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Troubleshoot system errors or freezes (Acrobat 7.0, Acrobat 3D on Windows XP)

What's covered

Beginning troubleshooting

Intermediate troubleshooting

Advanced troubleshooting

This document can help you resolve system errors that occur while you use Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional on Windows XP. System errors can manifest themselves in many different ways, including (but not limited to) the following:

-- A blank or flickering dialog box

-- A frozen cursor or screen

-- A blue screen

-- An unexpected restart

-- An error such as any of the following:

A STOP error

"Fatal System Error."

"Application Error."

"Acrobat caused a General Protection Fault in module [file name]."

"Acrobat caused an Invalid Page Fault in module [file name]."

"Acrobat has encountered a problem and needs to close."

"An error has been detected with required application library and the product cannot continue. Please reinstall the application."

Different factors can cause system errors, including conflicts among device drivers, software, and hardware, and corrupt elements in specific files. Although a system error may occur only when you work with Acrobat, Acrobat may not necessarily be the cause--it may be the only application that is memory- or processor-intensive enough to expose the problem.

To benefit most from this document, perform the tasks in order. Keep track of the tasks you perform and the results of each, including errors or other problems. Adobe Technical Support can use this information to better assist you, should you need to call.

Note: The procedures in this document are based on the default interface of Windows XP. If the interface is customized, some procedures will vary.

If the problems are specific to printing, see document 330714 , "Troubleshoot printing problems (Acrobat 7.0 on Windows)" or document 316508 , "Troubleshoot printing problems (Acrobat 5.0-7.0 on Windows)."

Beginning troubleshooting

The tasks in this section can help you resolve the most common system errors. Before performing any of these tasks, back up all personal files (for example, PDF files you created). Always restart the computer after a system error occurs to refresh its memory. Continuing to work without restarting the computer may compound the problem.

Note: Some of these tasks require you to locate files by their full file names, which include extensions (for example, filename.ini). By default, Windows Explorer hides file name extensions it recognizes.

1. To display all file name extensions in Windows Explorer:

2. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel > Folder Options.

3. Click the View tab in the Folder Options dialog box.

4. Select Show Hidden Files And Folders.

5. Deselect Hide File Extensions For Known File Types, and then click OK.

1. Make sure that the system meets the minimum requirements for Acrobat.

Acrobat may not run correctly if the system doesn't meet the following requirements:

-- Intel Pentium-class processor

-- Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Home Edition with Service Pack 1 or 2, or Tablet PC Edition, or Windows 2000 with Service Pack 2

-- 128 MB of RAM (256 MB recommended)

-- 460 MB (Professional) or 360 MB (Standard) of available hard-disk space; optional installation files cache (recommended) requires an additional 300 MB of available hard-disk space.

-- 1024 x 768 (Professional) or 800 x 600 (Standard) screen resolution

-- CD-ROM drive, if installing from a CD

-- Internet Explorer 5.5 or later

To check how much RAM is installed, choose Start > Settings>Control Panel, and double-click System. The amount of RAM appears on the lower half of the General panel in the System Properties window.

2. Remove all previous versions of Acrobat and Adobe Reader, and then repair the application.

1. Choose Start > Run, type appwiz.cpl in the Open text box, and then click OK to open the Add Or Remove Programs dialog box.

2. Select Acrobat or Adobe Reader and click Remove.

3. When prompted, confirm that you want to remove the selected application.

4. Repeat the above procedure for all installed previous versions of Acrobat and Adobe Reader. Starting with the newest version and working towards the oldest.

5. Restart the computer.

6. Choose Start > Run, type appwiz.cpl in the Open text box, and then click OK to open the Add Or Remove Programs dialog box.

7. Select Acrobat or Adobe Reader and click Change.

8. When prompted, confirm that you want to repair the selected application.

3. Install the latest version of Acrobat.

The latest version of Acrobat may be more compatible with the operating system and drivers. Before you install an update or upgrade, make sure that the system meets the requirements.

