Open PDF in Internet Explorer 11 with Adobe Reader

*Update* 13 May 2014 Adobe have released Adobe Reader XI ver. 11.0.07 that includes 64 bit plugin, so this workaround is no longer needed.

Remember to activate "Protected Mode" for all files ("Preferences" -> "Security (Enhanced)".

Internet Explorer 11 Enhanced Protected Mode (64 bit) mode doesn't work well with Adobe Reader. For some reason the Adobe Reader installer performs faulty registration of the PDF file, so it can only be opened if the IE plugin is active.

IE 11 (64 bit) will not run 32 bit plugins, and so nothing happens when trying to open a PDF file. I guess with some investigation, then one could fix the faulty registration of the PDF file, so it would just open the file normally. But here is another workaround:
  1. Install Adobe Reader and upgrade to latest version
  2. Make a backup of the Adobe install folder:

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe

  3. Uninstall the Adobe Reader
  4. Copy the Adobe-folder back to the Program Files (x86)-folder
  5. Execute the following registry script (Use 11.0 if Adobe Reader XI):

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\10.0\AdobeViewer]

  6. Open a PDF document with Adobe Reader (browse to folder) and mark it as default application


  1. Bruce says:

    So you're saying that PDFs won't display in IE11(64) until Adobe creates a 64-bit plugin?
    What is the effect of this "workaround"? I'm guessing PDFs still won't display in the browser window, but will pop up in Adobe Reader instead.
    Thanks, -b-

  2. Ed says:

    Why am I able to open PDF files in Chrome but not in IE11?

  3. Snakefoot says:

    Ed wrote:
    Why am I able to open PDF files in Chrome but not in IE11?

    Chrome and Firefox includes a builtin PDF-viewer running in a secure sandbox. But IE11 requires that one installs the latest Adobe Reader, or some other unsecure PDF viewer.

  4. Shambra Worthey says:

    Hi, I have a Dell Inspirion 530S, running XP OS. While google chrome is my pref'd search engine, I decided to watch a youtube video w/IE. I w/n open. Says I need to upgrade IE. I have known that I need to upgrade Windows, but have not found how to ensure cont'd use of old files. Now the same is true with IE. I also have OE email files which I am concerned about. Can someone pls tell me, is there some way to do all the upgrades I need and not lose my files, pics, docs in the process. Please help!

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