Make Adobe Reader shine like it should under 64-bit Windows 7/Vista

When faced with a buggy piece of software, most users probably work-around the problems in silence, others might voice the issue at the developers, but there’s also a growing minority who whip out their development tools and attempt to fix it themselves.

In the case of the broken Adobe Reader 9.0 PDF preview and thumbnail handler on 64-bits versions of Windows 7 and Windows Vista, Leo Davidson did just that.

For the past two years, Adobe has neglected a simple issue with Adobe Reader that broke the default and extremely useful file thumbnail and file preview features in Vista and 7 under 64-bit. The problem also extends onto other applications that use the preview APIs such as Office Outlook, throwing out the window what would have been an elegant and streamlined PDF viewing experience, especially since you can scroll within the PDF without awakening the beast that is Adobe Reader.

After some detective work by Leo, not only did he pinpoint the root cause of both the preview and thumbnail issues, but today released a dead-simple fix in a neat executable package that fixes both problems faster than you can say “what the hell Adobe”.

33 insightful thoughts

  1. Personally, I hate that preview pane. Enable it and it shows up in every explorer window! Even My Computer. No wonder many people didn’t notice this issue over the past two years.

  2. I can vouch for that! I’ve been using it since I noticed the reg-fix in PC World or Maximum PC. Using the tool is much easier than doing it manually.

  3. Yes, they are lazy, very lazy, Adobe it´s unbelievable, Flash Player doesn´t work in 64 bit browsers, Adobe Reader is (like Long said) a monster, a resource consuming and buggy application, hoping fast implementation of HTML 5 to ditch Adobe for good.

  4. @Pedro Lopes

    How many people actually use a 64bit browser though? I don’t think 64bit flash is a big deal right now.

  5. I gave up on Adobe about 3 years ago. I started using Foxit, and I never look back!

    There is always an alternative out there, and software like Adobe Reader is a punishment for those people who are too lazy to look for one.

  6. drozzy: IMO, FoxIt has pretty horrible font rendering, especially for small fonts:

    Still, if you’re happy with FoxIt then more power to you.

    Main reason I have Adobe’s stuff installed is because it’s the standard, most popular thing and I need to make sure my stuff works alongside it (which can be a battle as it’s so badly written!). If not for that I’d probably use something else just on security grounds. (Not that other PDF viewers haven’t had security flaws, but Adobe Reader is a much bigger target so its flaws matter more.)

    PDF-XChange seems to be a good PDF viewer that includes a preview handler and thumbnails which both work on 64-bit systems out-of-the-box. I haven’t used it enough to really compare it but if we’re talking about alternatives it’s definitely worth checking out.

    I’ve heard from a bunch of people that they have to use Adobe Reader for compatibility reasons with some documents/publishers, or for certain features that only work in it. Don’t know how widespread those issues are, though.

    Personally, I wish the whole format would die. My idea of the “paperless office” was not to look at pieces of paper on the screen, with their unsuitable fonts, text sizes, fixed-width layouts, space wasting margins, headers, footers and page breaks and other horrors.

    I wish more people would discover and use .MHT for documents!

  7. @Pat

    The problem is not the need to use or not a 64 bit browser, the problem is that because companies like Adobe we will never be able to migrate to 64 bits definitely, we have 64 bit processors since “2003”, for “seven” years now, and because developers are too lazy we are still using 32 bits apps, they are limiting the natural evolution of computers.


  8. Ugh Adobe Reader that bloated POS. Use Foxit and it’s preview handler. Even Foxit’s iFilter is faster than Adobe’s at indexing and searching. And why o why does MS not beat Flash to 64-bit by creating 64-bit Silverlight? Is it so hard when their runtime is at 1.0-3.0-ish stages?

    And Long, please reinstate your web slice. That was made your site a little bit unique too from the usual RSS ones. What does it take? Does your server feel the Digg-like load?