The free Acrobat 7.0. 8 update is available from the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/downloads, or by choosing Help > Check For Updates Now. An upgrade, however, may solve a wider range of problems. (You may prefer to try the tasks in the rest of this document before upgrading.) You can purchase upgrades from Adobe Authorized Resellers and from Adobe directly:

-- To locate an Authorized Reseller, visit the Adobe website at http://partners.adobe.com/resellerfinder/na/findreseller.jsp and choose your country or region from the pop-up menu at the top of the page, or call Customer Services at 800-833-6687 (U.S. and Canada only).

-- To purchase an upgrade from Adobe, visit the Adobe Store at http://store.adobe.com/store and choose your country or region from the pop-up menu at the top of the page, or call Customer Services at 800-833-6687 (U.S. and Canada only).

4. Install current Windows service packs and other updates.

Updates to the Windows operating system improve its performance and compatibility with applications. You can obtain Windows service packs and other updates from the Microsoft website at www.windowsupdate.com . For assistance installing service packs and other updates, contact Microsoft technical support.

If you've reinstalled an application or the Windows operating system after installing the latest Windows update, reinstall the update. Some applications install commonly used system files, overwriting the updated versions installed by the Windows update.

5. Re-create the Acrobat preferences folder.

Re-create the Acrobat preferences folder to eliminate problems that damaged preferences might cause.

Note: Custom settings for Collaboration, JavaScripts, Organizer, Security, Stamps, Color Management, Auto Fill, Web Capture and Updater will be affected by using this solution.

To re-create the Acrobat Preferences folder:

1. Quit Acrobat.

2. In Windows Explorer, go to Documents and Settings\ [username] \Application Data Adobe\Acrobat\7.0 folder and move the Preferences folder to another location (for example, C:\Temp).

3. Start Acrobat. Acrobat creates a new Preferences folder.

If the problem recurs after you re-create the Acrobat Preferences folder, the problem isn't related to the Preferences folder. To restore custom settings, drag the file you moved in step 2 back to its original location, and then click Yes to replace the new Preferences folder.

6. Run Acrobat while no other applications are running.

Some applications may cause problems when running concurrently with Acrobat. Before starting Acrobat, disable other applications, including startup items (items that start automatically with Windows).

To disable startup items:

1. Quit all applications.

2. Choose Start > Run, type msconfig in the Open text box, and click OK.

3. Click the Startup tab, and select Disable All.

4. Deselect any startup items that are essential for testing the problem. (For example, Acrotray.exe is required for making Adobe PDF files with Acrobat). If you are unsure if an item is essential, leave it selected.

5. Click OK, and restart Windows.

6. Right-click icons in the Notification Area (called the System Tray in earlier versions of Windows) to close or disable any startup items that are still active.

Then, try to re-create the problem:

-- If the problem doesn't occur, one of the startup items conflicts with Acrobat. Reenable startup items one at a time, testing each time until you determine which item conflicts with Acrobat. Then contact that item's developer for an update, if available.

-- If the problem recurs, startup items aren't the cause and you can reenable them:

a. Choose Start > Run, type msconfig in the Open text box, and click OK.

b. Click the Startup tab, and select Enable All.

c. Click OK, and restart Windows.

7. Check for problems with shortcuts and desktop icons.

If Acrobat doesn't start when you double-click the Acrobat desktop icon or any other Acrobat shortcut but does start when you double-click a PDF file, test for problems with your Acrobat desktop icon or shortcut.

To test your Acrobat icon or shortcuts:

1. Navigate to the Acrobat folder on your hard drive. The default installation location of the Acrobat folder is Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Acrobat.

2. Double-click Acrobat.exe.

3. If Acrobat starts, do the following:

a. Delete the existing Acrobat desktop icon or shortcut.

b. Create a new desktop icon or shortcut:

-- Right-click on the desktop, and choose New > Shortcut.

-- In the New Shortcut dialog box, click Browse.

-- Browse to the Acrobat.exe file in your hard drive. The default installation location of this file is Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Acrobat.

-- Click Next, type a name for the shortcut, and then click Finish.

8. Troubleshoot plug-in conflicts.

Determine whether the problem is being cause by plug-ins.

