Archives: 'Uncategorized'

AcroRd32.exe keeps loading or crashing when I single click a PDF file

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

I’ve been having an issue on my aging Windows XP dev box (yes, I know I should be upgrading to Windows 7, 8 or 10, but with some old legacy systems sometimes that isn’t possible).  Sometimes when I single click on a PDF file I’m presented with a dialog box stating that Acrobat Reader has crashed.  Because I have development tools on there I’m also prompted to open a debugger.  Which is a pain.

While watching in Task Manager I found that simply clicking the PDF file once was enough to launch two instances of AcroRd32.exe which, usually, go away after a short while, or sometimes crash.

The reason for this is that Adobe Reader installs what is called a Shell Handler into Windows (

When you click a PDF file the Windows shell looks at the handler for that file type and then the shell handler does something (e.g. updates a thumbnail or adds custom columns to the details view in Windows Explorer). If you use a tool such as ShellExView from Nirsoft ( you can look at all the shell handlers installed on your PC (both 32 and 64 bit versions are available).


If you’re having problems when you click PDF files or simply don’t want AcroRd32.exe to load each and every time you click a PDF then just load the ShellExView program and look for “PDF Shell Extension” in the “Extension Name” column. There should be about 2 occurrences. Right click on one of them (it doesn’t matter which) and choose “Disable Selected Items”. BOTH items will be disabled.

Just remember that you’ll also lose thumbnail previews of your PDF files as this shell extension does both thumbnails and custom column info in Windows Explorer.

Also, re-installing or updating Adobe Reader is likely to reset this back to “enabled”.

Use the same tool to enable or disable the shell extensions as required. Enabling one will enable both.

Another option is to install a different PDF reader application.  There are a few free applications available that do everything Adobe Reader can do and sometimes more:

Foxit Reader (

Nuance PDF Reader (

Nitro PDF Reader (

Sumatra (

Ken Grimwood – Replay

Friday, May 19th, 2006

I’ve just finished reading a fantastic book, ‘Replay’, by Ken Grimwood. The book was the winner of the World Fantasy Award in 1988 and the copy I picked up is part of the Orion Books/Gollancz series called “Fantasy Masterworks“. The text on the back of the book reads:

Jeff Winston was forty-three and trapped in a tepid marriage and a dead-end job, waiting for that time when he could be truly happy, when he died.

And then he woke up and he was eighteen, with all his memories of the next twenty-five years intact. He could live his life again, avoiding the mistakes, making money from his knowledge of the future, seeking happiness. Until he dies at forty-three and wakes up back in college again…

Replay is a brilliant speculation on time and life, warm, wise and deeply satisfying.

I have to say I agree with that last part, ‘Replay’ has held me enthralled for the last two days and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

There is more about the author on Wikipedia and a Ken Grimwood tribute/rememberance website here.

Hello world!

Saturday, April 29th, 2006

Hello everyone! From tiny acorns do mighty oaks grow, so the saying goes. I suppose I have to start somewhere with this site.