How to Fix the Adobe Acro­bat Read­er DC Not Open­ing Issue in Win­dows 10

Is Adobe Acrobat Reader DC failing to open in Windows 10? That can happen for any number of reasons. For instance, the program may not have sufficient permissions to run properly. Or, there could be compatibility issues at play.

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A corrupt Adobe Acrobat Reader DC installation can also prevent the program from launching on your desktop. Thankfully, several fixes can help you get Acrobat Reader DC up and running again. Let's dig in and check them out.

Run as Administrator

Try running Acrobat Reader DC with elevated rights. To do that, right-click the Acrobat Reader DC shortcut on your desktop and click Run as Administrator. On the User Account Control dialog box that shows up, click Yes.

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If Acrobat Reader DC launches properly, you can always configure the shortcut to run the program with administrative rights. Start by right-clicking the Acrobat Reader DC shortcut. Then, select Properties.

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On the Properties dialog box that shows up, switch to the Shortcut tab, select Advanced, check the box next to Run as Administrator, and then click OK.

Run in Compatibility Mode

To eliminate compatibility issues with Windows 10, run Acrobat Reader DC in Compatibility Mode.

Start by right-clicking the Acrobat Reader DC icon on the desktop. Then, select Properties. On the Properties dialog box, switch to the Compatibility tab, check the box under Compatibility Mode, and select Windows 8. Click Apply and OK.

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If you keep facing the same issue, try setting Compatibility Mode to Windows 7. You can also use the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter (click Run Compatibility Troubleshooter) to detect and troubleshoot compatibility issues in Acrobat Reader DC.

End Background Processes

Is Acrobat Reader DC still failing to open? Ending all background processes related to the program can help.

To do that, right-click the Start menu and select Task Manager. Then, click More Details to expand the default Task Manager view.

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Switch to the Processes tab, select each Acrobat Reader DC-related background process (as shown in the screenshot above), and then click End Task.

Once you've done that, try opening Acrobat Reader DC again.

Disable Protected Mode

Acrobat Reader DC uses a feature called Protected Mode to secure your computer against malicious PDF documents. In rare instances, Protected Mode can also prevent the program from loading. Hence, try disabling it.

Since you obviously can't open Acrobat Reader DC to disable Protected mode, you must use the Registry Editor for that.

Step 1: Press Windows+R, type regedit, and then click OK to open the System Registry.

Step 2: Copy the following path into the address bar of the Registry Editor window and press Enter:

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\DC\Privileged

Step 3: Double-click the registry entry labeled bProtectedMode.

Step 4: Set the value to '0' and click OK.

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Step 5: Exit the Registry Editor.

Try running Acrobat Reader DC. If it launches properly, you can keep using the program with Protected Mode disabled. However, that makes Acrobat Reader DC less secure. Consider proceeding with the rest of the fixes to resolve the issue fully.

In case you want to check whether reactivating Protected Mode causes the issue to recur, go to Edit > Preferences > Security (Enhanced), and then check the box next to Enable Protected Mode at Startup.

Update Windows 10

Have you updated Windows 10 recently? Running outdated Windows builds often causes issues with applications such as Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

To install the latest Windows 10 updates, open the Start menu, type windows update, and then press Enter. Click Check for Updates and install any pending updates. Restart your computer afterward and try launching Acrobat Reader DC.

Remove and Reinstall

If you still have issues, you must reinstall Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. Before you do that, it's best to use the Adobe Reader DC and Acrobat DC Cleaner Tool to remove the program from your computer completely.

Step 1: Restart your computer.

Step 2: Download the Adobe Reader DC and Acrobat DC Cleaner Tool.

Step 3: Run the Adobe Reader DC and Acrobat DC Cleaner Tool.

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Step 4: Choose Reader.

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Step 5: Click Clean Now to start the removal procedure.

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Step 6: Restart your computer after the Adobe Reader DC and Acrobat DC Cleaner Tool finishes removing Acrobat Reader DC.

Step 7: Download Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

Step 8: Right-click the setup file and select Properties. Under the Compatibility tab, check the box next to 'Run this program in compatibility mode for' and select Windows 8 or Windows 7.

Step 9: Install Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

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Step 10: Restart your computer after the installation procedure.

Try running Acrobat Reader DC. It should likely open without issues.

Back to Work

If you managed to get Acrobat Reader DC to run again, make sure to update it regularly. To do that, open the Help menu and select Check for Updates. Having the latest Acrobat Reader DC updates should minimize the chances of running into similar issues in the future. Don't forget to update Windows 10 often as well.

Next up: Did you know that you could open PDFs in separate Adobe Acrobat Reader DC windows? Here's how to do that.


The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.

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Dilum Senevirathne joined Guiding Tech as a writer in 2018, where his work helps people get the most out of technology. He specializes in how-tos and explainers on topics related to Apple hardware and software, Google web apps, productivity, privacy, and security. Besides GT, Dilum also contributes to iPhone Hacks.