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Can’t Open PDF File – Reasons & Solutions

Published By Raj Kumar
Aswin Vijayan
Approved By Aswin Vijayan
Published On October 27th, 2022
Reading Time 4 Minutes Reading
Category PDF Updates, Updates

PDF is a top-notch file format for presenting any business and legal documents or even school/ college projects. But sometimes, due to some technical glitches you can’t open a PDF file on your desktop or laptop.

So here in this blog we have explained what can be all the possible reasons you are getting PDF file not opening error. Also, we have discussed various solutions to fix these errors.

Why Are You Getting PDF File Not Opening Error

If we have to categorize all the problems, we can understand that there are generally two types of issues that occur when you can’t open your PDF document.

One, there must be some compatibility or software problem with your PDF reader application. Second, your PDF file must be corrupted or have a potential virus.

Other reasons why you are unable to open a PDF file are:

  1. There might be some damage to your PDF reader application.
  2. You don’t have the PDF reader program installed in your system or is not up-to-date.
  3. Corrupted or damaged PDF file.
  4. Your PDF might be embedded with a potential virus attack.
  5. Your computer has some software conflict with the PDF.
  6. Large PDF size to process by your system.
  7. Protected Mode feature in Reader 10.0 misinterprets PDF file as malicious.

Well here I have mentioned some of the issues you might have encountered while trying to open the PDF file on your computer.

Now, let us see how to resolve them.

Can’t Open PDF File? Here Are The Solutions You Must Try

In order to open the PDF file we can try re-installing a PDF reader or updating your current reader, re-downloading the PDF document, or resizing the PDF.

Before starting with the solutions, I advised you to use Adobe Acrobat reader instead of using any third-party tool. If you are already using Adobe Reader then, try these fixes. They might help you.

Solution #1: Deleting System File & Re-installing Acrobat Reader

First you need to uninstall Adobe Reader and also delete all the associated system files that might have resided in your desktop or laptop.

Step-1: To uninstall, go to Control Panel > Programs and Features. Locate Adobe Acrobat DC, right-click on it and click on Uninstall.

Step-2: To Remove the associated system files, go to the below address on your computer and delete each file.


Step-3: Now, you install the latest version of Adobe Acrobat from its website.

Solution #2: Repair Corrupted or Damaged PDF File

For this, you can install SysTools PDF Recovery tool and follow these steps:

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Step-1: Click on “Load PDF” given on the upper-left side of the tool interface and insert the PDF file from your computer.

Step-2: The tool will scan the PDF and display all the content and then you can click on “Save PDF”.

Solution #3: Disable Protected Mode in Reader 10.0

Reader 10.0 comes with a Protected Mode feature that protects users from potential viruses and attacks. But sometimes, it misinterprets files as malicious and fails to open them correctly.

If you are sure that the file is not malicious then, you can disable it temporarily. Here’s how you can do that:

Step-1: Open the Run command by pressing Win + R

Step-2: Type “Regedit” and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.

Step-3: Paste the given location into the Registry Editor.

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\DC\FeatureLockDown

Step-4: Right-click and go to New > DWORD Value.

Step-5: Rename the PDF file to “bProtectedMode.”

Step-6: Right-click on the file and click on Modify.

Step-7: Enter data value to 0 to disable Protected Mode.

Again I should remind you if you know that the PDF file is not malicious then go ahead use this solution.

Solution #4: Resizing PDF

Sometimes a PDF file can be quite large in size and hence some PDF readers might not be able to process it properly. So, what you can do is try to divide the PDF in half.

You can split PDF with the help of SysTools PDF Split and Merge tool.

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Step-1: After downloading the software, Click on Add File(s)/ Add Folder to browse for PDF.

Step-2: Choose Split option, click on Next.

Step-3: The tool has 6 options to break PDF files, choose any.

Step-4: Finally, press on “Split”.


If you can’t open PDF or getting PDF file is not opening error then, you can try all the given solutions. Users mostly get this issue when their PDF file is corrupted or their PDF reader might have some compatibility or any other technical glitch.