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Troubleshooting system errors or freezes in Acrobat (8.x on Windows 2000 and 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 on Windows 2000 or 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."

"The instruction at '[memory address]' referenced memory at '[memory address]'. The memory could not be 'read'."

"[filename] has generated errors and will be closed by Windows."

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 2000 and XP Professional. If the interface is customized, some procedures will vary.

If the problems are specific to printing, then see document 333214 , "Troubleshooting Printing Problems in Acrobat (8.x for 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, Acrobat or Adobe 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 hidden files or folders, or files by their full filenames, which include extensions (for example, filename.ini). By default, Windows Explorer doesn't show hidden files, hidden folders, and filename extensions it recognizes.

To show hidden files, hidden folders, and all filename extensions in Windows Explorer:

1. In Windows Explorer, choose Tools > Folder Options.

2. Click the View tab in the Options dialog box.

3. Select Show Hidden Files And Folders.

4. Deselect Hide File Extensions For Known File Types.

5. 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:

Acrobat 8.0 (Professional and Standard)

-- Intel Pentium III or equivalent processor

-- Microsoft Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4, Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 Professional, Home, or Tablet PC Editions, Windows 64-bit non-native (Reader), Windows 2003 Server

-- 256 MB of RAM (512 MB recommended)*

-- 860 MB (Professional) and 490 MB (Standard) ; optional installation files cache requires an additional 460 MB of available hard-disk space.

-- 1,024x768 screen resolution

-- CD-ROM drive if installing from a CD

-- DVD-ROM drive if installing from a DVD

-- Internet Explorer 6.0, 6.0 SP1, IE 7.0, Firefox 1.5, Mozilla 1.7, AOL 9

-- Internet or phone connection required for product activation

*To check how much RAM is installed on the computer, choose Start > Settings > Control Panel, and double-click System. The amount of RAM is listed 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 > Settings > Control Panel and double click Add Or Remove Programs.

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 > Settings > Control Panel and double click Add Or Remove Programs.

7. Select the current version of 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 your operating system and hardware drivers. Before you install an update or upgrade, make sure that the system meets the requirements.

The free updates are available from the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/downloads/updates/ or by choosing Help > Check For Updates Now.

4. Re-create the Acrobat preferences folder.

Re-create the Acrobat file based preferences folder to eliminate problems that damaged preferences cause. Acrobat will recreate the preference files on launch when the preference files do not exist. Most user specific settings are stored in the registry. Most preference problems are caused by these file-based preferences, although the majority of the Acrobat 's preferences are stored within the registry.

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 c:\Documents and Settings\ [User Name] \Application Data Adobe\Acrobat\8.0 folder and move the Preferences folder to another location (for example, C:\Temp).

3. Launch Acrobat.

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

5. Run Acrobat while no applications are running in the background.

Some applications that run in the background may cause system errors or freezes when running concurrently with Acrobat. You can identify these applications and disable them before starting Acrobat. To identify problematic applications that run in the background, remove applications from the Startup folder and close those that are specified in the registry to start automatically.

-- To disable startup items and services (Windows XP):

1. Quit all applications.

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

3. Click the Startup tab and Services tab. Record all unselected items.

4. Click the General tab, and choose Selective startup.

5. Uncheck Load Startup Items. Verify that Process System.ini File, Process WIN.INI File, and Load System Services are checked.

6. Click the Services Tab, and check Hide All Microsoft Services

7. Click Disable All.

8. Click OK, and restart Windows.

9. 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.

Note: Upon reboot, you'll be notified that the System Configuration Utility has made changes to the way that Windows starts up. Click OK, and when the System Configuration Utility appears click Cancel.

-- To disabled startup items and processes (Windows 2000):

Note: Windows 2000 does not have the MSConfig utility for disabling start items. You can disable the items manually.

1. Quit all applications.

2. In Windows Explorer, move all icons and shortcuts from the following folders to another folder:

-- Documents and Settings/All Users/Start Menu/Programs/Startup

-- Documents and Settings/ [user profile] /Start Menu/Programs/Startup

3. Restart Windows.

4. Right-click the taskbar, and choose Task Manager from the pop-up menu.

Note: The simplest method to shutdown all remaining programs is to disable processes that are not required for the system to run. Without a strong understanding of the Windows 20000 architecture you can typically reduce the number of process down to 19. If the process is not in the required process list, then disable the process following the steps below.

5. Click the Processes tab.

6. Select an process, click End Process, choose Yes.

Important: Do not disable the following required processes: wuauclt.exe, WinMgmt.exe, WINLOGON.EXE, TASKMGR.EXE, System Idle Process, System, svchost.exe, spoolsv.exe, SMSS.EXE, SERVICES.EXE, regsvc.exe, mstask.exe, LSASS.EXE, explorer.exe, CSRSS.EXE

Note: You will need to disable these processes every time you need to reboot the computer.

