Update May 21, 2010: This morning I wanted to open a link in a pdf, and couldn't do it with PDF X-change or Foxit. Since the web is full of "Acrobat is better now," and because the file was created in Acrobat, I decided to try Acrobat Reader 9. Bottom line: This program remains something to stay away from.

The download installs three programs that you neither need or want: Adobe Downloader, McAfee antivirus, and a program whose only function is to create links to adobe. The firefox downloader works fine, thank you very muchm and I don't want adobe's miserable spyware downloader. McAfee is, unfortunately for me, unuseful; use the free Microsoft Security Essentials. The link program is idiotic. Fortunately, all three of these programs uninstall easily from the uninstall programs utility in windows.

Acrobat Reader couldn't open the link either. So I go to uninstall and get the helpful 'This program is in use, please close the program' with a list that contains no programs. I had already closed the helper. Using CCleaner, I found two startup programs installed by Adobe, deleted them and restarted. Same problem. Unlocker found 7 locks on Acrobat Reader DLL files, but it wasn't able to unlock them. (Microsoft Security Essentials tagged Unlocker, downloaded from CNET, as malware, that is another story.) At this point I've spent an hour trying to remove this hideous program.

My next move is to uninstall in safe mode, which prevents all this Adobe garbage from running. However, MS has removed the uninstaller from safe mode (It was there in Win 7 Beta), but there is an easy fix to put it back. Boot in safe mode (press f8 repeatedly and frequently in startup). Open the command prompt (type cmd into the start box in win 7). Type

REG ADD "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Minimal\MSIServer" /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D "Service"

then hit return. Then type

net start msiserver

Then you can open uninstall programs and uninstall normally. Then shut down and restart. Sheesh, Adobe stinks. It is enough to make me sympathetic to Steve Jobs in the flash debate.

January 11, 2007:

Personally, I can't stand Adobe Acrobat.

  • takes forever to load because it loads 20 helper programs, all but four of which are unnecessary.
  • often crashes browsers unaccountably, so frequently that I set pdf files to open outside my browser.
  • Sometimes requires being killed with Windows Task Manager.
  • doesn't embed fonts by default, so that periodically one encounters pages that are illegible.
  • asks for updates incessantly.
  • puts useless toolbars in Word, Excel, and Outlook that require a lot of searching to remove, and reinstall with any update. (I've stuck at Acrobat 6 partly because I'm afraid I won't be able to eliminate these space-robbing additions.)
  • automatically runs a helper program which doesn't seem to speed loading of the main program, so just exactly what does it do?
  • spends way too much time talking to the parent company over my internet connection.

For years, since Acrobat 4, I've viewed it as a necessary evil.

But I have freed myself from Adobe Acrobat, and with freeware to boot! To open pdf files, I use PDF X-VWER. I used to use Foxit, which is fine, even a bit faster than X-VWER, but with fewer features. Both programs load and open a file in two or three seconds. Compared to Acrobat, it is instantaneous! But readers are only part of the story -- I need to be able to manufacter pdf files too, and for that I use PDF Forge Creator. It creates a virtual printer that creates a pdf file. It works at least as well as Acrobat, and has yet create that ominous error "The document failed to print" like Acrobat occasionally does. It can print a google satellite map, which acrobat usually could not do. Xchange can add text and sticky notes, extract sections, and export photos. In addition, there is PDF Split and Merge which gives merging functionality.

January 11, 2007, Revised to add X-Change, Feb 10, 2008.