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While visiting a website, I notice this behavior on my PC. I have set up a simple example to illustrate.

Let's say I have a webpage which has two links. The first is a link to a document on a website. The other is a link to a document on a file share. When I click the first link, the document on the website is opened in a new Internet Explorer window. When I click the second link, the document on the file share is opened in a new tab. Both have a target attribute set to blank.

Here is a basic sample of the HTML.

        <a href="http://myWebsite/documents/someDocument.pdf" target="_blank">Link 1</a><br>
        <a href="file://myServer/folder/someOtherDocument.pdf" target="_blank">Link 2</a>

I want the document on Link 1 to open in a new tab as it does for Link 2. I have done some homework and I know this involves the Tabbed Browsing Settings in IE on my machine. As you can see below, I have it set to Always open pop-ups in a new tab.

enter image description here

Thus, why is the document on the website not automatically opening in a new tab? I know I may right-click and select Open in new tab or click the middle mouse button/scroll wheel, but I would like to know why the tabbed browsing setting is not working. For the record, I am using Internet Explorer 9.

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Which PDF reader's IE plugin are you using? Maybe another one will work as expected? – Karan Dec 13 '12 at 21:44
I am using Adobe Reader X. Based on your suggestion I tried FoxIt Reader. It had the same results. It opens the website document in a new window and the file share document in a new tab. – Dark Lord of the Code Dec 14 '12 at 21:19
In IE, go to Internet Options / Security and disable Protected Mode, then close and relaunch the browser. Does that change anything? – Karan Dec 14 '12 at 22:46
Protected Mode was the culprit. If you would, please post your comment as an answer, and I'll give you credit. I moved the website in the link to the trusted zone and disabled protected mode on the trusted zone. It has been working great ever since. – Dark Lord of the Code Dec 17 '12 at 20:10
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Try disabling IE's Protected Mode under Internet Options / Security, since it may be causing this. Adobe Reader X onwards also has its own Protected Mode which you can read about here.

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