To troubleshoot plug-in conflicts:

1. Start Acrobat without any plug-ins running.

a. Double click on the Acrobat shortcut on the Desktop.

b. Immediately after double-clicking, press and hold the left Shift key on the keyboard.

-- If the Comments menu item is not present, then close Acrobat and repeat step 1.

-- If the Comments menu item is present, then proceed to step 2.

2. Attempt to reproduce the error.

-- If the problem goes away, then proceed to step 3.

-- If the problem persists, then proceed to the next section of this document, "Intermediate troubleshooting."

3. Close Acrobat.

4. Remove third-party plug-ins from the Acrobat plug-ins folder. The default location for the Acrobat plug-ins folder is Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat [ Version Number ]\Acrobat\plug_ins.

5. Start Acrobat and attempt to reproduce the error.

-- If the problem does not occur, then proceed to step 8.

-- If the problem recurs, then proceed to step 6. Leave the third party plug-ins out of the Acrobat plug-ins folder.

6. Move all remaining plug-ins into a new folder.

7. Restore one Acrobat plug-in at a time and attempt to reproduce the error.

-- If the problem recurs, then record the plug-in name, move the plug back to the new folder, and repeat step 6. After you test all of the Acrobat plug-ins, proceed to step 9.

-- If the problem does not occur, then repeat step 6 with the next plug-in.

8. Move one third-party plug-in back to the Acrobat plug-ins folder and attempt to reproduce the error.

-- If the problem doesn't occur, then repeat steps 8 with another third-party plug-in.

-- If the problem recurs, then contact the developer of the plug-in for assistance with there plug-in.

9. Run a detect and repair on Acrobat with the corrupted Acrobat plug-ins removed from the Acrobat folder.

a. Remove all corrupted plug-ins recorded in step 7 from the Acrobat plug-ins folder.

b. Choose Start > Run, type appwiz.cpl in the Open text box, and then click OK to open the Add Or Remove Programs dialog box.

c. Select Acrobat and click Change.

d. When prompted, confirm that you want to repair Acrobat.

Intermediate troubleshooting

If the tasks in the previous section don't solve the problem, try the following intermediate troubleshooting tasks.

9. Reinstall Acrobat in VGA mode.

Device drivers and software that load automatically with Windows (for example, screen savers, virus protection utilities) can conflict with the Acrobat installer. To prevent conflict, reinstall Acrobat while Windows is in VGA mode. In VGA mode, nonstandard device drivers and startup software are disabled.

If reinstalling in VGA mode doesn't resolve the issue, try installing and running Acrobat on a different computer, or on a different hard drive.

To install Acrobat in VGA mode:

1. Insert the Acrobat CD into the CD-ROM drive.

2. Copy the Acrobat 7 folder on the Acrobat CD to the desktop.

3. Disable startup items, and restart Windows in VGA mode:

a. Choose Start > Run.

b. Type msconfig in the Open text box, and then press Enter.

c. Click the Startup tab, click Disable All, and then click OK.

d. In the System Configuration dialog box, click Restart.

e. Press F8 when you see the message "For Advanced Startup Options...."

f. Select VGA Mode from the list of startup options.

g. In the Desktop dialog box, click OK to start Windows.

4. Start the Acrobat installer in the Acrobat 7 folder, and then follow the on-screen instructions.

5. Restart Windows in normal mode.

10. Create a new user account.

Create a new user account that has administrative privileges, and then log in to that account before you start Acrobat.

Note: You must have administrative privileges to complete the following procedure.

To create a new user account with administrative privileges:

1. Right-click My Computer on the desktop, and choose Manage.

2. Click the plus (+) sign to the left of System Tools and Local Users And Groups.

3. Right-click Users, and choose New User.

4. Type a user name and password, retype the password in the Confirm Password box, and then click Create.

5. Double-click the user account you created, click the Member Of tab, and then click Add.

6. Type Administrators in the Enter The Object Names To Select box, and click OK.

7. Click Apply, and then click OK.

8. Start Acrobat.

11. Update the video card driver.

Many video card manufacturers frequently update their software drivers. If you haven't recently updated the video card driver, contact the video card manufacturer for an updated driver, or download one from the manufacturer's website. (To determine the manufacturer of a video card, view the card's properties in Device Manager.) You can usually determine if the video card driver is outdated by changing the color depth and resolution used for Acrobat. If the problem doesn't recur, the driver is probably outdated.

