Acrobat/Reader: PDF files not displaying in the browser

If you are having problems displaying PDF files in the browser using Adobe Acrobat/Reader in an enterprise environment, there are 3 things to check in your environment.

  1. Check the registry path for Acrobat or Reader
  2. Repair the HKCR\AcroExch.Document registry key
  3. Change the content-type header on the web server

If these suggestions do not help, then you can try the general suggestions outlined in this technote: http://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/cant-view-pdf-web.html

Disclaimer:  These procedures involve editing the Windows registry.  Adobe doesn’t provide support for editing the registry, which contains critical system and application information. Make sure to back up the registry before editing it, or contact a qualified computer service professional to do it for you. For more information about the registry, see the Windows documentation or contact Microsoft.

1. Check the registry path for Acrobat or Reader

  1. Go to Start > Run.
  2. Type regedit and click OK.
  3. Browse to the key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Software\Adobe\Acrobat\Exe.
  4. Make sure that the (Default) value is set for the path where Acrobat or Reader is installed.
    • The default path for Reader is “C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Reader\AcroRd32.exe”.
    • The default path for Acrobat is “C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat\Acrobat.exe”.

Note: If Acrobat or Reader isn’t installed in the default path, make sure that the key’s (Default) value points to the actual location.

If the above registry item doesn’t exist on the system, do the following:

  1. Go to Start > Run.
  2. Type regedit and click OK.
  3. Go to Edit > New > Key and create the missing HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Software\Adobe\Acrobat\Exe.
  4. Go to Edit > New > String Value and name this key (Default).
  5. Select (Default), and then go to Edit > Modify. Type the default path (listed above) in the “Value data” for your product.
  6. Restart the computer.

2. Repair the HKCR\AcroExch.Document registry key

It is possible that this key is damaged, is pointing to an obsolete version of Acrobat or Reader, or is pointing to a third-party PDF viewer.

  1. Choose Start > Run, type regedit in the Open text field of the Run dialog box, and then click OK.
  2. Back up your current Registry file:
    1. In the Registry Editor dialog box, choose File > Export.
    2. Type a name for the file and choose the location.
    3. For Export Range, choose All.
    4. Click Save.
  3. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AcroExch.Document.
  4. Right-click AcroExch.Document and select Delete; make sure that you have the correct key, and click Yes on any prompts.
  5. Right-click AcroExch.Document.7 and select Delete; make sure that you have the correct key, and click Yes on any prompts.
  6. Repair your Acrobat or Reader installation using one of the 2 methods below:
  • Repair using Control Panel (Windows).  Although you can repair your product installation by choosing Help > Repair [product] Installation, the Control Panel method sometimes provides better results. Close Reader or Acrobat.
      1. Click Start > Control Panel.
        • (Windows 7/Vista) Click Programs, and then click Programs and Features.
        • (Windows XP) Double-click Add or Remove Programs.
      2. In the list of programs, select Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat.
      3. Click Change and follow the instructions to repair the application.
      4. When the process is complete, click Finish.
  • Repair from within Reader or Acrobat.
    • (Reader) Choose Help > Repair Adobe Reader Installation.
    • (Acrobat) Choose Help > Repair Acrobat Installation.

3. Change the content-type header on the web server

If you’re a webmaster or have administrative rights to a website, configure the web server to send content-type headers of ‘application/pdf’ for PDF files. For instructions, see the documentation that came with the web server, or see article 305153 on the Microsoft website at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/305153.

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3 Responses to Acrobat/Reader: PDF files not displaying in the browser

  1. Door Handles says:

    What if the regedit is not working

  2. vin says:

    i tried the second option, it says unable to delete..