Troubleshooting Adobe Reader in Internet Explorer

By Tricia Goss

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. PDF files are essentially snapshots of documents and other files, making them viewable on any computer with Adobe Reader. Adobe Reader is a free software program you can use to open, read, search, print, collaborate on and even digitally sign PDF files. It has become the worldwide standard program for PDF files. If you are using Internet Explorer and your version of Adobe Reader is not working correctly, try troubleshooting to fix the issue. Here are some helpful guidelines.

Step 1

Make sure that your computer meets Adobe Reader's minimum system requirements. Your version of Internet Explorer must be 5.5 or higher to install and use Adobe Reader. To find out which version you are using, go to the "Help" menu on the toolbar and click on "About Internet Explorer." If your version is lower than the required one, click on "Windows Update" in your "Start" menu and download the most recent version.

Step 2

Temporarily disconnect your firewall. If Adobe Reader works without the firewall, you will need to configure your firewall software to allow use of Adobe Reader. Every firewall program is different, so you will need to refer to your firewall's manufacturer to find out how.

Step 3

Disable other Startup programs. On the "Start" menu, click "Run," type "msconfig" in the "Open" box and click "OK." Go to the "Startup" tab and deselect all of the programs that are not associated with Adobe. Click "OK" and restart your computer. If Adobe works with the other programs disabled, turn one back on at a time until you find the conflicting program. Contact that program's manufacturer for assistance or an update.

Step 4

Enable Active X controls in Internet Explorer. Click "Internet Options" on the "Tools" menu. Click on the "Security" tab and Click the "Security" tab. Click on "Internet" in the "Zone" section and click "Default Level."

Step 5

Update your version of Adobe Reader if you receive a "Cannot Use Adobe Reader to View PDF" when you try to open a file in Internet Explorer. A link is available in the "Resources" section of this article.

Tips & Warnings

  • If none of these steps work, try uninstalling and reinstalling Adobe Reader.
  • Do not leave your firewall turned off. It protects your computer from viruses and malware.

References & Resources