To change the color depth and resolution used for Acrobat:

1. Choose Start > All Programs, right-click Adobe Acrobat 7.0, and choose Properties from the pop-up menu.

2. Click the Compatibility tab.

3. Select Run in 256 Colors.

4. Select Run in 640 x 480 Screen Resolution.

5. Click OK, and then restart Acrobat.

Note: This change affects all applications that run at the same time as Acrobat. When you close Acrobat, video settings return to the defaults in other applications.

12. Verify that other device drivers are compatible with Windows XP.

If updating the video card driver doesn't resolve the problem, verify that all other device drivers are compatible with Windows XP. Device drivers are software files that allow Windows to communicate with devices such as scanners, mouse devices, and keyboards. Contact the device manufacturer to make sure that you are using the latest driver for it.

To check for device driver problems:

1. Choose Start > Control Panel > System.

2. Click the Hardware tab, and then click Device Manager.

3. Click the plus sign (+) to the left of each device type.

4. If a device appears with a black exclamation mark (!) in a yellow circle, right-click that device, and choose Properties from the menu.

5. Note the properties for the device:

-- Check the Device Status field: If the device isn't working properly, information in this field can help you troubleshoot the problem.

-- If the Properties dialog box has a Driver tab, click it. If the Driver tab doesn't indicate the driver provider, click Driver Details. If Microsoft is the provider, a generic driver is probably installed; contact the device manufacturer to obtain the most recent driver that they provide.

13. Check for font problems.

To determine whether a font causes the problem, reduce the number of active TrueType fonts by moving the font files to another location:

Note: Don't move the TrueType fonts installed by Windows. For a list of these fonts, see document 326402 , "TrueType Fonts Installed by Windows XP."

1. Create a new folder (for example, C:\TrueType).

2. Open the Windows\Fonts folder.

3. Move TrueType font files--excluding those installed by Windows--from the Windows\Fonts folder to the folder you created in step 1.

4. Restart Windows.

5. Move some of the fonts moved in step 3 back to the Windows\Fonts folder.

6. Restart Windows.

7. Start Acrobat, and try to re-create the problem.

8. If the problem doesn't recur, repeat steps 5-7, testing different fonts. If the problem recurs, one of the fonts you moved in step 5 may be the cause. Remove those fonts from the Windows\Fonts folder, and repeat steps 4-6, this time adding only one font at a time. When the problem recurs, do one or more of the following:

-- If you use a font utility other than the Windows Fonts folder (for example, FontMaster 6.0, included with CorelDRAW 6.0), remove the fonts using that utility. For instructions, refer to the documentation for the utility.

-- Remove the font and reinstall it from the original media.

-- Contact the font manufacturer to obtain an updated version of the font.

14. View the system log to identify software conflicts.

When starting, Windows XP adds entries to the system log, which contains information about applications, security settings, and system information. You can view the system log to identify software conflicts. If you identify a software conflict, reinstall or update the software.

To view the system log:

1. Choose Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer.

2. In either pane of the Event Viewer window, double-click System.

3. Note the following:

-- A white x in a red circle indicates that a service or driver is stopped (that it didn't start or load).

-- A black exclamation point in a yellow triangle warns of a possible future problem, such as low disk space.

4. For more information about an entry, right-click it, choose Properties from the menu, and read the Description.

Note: You can ignore warnings that indicate a new printer driver was installed. For other warnings, note the Description, Source, and EventID, and search for a solution on the Microsoft website at http://support.microsoft.com , or contact Microsoft or your hardware vendor for assistance.

5. If you can't determine which events are related to the problem, re-create the system log:

a. Right-click System and choose Clear All Events from the menu.

b. To save the current system log, click Yes when Windows returns the message, "Do you want to save 'System' before clearing it?"

c. Close Event Viewer, and try to re-create the problem. After the problem recurs, open Event Viewer and view the system log.

