problem, such as low disk space.

Note: You can ignore warnings that indicate a new printer driver was installed.

3. For more information about an entry, right-click it, choose Properties from the pop-up menu, and read the Description section. If you can't determine which events are related to the problem, then re-create the System Log:

a. Open Event Viewer, right-click the System Log, and choose Clear All Events from the pop-up menu. To save the current System Log, click Yes when Windows returns the message "Do you want to save 'System Log' before clearing it?"

b. Close Event Viewer, and try to re-create the problem.

c. After the problem recurs, open Event Viewer and view the System Log.

4. Note the description, source, and EventID, and search for a solution to the error on the Microsoft website at http://support.microsoft.com , or contact Microsoft or the hardware vendor for assistance.

18. Identify the file or application that causes the problem.

If an error indicates which application causes the problem, reinstall the application. If a file is damaged and causes problems in Adobe Reader, reinstalling the application can correct the problem. If an error indicates a Windows file, reinstall Windows over itself. If the problem persists, proceed to the next task.

Advanced troubleshooting

If the tasks in the previous section didn't resolve the problem, then hardware may be conflicting with Adobe Reader.

Disclaimer: Adobe doesn't support hardware and provides these tasks as a courtesy only. For further assistance, contact the hardware manufacturer or an authorized reseller. If you troubleshoot hardware problems yourself, you may void the warranty for your computer.

Note: Before you remove or rearrange hardware, turn off the power to the computer and any peripherals.

19. Reformat the hard disk, and reinstall only Windows and Reader.

Reformat the hard disk, and then install only Windows and Reader from the original installation media. Reformatting a disk erases all files it contains, so be sure to back up all personal files first. Also make sure that you have all application and system disks.

Note: Don't install additional software or hardware until you're sure that the problem is resolved. Don't back up the hard disk and restore Windows and Reader instead of reinstalling them; if the problem is caused by an application or Windows, and either is restored instead of reinstalled, the problem may recur.

After you reformat the hard disk and reinstall Windows, try to re-create the problem:

-- If the problem no longer occurs, then install other applications one at a time and try to re-create the problem after each installation. If the problem occurs after an installation, then the recently installed application may be the cause.

-- If the problem occurs when only Windows and Reader are installed, then the cause is hardware-related, and you should contact the hardware manufacturer or an authorized reseller for assistance. Before contacting the manufacturer or reseller, however, you may want to try one or more tasks in the following section.

20.Check for problems with RAM SIMMs or DIMMs.

Ensure that the RAM SIMMs or DIMMs are installed properly and aren't the cause by doing one or more of the following:

-- Change the order of the installed SIMMs or DIMMs.

-- Remove all but the minimum number of SIMMs or DIMMs needed to run Windows and Reader, and test to see if the problem persists. If it does, then replace the SIMMs or DIMMs you removed and remove the others, testing again to see if the problem persists. If the problem doesn't recur, then one or more of the removed SIMMs or DIMMs are the cause. For assistance, contact the RAM SIMM or DIMM manufacturer.

Additional Information

333213 : Troubleshooting system errors or freezes in Acrobat (8.x on Windows 2000 and XP)

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