  9. I used Foxit for a while until it started having a lot of security issues. I got rid of Adobe Reader precisely -because- it had so many security issues. Every advantage Foxit had over Reader is gone. Worse, Foxit has compatibility issues. Give me Reader any day.

  10. Couldn’t care for PDF thumbs or preview. RAW and/or just color corrected images in general on the other hand are more important to me. Hence why something like this is a savior. Especially if you couldn’t bother with installing a complete image viewing software to view the images.

  11. i really dont mind it sure when scrolling is slow i do mind but since i just a vista 32 user it dont matter to me. the computer that i’m looking to replace my aging laptop with has only has 64bit only windows 7 & yet its a dell owell i have a 32 disc that i got awhile ago that i can use to do clean installs

  12. There’s a new version of the PDF thumbnail fix with a workaround for a problem where the thumbnails sometimes went black.

    (As far as I can tell, it’s a bug in Windows, but it was easy to work around. Link to technical detail on my page.)

    Grab the new installer from my page:

    Make sure the file you see is called — with the “_002_” part. If it isn’t then F5 or Ctrl-F5 your browser to force it to refresh the page.


    Moretti, which part isn’t working, the thumbnails or the preview handler?

    Did you try doing a Repair install of Adobe Reader? That fixes most problems. (Also note that after doing that you have to re-run the preview handler fixer, which should be in your start menu. Same when you update Adobe Reader.)

  13. Sorry for my English, I’m Brazilian.

    Leo Davidson, preview handler works perfectly, thanks. Thumbnails does not work for me… I did the Repair, but not work.
    Thanks for all.

  14. If I worked at Adobe, I would be very ashamed. I thought Steve Jobs sounded a bit out of line, but either Adobe developers really are incredibly lazy or incredibly stupid.

  15. Adobe took out TWAIN support in Photoshop 64 also, even there’s technically no reason why it can’t be there.

  16. I tried Adobe_Reader_x64_fixes_v2_002_installer on Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit.
    It works with the exeption of extra large pictograms. When I select extra large pictograms in Windows Explorer than I get the Adobe pdf pictograms and no longer the thumbnails. If I switch back to large pictograms then I have to use F5 before I get the pictograms again.

  17. I tried Adobe_Reader_x64_fixes_v2_002_installer on Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit.
    Although it works upto large pictograms on my C drive, It does not seem work on pdf files on my NAS.
    There I get no thumbnails at all, just Adobe pdf pictograms.
    Only preview does work fine in both cases on my system.

  18. Ok honnest mistake. The reason it did not work, was that I had uninstalled the fix after applying it. This then will delete the bridge software for thumbnail viewing. I have reinstalled the fix and now it works fine for extra large pictograms aswell as for pdf’s on my NAS.

  19. Hi people. Work’s for me now. I installed adobe reader 8.0, apply the fix, and I upgraded to 9.3, and preview thumbnails work. Thank’s!

  20. Has anyone ever tried PDF995? The site is software995 [dot] com. I’m using it currently, and couldn’t be happier.

  21. Leo @ has done Adobe’s work for them. His fix does indeed do what It’s supposed to. Just download and run this fix, and then while in a folder click Tools (May need to press alt to see this menu) > Folder Options > View > Untick ‘Always show Icons, never thumbnails’. Ok, Ok, Ok…. Press F5 and thumbs should start to regenerate. Big Thanks Leo!!

    On another note: Adobe you lazy c*n*s. Stop over charging for buggy software. Stop releasing crappy updates every five minutes that actually downgrade the system. Ahem Adobe Reader X sucks. Flash has been screwy on Linux forever. What’s this with the very nearly no choice on the crappy buggy download manager (which in my last Job took over an hour to install Flash, on 30 odd machines that were tested (no proxy issues) – which is less than 1Mb). Oh and you do realise that a large portion of hacked/infected computers were breached with Adobe Reader bugs. Sort it out! Stick to the Mac if that’s all you can get right (Nearly)

Comments are closed.