-- Identify which startup item is causing the issue:

Determining which startup item is generating the problem can be a tedious process. After determining that startup items are the problem's cause, break the list of items into halves. Test each half of the list to determine if a problem startup item is present. Continue to break the list in half until you determine what startup items are generating the issue. Do not leave any half untested. Multiple startup items may exhbit the same behavior.

1. Attempt to replicate the issue with all items disabled. If the issue does not occur, then proceed to the next section, "Troubleshooting plug-in conflicts." Reenable startup items after all steps have been completed.

2. Restore half of the items that were disabled.

3. Attempt to replicate the issue.

-- If the issue occurs, then divide the startup items in half and determine which half the issue occurs within.

-- If the issue is not reproducible, then enable half of the remaining startup items. Continue dividing the items in halves until you have determined what startup item(s) are generating the issue.

4. Once the problem startup item has been isolated. Contact the startup item's manufacturer for updates or configuration information.

-- To reenable startup items and services (Windows XP):

1. Choose Start > Run, type msconfig , and click OK.

2. Choose Normal Startup on the General tab, click OK, and restart the computer.

Note: If unselected items were present on the Services or Startup tab, then you will need to unselect them again.

-- To reenable the startup items when you are finished (Windows 2000): Move the icons and shortcuts back to their respective Startup folders, and restart the computer.

6. Troubleshoot plug-in conflicts.

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

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 8.0\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. Navigate to Add/Remove Programs within the Control Panel.

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.

7. Reinstall Acrobat in a simplified mode.

Device drivers and software that loads automatically with Windows, such as screen savers and virus protection utilities, can conflict with the Acrobat installer and cause problems that occur in Acrobat. To prevent such problems, reinstall Acrobat while Windows is in a simplified mode, which disables non-standard device drivers and startup software.

To reinstall Acrobat in a simplified mode:

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

2. Copy the Acrobat 8.0 folder from the Acrobat CD to the desktop.

3. Refer to Solution 3 for steps to disable startup items and services on Windows.

6. Double click Setup.exe within the Acrobat 8.0 folder on the desktop.

5. Follow the on-screen instructions.

8. Verify that device drivers are compatible with Windows.

Device drivers are files that allow Windows to communicate with devices such as scanners, video cards, mouse devices, and keyboards. Contact the device manufacturer to make sure that you have the latest driver for it.

To check for device driver problems:

1. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel.

2. Double-click System, 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, then right-click that device, and choose Properties from the pop-up menu.

5. Check 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, then you probably have a generic driver and should obtain the most recent driver provided by the device manufacturer.

If updating the video card driver doesn't resolve the problem, then 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.

9. Install latest 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.

10. Disable hard disk compression.

Disable hard disk compression, which can interfere when Acrobat attempts to store and access files and resources. For more information, see the documentation for the compression software, or see the Windows documentation for compression included with Windows.

11. Optimize handling of temporary files by Windows.

Windows and applications store working data in temporary files that they create on the hard disk. Excessive or outdated temporary files can interfere with the performance of Windows. Delete temporary files and make sure that adequate free space is available on the hard disk to which they are written by doing the following:

To verify that Windows stores temporary files on a non-compressed hard disk that has at least 50 MB of free space:

1. Exit from open applications.

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

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

4. In the User Variables For [User Name] 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 text 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 disk that has at least 50 MB of free space:

-- If the folder doesn't exist, then create it: Right-click the drive, choose New Folder from the pop-up 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 pop-up 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 drive.

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\

-- For Windows 2000:

cd "C:\Windows\Temp"

-- For Windows XP:

cd "C:\Winnt\Temp"

Important: Verify that the command prompt reads C:\Windows\Temp before you enter the next command. Initiating this command at other hard drive locations can damage your Operating System. Adobe provides this information as a courtesy only and is not responsible for issues you may encounter if you run this command in an incorrect location.

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%

Important: Verify that the command prompt reads C:\Documents and Settings\ Username \Local Settings\Temp before you enter the next command. Initiating this command at other hard drive locations can damage your Operating System. Adobe provides this information as a courtesy only and is not responsible for issues you may encounter if you run this command in an incorrect location.

del *.* /s /q

4. Type exit and press enter to close the Command.com window.

12. Check for font problems.

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

Note: Don't remove the TrueType fonts installed by Windows. For a list of these fonts, see document 322361 , "TrueType Fonts Installed by Windows 2000"

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

2. For Windows 2000, open the C:\Winnt\Fonts folder.

For Windows XP, open the C:\Windows\Fonts folder.

3. Move font files, excluding those installed by Windows, from the Windows folder to the folder you created in step 1.

4. Restart Windows.

5. Move a few of the fonts from step 3 back to the Windows Fonts folder.

6. Restart Windows.

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

-- If the problem recurs, then 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, remove the fonts using a font utility, remove the font and reinstall it from the original media, or contact the font manufacturer to obtain an updated version of the font.

-- If the problem doesn't occur, then repeat steps 5-7 and test different fonts.

