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Adobe’s PDF Reader = Memory Hog

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The “Weekly Rant” column was featured in the PC Mechanic Newsletter since 2005. Topics relate to some aspect of technology, which include opinions on hardware, software, new technology, technology companies, and computing standards.

If you’re anything like me, you probably browse the web with a fair amount of frequency.  In your travels, you probably come across PDF files.  When you click on the link for a PDF file, it usually opens Adobe Reader within your browser.  Sometimes it’s handy, and sometimes it just gets in the way.  If you don’t like that, you can always just right click on the link and click “save as” and save the PDF file somewhere to open it in whatever PDF reader you use.  Personally, I like to use FoxIt Reader because it’s very light-weight.

While Adobe did a nice job re-designing Adobe Reader 8, I still don’t like the way it sits in memory sucking up 35MB doing absolutely nothing after opening a PDF file in your browser.  I always end up just killing the process in Task Manager.

So, I finally went ahead and looked around to see if there was a browser plug-in for FoxIt.  If you use Firefox (no, FoxIt and Firefox are not related at all), there is an add-on to allow you to open PDFs with FoxIt (or whatever else you have as a default PDF reader):

Or, you can do it this way without the add-on, which opens the PDF file outside of the browser:

Go to “Tools” > “Options” > “Content” tab, and click the “Manage” button.  Click on the PDF extension, and click “Change Action”.  Choose “Open with the Default Application” or browse for FoxIt Reader if it isn’t listed as default.  Then hit “Close” and “OK”, and you’ll be ready to go.

For Opera, you’ll have to set it so that the PDF file opens outside of the browser.

For IE, it looks like you would have to uninstall Adobe Reader for it to default to the FoxIt reader.  However, I wouldn’t suggest this since FoxIt comes across something it can’t read correctly on occasion.  When that happens, it’s nice to have a backup.  But, for everyday stuff, FoxIt is fine and doesn’t bog down your system or decide to randomly crash your browser.

So there you have it.  Say goodbye to the memory hog!

(Originally published in the pcmech.com newsletter)