15. Set the virtual memory paging file to the default size.

Virtual memory allows the system to use hard disk space to store information normally stored in memory (RAM). Windows XP manages virtual memory by using a paging file. You specify the minimum and maximum size of this file. If the size is different from the default in Windows XP, applications may return errors. However, some applications may require a nondefault size for the paging file. Change the size only if other applications aren't adversely affected.

To set the paging file to the default size:

Note: You must be logged on as an administrator to change the size of the paging file.

1. Quit all applications.

2. Choose Start > Control Panel > System.

3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Settings in the Performance area.

4. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Change in the Virtual Memory area.

5. From the Drive list, select a hard disk partition that has free space equal to at least three times the amount of the computer's installed RAM. To determine the amount of space available on a hard disk partition, click the drive letter; the amount of space available appears in the Paging File Size for Selected Drive area.

6. In the Initial Size box, enter a value equal to one and a half times the amount of the computer's installed RAM.

7. In the Maximum Size box, enter a value equal to twice the amount of the Initial Size value.

8. Click Set, and then click OK to close the Virtual Memory dialog box.

9. Click OK to the alert "The changes you have made require you to restart your computer . . ."

10. Click OK to close the Performance Options dialog box, and then click OK to close the System Properties dialog box.

11. Click Yes in the System Settings Change dialog box. Windows restarts.

16. Optimize handling of temporary files by Windows.

Windows and applications store working data in temporary (.tmp) files that they create on the hard disk. Excessive or outdated temporary files can interfere with performance of Windows or applications. Delete temporary files, and make sure that at least 50 MB of free space is available on the hard disk to which temporary files are written.

To make sure that at least 50 MB of free space is available on the hard disk to which temporary files are written:

1. Quit all applications.

2. Choose Start > Control Panel > System.

3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Environment Variables.

4. In the User Variables For [user profile] section, locate TEMP in the Variable column, and note the folder listed in the Value column. If the complete pathname for the folder isn't visible, double-click TEMP in the Variable column, and note the folder name in the Variable Value box.

Note: If a TEMP variable doesn't exist, contact your system administrator for assistance.

5. In Windows Explorer, verify that the folder you noted in step 4 exists on a noncompressed disk partition that has at least 50 MB of free space:

-- If the folder doesn't exist, create it: Right-click the drive, choose New Folder from the menu, and type the folder name you noted in step 4 (for example, Temp).

-- If the disk doesn't have enough free space, then create additional space by removing unnecessary files. To determine the amount of free space, right-click the drive and choose Properties from the menu.

To delete temporary files:

Note: Repeat this procedure periodically. Windows deletes temporary files when Windows and applications close normally. When Windows or an application crashes, however, temporary files can accumulate on the hard disk.

1. Choose Start > Run, and type command in the Open text box. Click OK.

2. Type the following commands and press Enter after each command:

c:

cd\

cd "C:\Windows\Temp"

del *.* /s /q

3. Microsoft Windows will delete all unprotected files from the Windows Temporary directory and then return to a blinking command prompt. When it has return to the blinking command prompt, type the following commands and press Enter after each command:

cd\

cd %temp%

del *.* /s /q

4. Type exit to close the Command.com window.

17. Repair and defragment hard disks.

System errors can occur if hard disks contain damaged sectors or fragmented files. Repair and defragment hard disks, either by using the Error-checking tool and Disk Defragmenter utility included with Windows or by using a third-party disk utility (for example, Symantec Norton Utilities). You should run such utilities on each hard disk or partition. More information about the Error-checking tool and Disk Defragmenter appears below; for more information about a third-party disk utility, refer to the documentation for the utility.

The Error-checking tool repairs bad sectors, lost allocation units and file fragments, cross-linked files, and invalid file names. To access the Error-checking tool, choose Start > My Computer, right-click the desired hard disk, and choose Properties from the menu. In the Local Disk Properties dialog box, click the Tools tab, and then click Check Now in the Error-checking area.

Note: To prevent Disk Defragmenter from moving files to bad sectors of a disk, run the Error-checking tool before running Disk Defragmenter.

