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BobT. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Suddenly my iMac won't open most .PDF files - specifically those that are imbedded in the body of emails or may be identified by a hotlink on websites.  But if one is simply attached to an email, that seems to open!?!  The only thing I think I've done  since everything worked properly was to agree to install Adobe Reader 10.1.3 and Adobe Flash Player.  Can anyone help me to rectify whatever error I'm experiencing so that I can open .PDF files once again?  Thanks, in advance, for your help!

Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,805 points)

    In the Finder, select Go ▹ Go to Folder... from the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-G. Copy the line of text below into the box that opens, and press return:


    /Library/Internet Plug-ins/AdobePDFViewer.plugin


    If a Finder window opens with that item selected, delete it, then quit and relaunch Safari. Otherwise post again.

  • BobT. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I followed your recommendation and removed the item in Finder.  Rebooted in both Safari and Firefox.  Neither enabled my ability to open .PDF links from an email.  .PDF files on my desktop open just fine.  When I place


    /Library/Internet Plug-ins/AdobePDFViewer.plugin


    back in the Go>Go to folder now, I get a return message stating that the folder can't be found.  Do I need to do something to reinsert it or a variation of it?



  • BobT. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    A thought...could my downloading capability somehow be compromised???

  • Scott Maccubbin Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Bob, how did you install Adobe Flash Player? From Adobe's website or from a "pop-up" window that happened to appear on your screen?

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,805 points)

    I don't recommend that you reinstall the plugin, but if you want to, it goes in /Library/Internet Plug-ins.


    What exactly happens when you try to open a PDF file?

  • BobT. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    From a pop-up as I recall.

  • BobT. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The link takes me to the URL (as shown in my address bar) but the screen just remains plain white.  The document never appears.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,805 points)

    Please read this whole message before doing anything.


    This procedure is a test, not a solution. Don’t be disappointed when you find that nothing has changed after you complete it.


    Step 1


    The purpose of this step is to determine whether the problem is localized to your user account.


    Enable guest logins and log in as Guest. For instructions, launch the System Preferences application, select Help from the menu bar, and enter “Set up a guest account” (without the quotes) in the search box.


    While logged in as Guest, you won’t have access to any of your personal files or settings. Applications will behave as if you were running them for the first time. Don’t be alarmed by this; it’s normal. If you need any passwords or other personal data in order to complete the test, memorize, print, or write them down before you begin.


    Test while logged in as Guest. Same problem(s)?


    After testing, log out of the guest account and, in your own account, disable it if you wish. Any files you created in the guest account will be deleted automatically when you log out of it.


    Note: If you’ve activated “Find My Mac” or FileVault in Mac OS X 10.7 or later, then you can’t enable the Guest account. Create a new account in which to test, and delete it, including its home folder, after testing.


    Step 2


    The purpose of this step is to determine whether the problem is caused by third-party system modifications that load automatically at startup or login.


    Disconnect all wired peripherals except those needed for the test, and remove all aftermarket expansion cards. Boot in safe mode and log in to the account with the problem. The instructions provided by Apple are as follows:


    • Be sure your Mac is shut down.
    • Press the power button.
    • Immediately after you hear the startup tone, hold the Shift key. The Shift key should be held as soon as possible after the startup tone, but not before the tone.
    • Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple icon and the progress indicator (looks like a spinning gear).


    Safe mode is much slower to boot and run than normal, and some things won’t work at all, including wireless networking on certain Macs.


    The login screen appears even if you usually log in automatically. You must know your login password in order to log in. If you’ve forgotten the password, you will need to reset it before you begin.


    Test while in safe mode. Same problem(s)?


    After testing, reboot as usual (i.e., not in safe mode) and verify that you still have the problem. Post the results of steps 1 and 2.

  • BobT. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sincere thanks for your attempts to help me with this dilemma! 


    Step 1:

    There are two other user accounts on my iMac and they both are experiencing the same problem.  I just established a Guest account to test your thoughts from scratch, with the exact same results both in Safari and in Firefox.  I get to the URL, but the window never opens the .PDF file.


    Step 2:

    I started the computer in Safe mode.  Unfortunately, the same problems occur there.


    Perhaps this should be stated just in case it has some bearing on your further considerations.  For several months - no where near as long as this immediate problem - when I ask my system to show me a PDF preview of anyting I'm wanting to print, often - but not always - the preview looks fine on page 1, but subsequent pages in the preview, both in the preview pages bar to the left as well as when I actually try to print the document, appear maybe 200% larger than the actual page and therefore displays only the lower-left 25% of the page(s) after the first 100%-view page?!?


    Very perplexing, no?  Thanks, again, for your attempts to help me with this.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,805 points)

    Back up all data.


    Boot from your recovery partition by holding down the key combination command-R at the startup chime. Release the keys when you see a gray screen with a spinning dial.


    When the Recovery desktop appears, reinstall the Mac OS. You don't need to erase the boot volume, and you won't need your backup unless something goes wrong. If your Mac didn’t ship with Lion, you’ll need the Apple ID and password you used to upgrade, so make a note of those before you begin.

  • BobT. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Now this recommendation is pretty scary!  Of course my whole system is backed up by Time Machine to an external drive, but if I mess this up, my whole system is blown, right?  And not, my system did not ship with Lion.  I upgraded to it through iTunes.  Where will I have to go to call up the reload of Lion?

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,805 points)

    When you reinstall, you'll be prompted for your Apple ID. It's perfectly safe as long as you have backups, though one backup isn't really adequate.

  • BobT. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    OK.  I'll go for it after dinner.  How long do you think it will take to reinstall everything? And what do you suggest in addition to an external backup drive?  Will let you know the results of my reinstall.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,805 points)

    At least two drives with independent backups, one stored off-site at all times.

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