Adobe Reader is really slow when it starts, no matter if you are loading only the program or have double-clicked on a pdf document that you want displayed in the application. It is certainly even slower if you load a pdf file into it, and maybe even more so if it is hosted remotely and not locally. Adobe Reader is slow which can be a very frustrating experience, especially if the pdf document that you try to load is not larger than a couple hundred Kilobytes.
The loading speed is one of the prime reasons why Adobe Reader users switch to third party programs promising faster speeds.
The reason why it is loading so slow is simple: Adobe Reader is loading plugins when it starts and this increases load times tremendously. Most users don't need all of the plugins and that is what we are going to use to our advantage to speed up the software. Basically, we remove plugins that we do not need from being loaded at startup.
To do this browse to your plug_ins directory of your Adobe installation and move plugins into a newly created folder called optional.
The default directory for Adobe Reader 7 is for instance C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Reader\plug_ins
Make sure you remove all plugins except the following ones: EWH32.api, print*.api, and Search*.api
Load a pdf afterwards and see how fast it loads and check if you miss a feature. If you do try to find out which plugin is needed for the feature and move it into the plug_ins folder again. The only option here is to use the name of the plugin to guess its functionality, or use trial and error to move one after another into the original folder until you have found the right plugin for the job.
Update: The Adobe Reader plugin directory has not really changed, other than the version number. The latest Adobe Reader plugin directory for instance is C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader 10.0\Reader\plug_ins where you find lots of plugins listed in.
You can find out more about each plugin listed here by starting Adobe Reader and selecting Help > About Adobe Reader Plugins. Here you find the names of the plugins and their file names, as well as a short description of what it does.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.