Like most other techies, whenever I install Adobe’s Acrobat Reader I also uninstall most of the pointless plugins, to speed up its dog-slow startup process. If you want to learn more about speeding up Adobe Reader 6.0, just ask Tim or Chris or Greg or Omar or Kevin (“site:blogs.msdn.com adobe reader” is a wonderful search term!).
Now that the even-shinier Adobe Reader 7.0 is out (via Mike Gunderloy’s excellent Daily Grind), I thought I’d document my steps for optimizing this new version. So here’s what I just did on two of my machines:
- In Edit-Preferences, do the following:
- General tab: turn off “Automatically save document changes”
- Internet tab: turn off all three checkboxes
- Page Display tab: turn on “CoolType”
- Search tab: turn off “Enable fast find”
- Startup tab: turn off “Show messages and automatically update”
- In View-Toolbars, turn off “Rotate view” and “Search the internet”. Under “Show button labels”, turn them all on so you can figure out what the heck those icons means.
- Fire up Windows Explorer and do the following:
- Navigate to C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Reader\
- Right-click to create a new subdirectory, and call it plugins_uninstalled
- Move all the .api files from the plug_ins subdirectory to your new plugins_uninstalled subdirectory, except for AcroForm.api (for form-filling) and EScript.api (dependency of AcroForm.api).
- Finally, go to Start-Run-All Programs-Startup, and right-click and delete the “Adobe Reader Speed Launch” link that Adobe silently added to your startup process.
What, you wanted to actually know what all those plug-ins did so that you can make up your own mind? Move them back again, launch Acrobat Reader, and go to Help-About Adobe Plugins to learn what each plug-in does and what its dependencies are. Oh, and if you sped up Adobe 6.0 by removing some plugins, the update process will have left some subdirectories under C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 6.0\, so if you’re tidy-minded you can delete those too.
Of course, if all this seems like too much hard work, you can just wait – I’m sure the good folks over at AcroPDF.com will update their “PDF SpeedUp” freeware utility to work with v7.0 before too long (Update: Yep, they have – you can get it here)
Update: a couple of readers have suggested that most users will also want search functionality, in which case you can keep Search.api and Search5.api in your plug_ins directory.