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  Joyce Tang's Column - Acrobat PDF Attachments not Showing Up, CPU at 100%

:: J o y c e T a n g ' s C o l u m n ::

>> Acrobat PDF Attachments not Showing Up, CPU at 100%
Aug 2006

Have you tried to open up a PDF attachment only to see the Adobe Acrobat logo but nothing else. You tried everything under the sun -- double-clicked again, restarted Outlook, killed Adobe Acrobat (Acrobat.exe or AcroRd32.exe) that is taking up nearly 100% of CPU time via the task manager (taskmgr.exe), restarted the computer, reinstalled the program -- all to no avail?

Please read on...

Not an Outlook problem, more of an Acrobat nuisance

This is not so much an Outlook-specific article as it is about what some of my users experience when they click on the ever-so-popular PDF attachments in Outlook. In fact, this issue does not relate to Outlook at all. The spotlight should be on Adobe, though it isn't one waiting for applause.

I find suitable to add such an article onto OutlookExchange because many of my users had experienced it through the years with various versions of Acrobat and the bug never seem to have been resolved even at the time of this writing. It has been plaguing many for years and still plagues many out there so I hope this will help ease your anguish.

The Symptoms

My users usually first discovered this issue when they double-clicked on their PDF attachments within Outlook, the Adobe Acrobat splash logo came up but the actual attachment never did. They tried everything under the sun -- double-clicked again, restarted Outlook, killed Adobe Acrobat (Acrobat.exe or AcroRd32.exe) that is taking up nearly 100% of CPU time via the task manager (taskmgr.exe), prayed to their respective gods, restarted the computer, reinstalled the program -- all to no avail. They swore that they never installed anything naughty on their computers nor will they ever.

The Troubleshooting

Through some troubleshooting with Sysinternal's Filemon, you would see that while the CPU is busy (nearly 100%), the process Acrobat.exe or AcroRd32.exe is continuously issuing a request of "create" to create a Acrxxxx.tmp file in your temp directory (c:\documents and settings\username\local settings\temp) (Replace "username" with the username that you are currently logged onto the computer and are having problem loading Acrobat with). At each additional request, the number within the Acrxxxx.tmp file increases by 1 and these requests are spewing by the thousands. The result is always "Name Collision". If you browse your temp directory at c:\documents and settings\username\local settings\temp, you will find exactly 65,535 files with the Acrxxxx.tmp name (i.e. Acr1.tmp to AcrFFFF.tmp).

The Fix

This is not so much a fix as it is a workaround without changing any of Adobe's program files, but it will get you back on your feet right away in the safest way.

Delete (or Shift-Delete if you want to purge and not put them into the recycle bin) ALL of those 65,535 Acrxxxx.tmp files in your temp directory (c:\documents and settings\username\local settings\temp). After hitting delete, it will take quite a bit of time before it asks you to confirm if you really want to delete all of these objects, but don't mistake that you computer has frozen up because the window may say (Not Responding) while other applications continue to work sluggishly, it just needs time to go through the index.

After this "fix", your Acrobat will miraculously come back to life.

Did you find this article useful? Do you want to see more of this kind or something else? I would really appreciate your comments, feel free to email me!

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