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Choosing a PDF reader & more




Updated and links checked September 08, 2009

Most of the discussion here about choosing a PDF reader is for windows users; most Macintosh and Linux users know how to scramble for themselves.

Several options are given for your consideration.

To view a PDF file, you need a PDF Reader, a free application program. PDF files are often called Adobe Reader files.  To view a PDF file, you need Adobe Reader or an alternative PDF reader. PDF files are defined and described at about pdf files below.

One of my criteria for good, free software is that both the Install and Uninstall work properly.

 TIP:  Website developers use updated software, therefore users (site viewers like you) should keep their internet browsers and PDF readers updated in order to view them properly or at all.  If you want to keep your software current, I highly recommend you download and try the free's Update checker

 TIP:  Both PDF document readers recommended here are offered free in the hopes of selling other software: proceed carefully.

You are seeking a free PDF file reader, nothing more!

I have several PDF readers on my computer. My default PDF reader is normally Foxit Reader (version 3.1 on this date); however, if I am developing something, I set pricy Adobe Acrobat Professional as my default reader.  Foxit Reader fast and great for normal reading and printing.  Adobe Reader is a huge a program.  To help it load faster, Adobe Reader also installs Adobe Reader Speed Launch which loads at system startup and runs in the background (diminishing your system performance).  It can be disabled, but that's another topic.  Yes, I have tried several other PDF readers.

 TIP:  PDF documents are generally viewed with Adobe Reader simply because computers usually come with Adobe Reader already installed.  Adobe Systems did develop the PDF format.  All PDF files on this website were created with Adobe Acrobat 8.1.6 Professional.


Smaller Foxit Reader loads faster. Download the latest version of Foxit Reader  for windows.

Foxit Reader supports Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003/Vista. 

(Sorry, Windows 95 is not supported.)

How to choose the correct Adobe Reader version:

Review items 1-3 before activating a link.  Seek the latest version supported your computer: windows version and service pack, processor, RAM, and hard drive space.

1 - Example: version 5.0, Adobe Reader with 24MB - for those who do not have latest and updated, i.e.

· Microsoft Windows 95 OS 2.0, Windows 98 and 98 SE (second edition), Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 2000, or Windows XP without Service Pack 2.

· Intel Pentium processor

· 64MB of RAM

· 24MB of available hard-disk space

2 - To find the best one for you, review system requirements for each Adobe Reader version.  Again, seek the latest version supported your computer.

3 - Download the latest and previous versions of Adobe Reader.


 PDF files  are files with extension (file ending) “.pdf”

PDF stands for "Portable Document Format."  A PDF file lets you create a file with almost any content and others view it exactly as you created it from almost any application, on any computer system: even if he has a Mac and you have a PC.  The file can be printed exactly as you see it on a monitor.

Since a PDF file captures document text, fonts, images, and even formatting of documents from a variety of applications, you can e-mail a PDF document to your friend and it will look the same way on his screen as it looks on yours.

There many, many PDF file on the internet; some are on this website.

Example: File "drive.pdf," directions to our home, will print as viewed, but web page "drive.htm" with similar content will not print as viewed; it would require extensive reformatting for suitable printing.

To view a PDF file, you need a PDF Reader, a free application program.  PDF files are often called Adobe Reader files. To view a PDF file, you need Adobe Reader or an alternative PDF reader. 

All pdf files on a computer will appear with the icon shown here if  Adobe Reader is the default "pdf" reader.   Adobe Reader is almost always installed on new computers.  All pdf files will appear with the icon shown here if Foxit Reader is the default "pdf" reader.  I recommend Foxit PDF Reader.

Source of PDF file definition:

 TIP for more advanced users:  For You can identify and selectively disable programs at startup with What's Running? 2.2 available free at

What's Running? 2.2 works for Windows XP.  A simpler program "Startup Inspector for Windows" is also available free at

Don't fool around with these unless you have time to burn (to read, consider, and comply with cautions.)

I disable these startup programs that otherwise would otherwise run in the background robbing other resources (of memory); most are quick start (elements of programs) that I frequently use.  Some that I disable follow:

Adobe Acrobat Assistant 8.0

Adobe Reader Speed Launcher

HP Photosmart Fast Start

Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 Quick Launch

QuickTime Task

PCTools RegisterMechanic

HP Software Updater

FileHipo (software updater)




Send inquires and technical suggestions and  by e-mail to:

Send inquires and technical suggestions and  by postal service to:

T. L. Grimes

950 Tender Drive

Apex, NC  27502-2406