One of the most frustrating and annoying programs on my Windows computers used to be the Adobe PDF reader. Back in its early versions it was a fast, light, useful program. Then a few years ago somebody at Adobe drank a bottle of liquid stupid, and the program’s been hurtling downhill ever since.
The problems with the reader are plentiful, but some big ones come to mind. That whole period where the reader basically forced you to install the Yahoo toolbar was a disaster. The current Adobe Updater (forced upon you with Adobe Reader) is even worse. I can’t count the number of times that either the reader, or its updater, has either flat-out crashed one of my machines, or bought it to its knees. I’ve tried every version, right up to the very latest, and the only thing I can say with confidence is: Don’t Upgrade. Whatever problems you might be having with the Adobe PDF reader today, installing a newer & even more bloated version will only make things worse.
That’s the bad news. The good news is, there are some really fantastic alternatives. I don’t use the Adobe PDF reader, or writer, anymore, and you don’t need to either. And even better news: these greatly superior programs are free!
There are a few different alternatives to the Adobe software. You can research & compare them all, as I did, but in this post I’m going to cut to the chase and simply tell you what I use & recommend.
Adobe Reader Alternative
Use the PDF-XChange PDF Viewer. You can download it for free here:
This has all the features of the free Adobe reader, plus a lot more. This one will also allow you to edit PDFs, something that you’d otherwise need to use the paid $$ version of the Adobe reader to do.
Once you have this program installed and you’ve confirmed it works, feel free to go to your Start – Settings – Control Panel – Add or Remove Programs and remove the Adobe PDF reader. You won’t be needing it anymore.
Adobe Acrobat PDF Writer Alternative
Want to create your own PDFs for free? Yep, I thought so. It’s very easy to do. Download and install PDF Creator from here:
This program installs itself as a printer driver on your computer. Now you can generate a PDF from any program at all; word processing, spreadsheet, photo, etc. All you need to do is go File – Print within your program of choice, and select the “PDF Creator” printer instead of your normal printer from the drop-down box. After you hit “print” it’ll ask you for a file name for your newly-created PDF file. Life doesn’t get any easier than that.
That’s it! A couple of free, fast, well-functioning programs for reading, editing & creating PDF documents. Install these two, uninstall the Adobe programs, and you’ll have a smoother-running, more functional, PC.