I have Adobe Reader (9.4) and Adobe Acrobat (4.0) installed on my PC.

Windows XP is set-up to open PDF files through Adobe Reader which works fine. Then I have a software (refmanager) that opens PDF files automatically with Acrobat.

I would like to have the files opened in Reader as well. I tried all combinations of installing/deinstalling all software, but found the order of installation to be irrelevant for this problem. What I noticed is, there are two possibilities in my set-up to open PDF files with the "open with" option, namely open with Reader 9.4 and open with Portable Document Format. The former opens with Reader 9.4 as expected, the latter, however, opens with Acrobat 4.0. I suspect, refmanager opens the PDF files also through that command.

Now, how can I force Windows XP to open Portable Document Format with Adobe Reader? I already went through the registry but could not locate the problem there.

  • 1
    Did you try changing the software associated with pdf files?
    – yasouser
    Jan 24, 2011 at 22:04
  • Do you need Acrobat 4.0? There are plenty of free tools available for making PDFs without installing such an ancient version of Acrobat.
    – afrazier
    Jan 24, 2011 at 22:07
  • This sounds like a refmanager specific issue since if it were just a file association problem they wouldn't normally open in Adobe Reader, but Acrobat. There are some programs (eg. robohelp) which interface with another program and require a certain version in order to operate. If refmanager is doing anything other than simply opening PDFs (generating, etc) then it may need Acrobat in order to generate the PDFs. You might have the best luck contacting the company directly.
    – Daisetsu
    Jan 24, 2011 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


Thanks for all the suggestions.

It seems my problem is fixed. After playing around again with all kind of settings, it all of a sudden worked. The crucial thing was perhaps that I installed a recent version of Adobe Reader, version X. Otherwise I am almost certain having played the same game several times already.

After istalling, nothing changed at first. Then I deleted Acrobat, but before re-installing, I went

in the menu "tools-folder options" and changed the setting for open pdf files which was

still pointing at Acrobat 4.0. If I remember well, a reset key was presented at that stage, a key which normally isn't there. After resetting (to what??), I changed the path for the open command to "Adobe X .exe", reinstalled Acrobat, and there we were. Now, I even can open both, Acrobat and Reader at the same time. Before pdf files always opened in either or whichever was opened first. This is weird.

Now about more recent pdf tools, I have tried various ones, among them nitro. I did not find the free versions any better than my old Acrobat, on the contrary, I often had problems with fonts for instance. However, this might not be the case with the full versions. Generally, I don't use Acrobat very often and since it does the job for my needs, I don't want to invest a lot in something new.

I contacted the company a while back, but they couldn't help, although the problem apparently was not an isolated case.

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