IE Acrobat plugin "not found" unless Acrobat Reader 6 already open

I have the full version of Acrobat 4.0 installed. I've not had problems upgrading Acrobat Reader in the past (from 4 to 5 to 5.5(?)).  But the newest Reader 6 update has gone haywire.  

In IE 6, when I click on a PDF link, I get a popup box, captioned "Acrobat plug-in" which says in the alert "Could not find Adobe Acrobat". Obviously the PDF doesnt load.

I can double click a PDF file on the hard drive, however, and they open fine.

I've also noticed that IF I already have Acrobat Reader 6 open and running, the internet PDF links WILL open up in a NEW IE window.  

Before, with previous versions, the Reader would auto-load if it needed to, and open the PDF file in the same IE window..

I already uninstalled/reinstalled Reader 6.  Twice.  I also when into "Folder Options" to reassign PDF files to open with Acrobat.  I poked through IE registry settings, but couldnt find anything about Acrobat.

How do I fix this to go back to normal behavior before the upgrade?  

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Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
This page lists the steps necessary to install Acrobat (or Reader) with Internet Explorer.

Adobe Reader 6 should show the same behaviour you've had with earlier versions of Acrobat (or Reader).
gpupursAuthor Commented:
I've done all that.  Twice, with restarts.

Forgot to mention that I'm on XP Pro.

I'm suspecting that some registry settings may be amiss somewhere, but couldn't figure out where to look for ActiveX plugin settings.  I'm baffled as to why uninstall/reinstall doesn't clear the problem up...

Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
The plug-in not found error message is referenced in this document:

It lists a few more things you can try.

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Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
Any luck?
Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
Adobe released the Reader 6.0.1 version a couple of days ago. You should give this another try.
I ran into the exact same problem.   I wish I could give you an easy way to fix this, but I didn't find one.    I did find a work around, but it's pretty ugly.

1) download wininstall (free from
2) use wininstall to create a package on a system that doesn't have Acrobat or Reader installed
3) emove Reader from your system
4) install the package created with wininstall on your system

I'm in agreement with you that it's probably a simple registry setting somewhere, but I couldn't find it.
gpupursAuthor Commented:
I'll give 6.0.1 a try...  Hopefully this is one of the bugs fixed.  
Shouldn't hurt to try, but I was working with 6.0.1, not 6.0.
Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
Did it work?
I just had the same error in IE: "Could not find Adobe Acrobat." After multiple checking if files exist and if registry keys are OK and after searching the Internet for a sollution, I ended up doing the following procedure that worked for me.

NOTE: My computer has Windows XP Pro and I had installed Adobe Reader 6.0 (and updated it to 6.0.1!) and Adobe Acrobat 5.0.5.

This is what I did:

1. Uninstalled Adobe Reader 6.0
2. Uninstalled Adobe Reader 5.0.5
4. Deleted ALL folders that start with C:\...\Adobe form my hard drive
5. Open the Registry with regedit
7. Searched for "adobe" and deleted ALL keys that had "adobe" in the tree structure ( ....\Adobe\...)
8. Searched for "reader" and for "acrobat" and deleted all entries (verry few were found)
9. Removed the "AcrobatPDFWriter" entry from the "Printer and Faxes"
10. Deleted the plug-in files for MS Office (PDFMaker.dll)
11. REBOOTED the Computer
12. Installed Adobe Acrobat 5.0.5 , "Complete"
13. Rebooted the Computer
14. Started Adobe Acrobat program than exit it.
15. Checked my IE for downloading PDF files ... all worked OK!

I hope this works for any of you!
gpupursAuthor Commented:
I'll try this, although I have Acrobat 4.   I did do pre/post dumps of the registry when installing Acrobat 4 after Acrobat Reader 6 was working.  A diff shows there are some overwritten differences, though I haven't tried to build a reg file to fix it yet...
Change this registry entry


C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 5.0\Acrobat\Acrobat.exe    --WILL VARY DEPENDING ON INSTALLED VERSION

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 6.0\Reader\AcroRd32.exe  

Restart PC
Got this figured out from Adobe Tech Support:

Goto C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 6.0\Reader\ActiveX directory.

Delete all files in this directory (the dll may not delete).