Disk Defragmenter rearranges the files and free space on your computer so files are stored in contiguous units and free space is consolidated in one contiguous block. To access the Disk Defragmenter utility, choose Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.

18. Scan the system for viruses.

Use current anti-virus software (for example, Symantec Norton AntiVirus, McAfee VirusScan) to check the system for viruses. Virus infections can damage software and cause system errors. For more information, see the documentation for the anti-virus software.

19. Identify the file that causes the problem.

If an error indicates which file causes the problem, reinstall the application to which that file belongs. If the file is damaged and causes problems in Acrobat, reinstalling the associated application can correct the problem.

If an error indicates a Windows file, contact Microsoft for help with replacing the file.

Advanced troubleshooting

If the tasks in the previous section don't resolve the problem, you may be able to resolve the problem by reinstalling Windows XP and Acrobat, reformatting your hard disk and reinstalling Windows XP and Acrobat, or by determining if hardware is conflicting with Acrobat.

Disclaimer: Adobe doesn't support hardware and provides these procedures as a courtesy only. For further assistance, contact the hardware manufacturer or an authorized reseller. If you troubleshoot hardware problems yourself, you may void the warranty for your computer.

Important: Before you remove or rearrange hardware, turn off and disconnect power to the computer and any peripheral devices.

20. Reformat the hard disk, and reinstall only Windows XP and Acrobat.

Reformat the hard disk, and then install only Windows XP and Acrobat from the original installation media. Reformatting a disk erases all files it contains, so be sure to back up all personal files first. Also make sure that you have all application and system disks.

Important: Don't install additional software or hardware until you're sure that the problem is resolved. Don't back up the hard disk and restore Windows and Acrobat instead of reinstalling them. If the problem is caused by an application or Windows, and either one is restored instead of reinstalled, the problem may recur.

After you reformat the hard disk and reinstall Windows and Acrobat, try to re-create the problem:

-- If the problem no longer occurs, install other applications one at a time and try to re-create the problem after each installation. If the problem occurs after an installation, the recently installed application may be the cause.

-- If the problem occurs when only Windows and Acrobat are installed, the cause may be hardware-related, and you should contact the hardware manufacturer or an authorized reseller for assistance. Before contacting the manufacturer or reseller, however, you may want to try one or more tasks in this section.

For instructions on performing a clean installation of Windows XP, see document 315341, "How to perform an in-place upgrade (reinstallation) of Windows XP" on the Microsoft website at http://support.microsoft.com .

21. Check for SCSI problems.

If you have a SCSI card for internal or external SCSI devices, verify that the settings for the card are correct, ensure that the SCSI chain is properly terminated, update SCSI drivers, and check for hardware or cable damage. For instructions, contact the SCSI card manufacturer.

You can also check for SCSI problems by using the System Properties dialog box:

1. Choose Start > Control Panel, and double-click System.

2. Click the Hardware tab, and then click Device Manager.

3. Click the plus sign (+) to the left of the SCSI and RAID Controllers line.

4. For each adapter listed, right-click the name, and then choose Properties from the pop-up menu. If the Device Status area indicates that the SCSI adapter isn't working correctly, reinstall SCSI device drivers. Contact the SCSI card manufacturer for further help.

22. Check for problems with RAM SIMMs or DIMMs.

Ensure that the RAM SIMMs or DIMMs are installed properly and are not the cause by doing one or more of the following:

-- Change the order of the installed SIMMs or DIMMs.

-- Remove all but the minimum number of SIMMs or DIMMs needed to run Windows and Acrobat, and test to see if the problem persists. If it does, replace the SIMMs or DIMMs you removed and remove the others, testing again to see if the problem recurs. If it doesn't, one or more of the removed SIMMs or DIMMs are the cause. For assistance, contact the RAM SIMM or DIMM manufacturer.


Related Documents

330714: Troubleshoot printing problems (Acrobat 7.0 on Windows)

328002: Troubleshoot errors or freezes during installation (Acrobat 7.0 on Windows)

Document 331045
Last edited - 06/14/2006

 

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