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Hobbs: Several options can fix problem of being unable to read pdf files

Q I have Adobe Professional 6.0 installed on my computer to create .pdf files. Recently I have attempted to open .pdf files that were evidently created on a newer version of Acrobat and got an error message that I needed Acrobat Reader 8.0 or 9.0 to open the files.

I downloaded and installed Reader 9.0, but when I attempt to open one of these .pdf files, Adobe 6.0 opens and then gives me the previous error message. This even happens if I first open Reader 9.0 and then click on the .pdf file. What do you think is causing this and how do I correct it?

G. Fotre

A: Your problem is not uncommon. There can be a number of reasons for the issues that you are experiencing.

Some of the most frequently seen are that a necessary file was deleted or that it is a Web browser issue. Since you can’t read files after opening the Adobe reader from your desktop shortcut, this lowers the likelihood of your Web browser being the source of your problem.

I am of course assuming that you saved the pdf file to your computer and then you tried to open it up and were unsuccessful. If I am wrong in my assumptions, then try saving a pdf to your computer and then opening it up.

If my assumptions were correct, then that would explain why you were advised to upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Reader. We can follow the missing or corrupted file premise. If you recently performed some system cleanup and deleted old files, you may have gotten rid of more than you expected. You may want to consider a system restore. If that doesn’t correct the problem then you may want to look at some other options.

If your computer still sees Adobe Reader 6.0 as your default pdf reader, then I would suggest uninstalling all versions of Adobe Reader. This can be done via the control panel. It may also require you to uninstall your version of Adobe Professional.

Once you have uninstalled all of the Adobe reader and creation software on your computer, you can reinstall the Adobe Professional and opt out of the option to install the reader program. If you don’t have this option, you may have to uninstall the Professional software and install the latest version of the Adobe Reader first and then reinstall Adobe Professional. This should set the latest version of Adobe Reader as your default pdf reader.

Other options include using another software program to read your pdf files. For this, you may want to consider a free pdf reader named Foxit. You can download it from download.com or foxitsoftware.com. An alternate option is to read pdfs through a Web browser. There are a few free online pdf viewers. Two of the most popular are pdfmenot.com and pdfescape.com.

Quincey Hobbs is a team member at the University of Arizona’s Center for Computing and Information Technology and an instructor at Pima Community College. Send questions to quinceyresponds @yahoo.com.

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