13. Repair and defragment hard disks.

System errors can occur if hard disks contain damaged sectors or fragmented files. Repair and defragment hard disks using either the Error-checking tool and Disk Defragmenter utility included with Windows or a third-party disk utility such as Symantec's Norton Utilities. You should run such utilities on each hard disk or partition.

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, double-click My Computer, right-click the desired hard disk, and choose Properties from the pop-up menu; in the Local Disk Properties dialog box, click the Tools tab, check both options, then click Check Now in the Error-checking section.

Disk Defragmenter rearranges the files and free space on the 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 > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.

For more information about a third-party disk utility, refer to the documentation for it.

14. Scan the system for viruses.

Use current anti-virus software, such as Norton AntiVirus or 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.

15. Scan the system for spyware.

Use current spyware software, such as LavaSoft's Ad-aware or Symantec's Internet Security Suite, to check the system for spyware. Spyware can slow performance and cause system errors. For more information, see the documentation for the spyware software.

16. View the System and Application Log to identify software conflicts.

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

To view the System and Application Log:

1. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel, and double-click Administrative Tools.

2. Double-click Event Viewer, select System or Application Log in the Event Viewer window, and note the following:

-- A white x in a red circle indicates that a service or driver is stopped (i.e., 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.

Note: You can ignore warnings that indicate a new printer driver was installed.

3. For more information about an entry, right-click it, choose Properties from the pop-up menu, and read the Description section. If you can't determine which events are related to the problem, then re-create the System or Application Log:

a. Open Event Viewer, right-click the System or Application Log, and choose Clear All Events from the pop-up menu. To save the current System or Application Log, click Yes when Windows returns the message "Do you want to save 'System Log' before clearing it?"

b. Close Event Viewer, and try to re-create the problem.

c. After the problem recurs, open Event Viewer and view the System or Application Log.

4. Note the description, source, and EventID, and search for a solution to the error on the Microsoft website at http://support.microsoft.com , or contact Microsoft or the hardware vendor for assistance.

17. Identify the file or application that causes the problem.

If an error indicates which application causes the problem, reinstall the application. If a file is damaged and causes problems in Acrobat, reinstalling the application can correct the problem. If an error indicates a Windows file, reinstall Windows over itself. If the problem persists, proceed to the next task.

18. Change the size of the virtual memory paging file.

Virtual memory allows the system to use hard disk space to store information normally stored in memory (RAM). Windows 2000 and XP manages virtual memory using a paging file; you define the minimum and maximum size of this file. If the maximum size isn't twice the amount of installed RAM, applications may return errors.

To create a paging file with a maximum size of twice the amount of installed RAM:

Disclaimer: Adobe doesn't support this procedure but provides it as a courtesy. If you change virtual memory or other system settings, you can affect performance in other applications. Check the documentation for other applications for more details.

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

1. Exit from open applications.

2. Choose > Start > Settings > Control Panel.

3. Double-click System, click the Advanced tab, and then click Performance Options.

4. Click Change in the Virtual Memory section.

5. From the Drive list, select a hard drive that has at least twice the amount of the computer's installed RAM. (To determine the amount of space available on a drive, click the drive letter; the amount of space available appears in the Paging File Size for Selected Drive section.)

6. In the Initial Size text box, enter a value equal to the amount of the computer's installed RAM plus 12 MB.

7. In the Maximum Size text field, enter a value equal to twice the amount of the computer's installed RAM.

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

9. Click OK to close the Performance Options dialog box, and the System Properties dialog box.

10. Click Yes in the System Settings Change dialog box to restart Windows.

Advanced troubleshooting

If the tasks in the previous section didn't resolve the problem, then severe operating system issues or hardware may be conflicting with Acrobat.

Disclaimer: Adobe doesn't support hardware and provides these tasks 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.

Note: Before you remove or rearrange hardware, turn off the power to the computer and any peripherals.

19. Reformat the hard disk, and reinstall only Windows and Acrobat.

Reformat the hard disk, and then install only Windows 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.

Note: 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 is restored instead of reinstalled, the problem may recur.

After you reformat the hard disk and reinstall Windows, 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 is 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.

20. Check for SCSI problems.

If you have a SCSI card for internal or external SCSI devices, then 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 > Settings > Control Panel and double-click System.

2. Click the Device Manager tab.

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. If the Device Status section indicates that the SCSI adapter isn't working correctly, reinstall SCSI device drivers; contact the SCSI card manufacturer for further help.

21. Check for USB or Firewire problems.

If you have a USB or Firewire external drive, then verify that the settings for the drive are correct, update drivers, and check for hardware or cable damage. For instructions, contact the USB or Firewire card manufacturer. Disconnect other USB or Firewire devices to ensure that power loss is not the cause of the issue. Adobe does not recommend installing Acrobat on external drives. Starting a machine without the external drive connected can cause errors and damage Acrobat specific files if the drive is disconnected.


Related Documents

Document 333213
Last edited - 11/07/2006

 

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