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Help! I can't view PDFs on web pages

Fix the issue with Adobe Acrobat and Reader, and Windows 7

A reader wrote to tell us she was having trouble viewing PDFs from web pages. Our Helproom Expert explained how to solve this issue that affects Windows 7 64bit.

QUESTION Whenever I click a link on a web page to view a PDF, I get a message reporting that my version of Adobe Reader is unable to do so. The browser then crashes. I've tried using Apple Safari 5, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. I've also installed the latest versions of Adobe Acrobat Pro and Adobe Reader X. I'm also unable to read or preview PDFs in Outlook, but the error message mentions an issue with the Vista Preview Handler instead. I have a powerful PC running Windows 7 SP1 and an AMD Phenom CPU. Melanie Jones

HELPROOM ANSWER This is a long-standing issue with Windows 7 64bit. Acrobat and Adobe Reader work fine as standalone applications, but often refuse to work when called upon by other applications – such as your web browser.

The problem is sometimes accompanied by an error message regarding the PDF Preview Handler, as you've seen.

This error is said to have been fixed in the latest version of Reader. You say you have the latest version installed, but you may need to download the software from Adobe's site and then search for upgrades within the program to download the latest bug fixes. The same may be true of Acrobat, but we haven't been able to test this.

If this solution doesn't work for you, a third-party fix has been developed specifically to address this issue that has been reported as successful by other users. Download fixes for 64-bit Adobe Reader handler and thumbnails here. More information can be found on the Adobe forums. Also here are details of how to fix the problem manually using the Windows Registry Editor.

However, because this problem should now be fixed in the latest version of Adobe Reader, we recommend uninstalling the software and replacing it with a new version. As we mentioned above, be sure to check for updates from within the program.

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