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Help for Windows PDF and other Viewers

Last Updated: Friday, 09-Jan-2015 12:32:52 PST

Why Avoid Flash even with Internet Explorer?

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Adobe Reader and Several Better Free PDF Viewers

These PDF viewers are free and will not screw up or slow down your computer. You can have as many PDF viewers, on your computer, as you want, without causing any problems.

You probably have the free Adobe Reader 5.0 or higher  (released in May 2001) that came with your computer, which I tested version 5.05 successfully with all the types of PDFs  on my website and the looked and worked fine. Adobe Reader is likely not the best choice for viewing PDFs due to its security problems, poor performance, and instability, while offering little extra compatibility. There are 3 better options below.

All types of my PDFs were successfully tested with the free Foxit Reader, version 2.3 and they look and work fine with it. Foxit Reader is a much simpler viewer, that is faster to use, and is a much smaller download. It is free for personal use. This software should allow you to view almost any PDF that you find on the Internet, like via the web or via e-mail, without any problems with compatibility.

Sumatra is a free and open source PDF viewer based on Xpdf, which is also faster to use and a smaller download. I have successfully tested my types of PDFs with Sumatra version 1.1 and they look and work fine. There is also a newer free, open source PDF viewer for Windows which is called MuPDF and it also has a version for iPhone/iPad. I have not had a chance to test this one yet. Google Chrome now has a simple built in PDF reader, and it works with all my PDFs, as well. This software should allow you to view almost any PDF that you find on the Internet, like via the web or via e-mail, without any problems with compatibility.

Sumatra and MuPDF are free and open source so you can be sure they have no viruses or spyware. Foxit Reader should be fine as well, even though it comes from a small company.

Adobe's free Reader, Adobe's free Flash Player, Apple's free Quicktime/iTunes, and Google's free Chrome are done by very well known, reputable companies and will not contain any viruses or spyware.

Check to see if you have Adobe Reader

For Windows users, most brand name PCs that came with Windows XP and higher already have a new enough version of Adobe Reader already installed on your computer.

To see if you have Adobe Reader installed, check under the Start menu and look for a sub menu labelled Adobe or an icon that says Adobe Reader. You may have to click on little black arrows to expand your Start menu to show it. Another way to tell if you have Adobe Reader installed, is to enter about:plugins in your web browser address bar and then hit enter and if you scroll down you will see the words Adobe Reader if it is installed. 

You can also see if it is installed by clicking on one of my linked files that ends in .pdf and if you see text rather than some garbled computer code, then you have it installed. To see the version number of Adobe Reader, locate it in the start menu, click on it and then choose about from the help menu and you should see the version number.

This software is tested and supported on Windows as well as other systems and shouldn't create any problems for you on your computer other than the problems and limitations normally associated with Windows. I do not recommend upgrading on my account if you have a version 5.0 or higher of Adobe Reader.

Solving Windows Specific Application Installation Problems

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