PDF, which stands for portable document format developed by Adobe, has taken a place in the office or on the Internet. If you can’t open PDF files in Windows 11/10, it can be a major inconvenience. So, how can you fix PDF not opening in Adobe Reader or other readers? NewsPivot will show the reasons behind it and available workarounds.

PDF Won’t Open

PDF is a very popular file type that is widely used by persons who prefer to read books online, businesses that need to distribute documents & contracts, students, and more. However, an issue with opening PDF documents can arise, for instance, can’t open PDF files.

Before offering solutions, let’s consider the reasons for PDF not opening to help you analyze the issue and find out troubleshooting tips. As shown below:

  1. You use an outdated PDF reader
  2. The PDF file itself has been corrupted or tampered 
  3. A PDF file is too large
  4. Viruses attack your PDF files
  5. Don’t use Adobe Reader to open PDF files

Fortunately, you can easily get rid of the trouble using the ways below.

#1. Install a Professional PDF Reader

Sometimes you can’t open PDF files because you use another PDF tool. Make sure your PC has Adobe Acrobat Reader and you have also set it as the default app.

Just go to its official website, download this reader, and install it on your Windows 11/10 PC. Then, right-click on any PDF file to choose Open with > Choose another app, tap on Adobe Acrobat,and check the box of Always use this app to open .pdf files.

set Adobe Acrobat Reader to default app

#2. Update Adobe Acrobat Reader

When confronted with PDF not opening in Adobe Reader, an outdated reader could be the factor. You should update it to the latest version.

Step 1: Run your Adobe reader, go to click Menu > Help.

Step 2: Click Check for updates.

update Adobe reader
Sometimes you can click Repair Installation from the Help menu to fix the issue.

#3. Run Adobe Acrobat with Admin Rights

Sometimes you can’t open PDF files due to permission issues and running the reader as an administrator could help.

Step 1: Right-click on Adobe Acrobat and choose Properties.

Step 2: Under Compatibility, check the box of Run this program as an administrator.

Step 3: You should also check the box of Run this program in compatibility mode for.

run Adobe Reader with admin rights

Step 4: Click Apply > OK. Then, Adobe Reader not opening PDF files should be fixed.

#4. Disable Protected Mode

Protected Mode is a security feature introduced in version 10.0 that protects you against viruses. But sometimes it misinterprets PDF files as malicious, as a result, you can’t open PDF files in Adobe Acrobat. To fix your issue, disable this feature using these steps:

Step 1: Launch your Adobe Reader and go to click Menu and tap Preferences.

Step 2: Under Security (Enhanced), uncheck Enable Protected Mode at startup from Sandbox Protections and click Yes.

disable Protected Mode

#5. Compress PDF Files

If your PDF file is too large, you may also not open it. It is a good idea to compress it to reduce the size. To compress your PDF file, you can find an online PDF edior.

#6. Scan PDF Files for Malware

PDF not opening may be caused by viruses and you should run antivirus software like Windows Defender to scan the entire system for threats, then remove malware.

Step 1: Type Windows Security into the search box and press Enter to open this tool.

Step 2: Click Virus & threat protection > Scan options > Full scan > Scan now.

#7. Repair Corrupt PDF Files

You can’t open PDF files if they are damaged due to some reason. Try to repair these files by using the way in this guide – How to Repair Damaged or Corrupted PDFs.


Can’t open PDF files in Windows 11/10? After trying these ways above, you should easily access your PDF files. Hope this post can easily get you rid of the trouble.

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