Launch 6.0 Reader from start menu

Select "Help | Detect & Repair" from Reader 6.0 menu

Check C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 6.0\Reader\ActiveX to see that files are back.

In 6.0 Reader, select "edit | prefs | internet" and ensure that the web brower items are checked. Save settings, close Reader.

Try browser launch again. It should work.

I had same problem except I was using Acrobat 5 and Reader 6. Tried dflaherty1123's advice above and it did not work for me.

I fixed it by doing the following:

 1. Uninstalled Adobe Acrobat 5 and Adobe Reader 6
 2. Searched computer for all files/folders containing "acrobat". Selectiveley deleted them (I have other Adobe products installed)
 3. Searched registry for "acrobat" and selectively deleted all keys that contained "acrobat" and that were not part of other software (I had other Adobe products installed)
 4. Rebooted
 5. Re-Installed Acrobat 5. Re-install Reader 6.0.

Now IE opens Acrobat 5 to view pdf links unless I have Reader 6 open. Then it opens 6 to view them. As long as I can view them, that's fine with me.

Hope this helps!


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I had the same problem. Acrobat 5, Reader 6. I uninstalled both, then reinstalled Acrobat 5, and problem solved. Didn't need to mess with the registry. I didn't try to reinstall Reader --it's gotten so overloaded it's barely faster than Acrobat anyway.

Huzzah! Thanks  dflaherty1123 - it worked fine here. (Win 2k)
Damn! Spoke too soon. It worked initially, but when I closed IE & started it up again, I get the same annoying "Cannot find Acrobat" message. I think I'll try the downgrade approach.
Hmm. It seems that my positions is similar to HighTechGeek's: it opens PDFs successfully iff Reader 6 is already open. Otherwise it fails with the pop up. I don't have Reader 5 installed.
Yep -install version 5.1 in parallel and it's back to normal. Thanks everyone.
gpupursAuthor Commented:
Sorry I never approved an answer on this.  Gbowden's answer was also partly correct; I ended up doing a diff of the registry keys before/after installing Acrobat 4 and Reader 6.  It turns out that they munge each others' regkey entries.  I don't have it with me on this computer, but I 'll look to see if I still have the list of regentries that were causing the problem and the manual fix I did to get it to work. (I wanted Reader 6 to always open IE-linked PDFs, not just when it was pre-opened, as HighTechGeek found acceptable.)
gpupurs - any chance you found the exact regkey entries and can you provide the manual fix, please?

I can be reached at if any chance you could also send the solution that way. Thanks!
Here is what I found in google groups.  Basically the registry entry that needs to be fixed is in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Software\Adobe\Acrobat\Exe.  Just cut and paste the following into a textfile and name it  

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@="\"C:\\Program Files\\Adobe\\Acrobat 6.0\\Reader\\AcroRd32.exe\""

Double click on the file and merge it into your registry.  This is for 6.0, for any other version, modify the path accordingly .
Thank You Hamlet d. The regkey is exactly what I needed. Tested it several times and works.
Hi Guys

Just to let you know that I found the solution of removing adobe 6. Then installing Adobe 5. Which I did not have install. Then reinstalling 6 fixed the issue.
Did not need a reboot.

Thanks for all the info in the document.


That registry update file is the key.  I tried all of the solutions on here and it was the only one which worked.
Yup it worked for me also, Great job Hemlet_d
Had the same problem with Windows 98 and used the following reg successfuly :) Thanks and Enjoy.





@="\"C:\\Program Files\\Adobe\\Acrobat 6.0\\Reader\\AcroRd32.exe\""
thanks for that hamlet_d - works like a treat
keep it up all u gyus.... i didnt have any such problme but was trying to dwnload the smallest working adobe package for my winxp when i banged to this forum ... it was a kinda interesting read thru it all and here i am --- posting this....

if any one know a location to download the smallest component needed to open pdf file please post it here ......

and just like that an extra info --- try -- for downloading the minum things needed to run quicktime and real media files ..;) great stuff.....
The accepted answer to this question is a very round-about way of implementing the same simple registry change suggested by hamlet_d.  Just make the registry change and be done with it.

Thanks to hamlet_d.
Combination of dflaherty1123 and gbowden's solutions worked for me.

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