Resolve the issues when uninstalling Adobe Reader 8.0

 Note: Visit the Adobe Reader Help and Support page for information about top issues.


Adobe recommends that you use the Adobe Reader 8.0 uninstaller in the Add/Remove Programs utility in Windows to remove Adobe Reader 8.0. Occasionally, however, damaged files or a partial installation prevents the Adobe Reader 8.0 uninstaller from working correctly. Or, they could cause the uninstaller to leave files or empty application folders on the system after the removal is performed. You could also notice Adobe Reader 8.0 missing from the Add/Remove Programs list. Or, you could find that the installer only displays the Repair and Remove options when you try to install Adobe Reader 8.0.

Manually removing Adobe Reader 8.0 ensures that all files and folders are removed. These instructions are for removing Adobe Reader 8.0. If you have other/previous versions of Adobe applications installed, then be sure to remove only the files below that relate to Adobe Reader 8.0. These steps also remove any extra content (for example, Goodies or Functional Content) that installed with Adobe Reader 8.0. If you reinstall Adobe Reader 8.0, reinstall its extra content as well.

Note: It's possible that your system doesn't contain all of the files and folders listed in this document. If you do not find a listed file or folder on your system, proceed to the next file or folder on the list.

Before you begin

Some of these procedures require you to locate hidden files and hidden folders. Some procedures require you to locate files by their full filenames, which include extensions (for example, example_filename.ini). By default, Windows Explorer doesn't show hidden files, hidden folders, or filename extensions that 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 Folder Options dialog box.
  3. In Advanced Settings, select Show Hidden Files And Folders.
  4. Deselect Hide Extensions For Known File Types.
  5. Click OK.

View an Adobe Captivate demo of this procedure.

Remove Adobe Reader 8.0 using the uninstaller

The uninstaller is designed to remove everything installed that Adobe Reader 8.0 installs. When you start Adobe Reader 8.0 for the first time, or when you modify the preferences, new folders and files can be created. After you use the uninstaller, proceed to "Remove remaining folders and files for Adobe Reader 8.0." These instructions ensure the complete removal of all additional folders and files.

To use the uninstaller, do the following:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Add/Remove Programs.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • If you installed Adobe Reader 8.0 from the Adobe Reader 8.0 CD/DVD, then select Adobe Reader 8.0 and click Remove. Follow the onscreen instructions to remove Adobe Reader 8.0.
    • If you installed Adobe Reader 8.0 from the Creative Suite CD/DVDs, then select Creative Suite and click Remove. Follow the onscreen instructions to remove the Adobe Reader 8.0 component.

Note: When you run the uninstaller, you are prompted to remove, keep, or transfer activation. If you plan to reinstall Adobe Reader 8.0 on the same machine, consider keeping your activation. However, after you complete the manual removal, it could be necessary to reactivate Adobe Reader 8.0. If you plan to install Adobe Reader 8.0 on a different machine, transfer your activation.

View an Adobe Captivate demo of this procedure.

Prepare the computer to remove Adobe Reader 8.0

Before proceeding with the following steps, Adobe recommends printing the directions. Restarting in Diagnostic or Safe mode typically disables Internet access.

  1. Delete Adobe Reader Speed Launcher.lnk from Documents and Settings/All Users/Start Menu/Programs/Startup.

  2. Enable diagnostic or safe mode for Windows.

Enable diagnostic mode for 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 Services tab. Record all deselected items.

  4. Click the General tab, and choose Diagnostic startup.
  5. Click OK, and restart Windows.

    Note: Upon reboot, you are 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.

  6. 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.

View an Adobe Captivate demo of this procedure.

Re-enable startup items and services for Windows XP

After completing all of the steps in this document, re-enable startup items for Windows XP.

  1. Choose Start > Run.

  2. Type msconfig in the Run dialog box, and click OK.
  3. Click the General tab, and choose Normal Startup.
  4. Deselect any items that you wrote down in Step 3 of the previous section.
  5. Click Apply, and restart Windows for the changes to take effect.

Enable safe mode for Windows 2000

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

  1. Click Start, and then click Shut Down.
  2. Click Restart, and then click OK.
  3. When you see the message Please select the operating system to start, press F8.
  4. Use the arrow keys to highlight the appropriate safe mode option, and then press Enter.
  5. Use the arrow keys to highlight an operating system, and then press Enter.

    See the Microsoft website for additional information about this process.

Re-enable the startup items for Windows 2000

After completing all of the steps in this document, re-enable startup items for Windows 2000.

  1. Restart the computer.

Remove Adobe Reader 8.0 registered files using the command prompt

  1. Acrobat registers a numerous files with the operating system during the installation. These files must be removed in order to successfully remove the application. Registered files can be removed from the operating system with the shell is not running.
  2. Press Control-Alt-Delete and choose Task Manager.
  3. On the Processes tab, select explorer.exe and choose End Process (items on your desktop disappear).

    Important: The Task Manager should remain open during this process

  4. Click Yes in the warning box.
  5. Choose File > New Task.
  6. Under Open, type cmd and click OK.
  7. Minimize the Task Manager.
  8. Type cd "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat\ActiveX" and press Enter.
  9. Type del AcroIEHelper.dll and press Enter.
  10. Type del AcroPDF.dll and press Enter.
  11. Type del pdfshell.dll and press Enter.
  12. Type exit and press Enter.
  13. Maximize the Task Manager.
  14. In Task Manager, choose File > New Task.
  15. Type explorer.exe and click OK. (Your desktop reappears.)

  16. Exit the Task Manager.

View an Adobe Captivate demo of this procedure.

Remove remaining folders and files for Adobe Reader 8.0

Back up any personal files you want to save from the following directories, and then remove the listed folders and files:

Program Files\Adobe\

  • Acrobat 8.0

Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\

  • Acrobat

Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Adobe\

  • Acrobat

Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\

  • Acrobat

Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop\

  • Adobe Reader 8.lnk

Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\

  • Adobe Reader 8.lnk

Program Files\Internet Explorer\PLUGINS\

  • nppdf32.dll

Program Files\Netscape\Netscape Browser\plugins\

  • nppdf32.dll

Remove remaining registry entries for Adobe Reader 8.0

Remove the application registry keys from the registry, if they are available.

Note: It's necessary to log in to the computer as an Administrator to modify your registry.

Disclaimer: This procedure involves editing the Windows registry. Adobe doesn't support editing the registry, which contains critical system and application information. For information on the Windows Registry Editor, see the documentation for Windows or contact Microsoft Technical Support. It's possible, that you don't have all of these files.

Important: Make a backup copy of the registry before you edit it.

  1. Choose Start > Run, and type regedit in the Open text box; click OK.
  2. Navigate to one of the registry keys listed below and select it in the left panel; it appears in the registry editor as a folder.

  3. Choose Edit > Delete. Click Yes in the Confirm Key Delete dialog box.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 as needed for any remaining registry entries.

Remove the following registry entries

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Adobe Reader

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Adobe\Adobe Reader

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Adobe\Repair\Adobe Reader





HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Adobe\Acrobat Reader





HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Low Rights\ElevationPolicy\


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Low Rights\ElevationPolicy\


Complete the removal

Empty your Recycle Bin and restart your computer.

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