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 Help in viewing our PDF files

When I try to read the PDF files, all I get is a white box....

There are TWO different and unrelated situations that can cause this problem.

FIRST:  There is a fairly new problem that afflicts users of Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Internet Explorer who have been diligently upgrading their security.

Here's what we know about it.   It relates to a change made via a Microsoft Critical Update to Internet Explorer in March 2005. 

Your personal experience most likely would have been along these lines:

At some time since that Critical Update, a pop-up in Internet Explorer said that an attempt was being made to read "active content" (for some reason Microsoft considers a PDF file to be active content -- we won't even try to explain that logic) from a CD-ROM.  The box asked you to say "Yes" you wanted to read the "active content" material on the CD-ROM, or "No" you did not. 

Also in the popup was a check box that said "Don't ask me about this again." 

The defaults in that popup were "No -- do NOT read active content from a CD-ROM" and "Do NOT ask me about this again."  There are so many boxes like this in Internet Explorer now that you may not have even noticed this particular box the one and only time you saw it, but now, you cannot open PDF files on CD-ROMs using Internet Explorer. 

There are several possible solutions to this problem, and unfortunately none of them are terribly simple.

1.  Try a better browser program than Internet Explorer.  The free FireFox browser from Mozilla does not appear to have this problem, and can be downloaded and installed easily. 

2.  You can use the Windows Explorer program (instead of the Internet Explorer program) to open the CD-ROM, locate the PDF file you want to see (likely in a folder named PDFs), and double-click on that file to open it.

3.  You can open Acrobat Reader on your PC, and then, using Acrobat Reader, open the PDF file on the CD-ROM directly.

4.  You can un-do the problem with Internet Explorer.  Here are the screens you will use to correct the problem.

Step #1:  Load Internet Explorer.

Step #2:  Pull down the "Tools" menu and click on "Internet Options"

 Pull down the Tools menu

Step #3:  Under Internet Options, click on the "Advanced" tab:

 Click the Advanced tab

Step #4:  Scroll down the check boxes until you see the boxes below:

 Check the box to permit you to read PDF files from CD-ROM

Find the first check box in the "Security" section and check the box next to the line that reads "Allow active content from CDs to run on My Computer."  The example above shows the way it should look when you have checked the correct box.

If "Apply" is illuminated (it is greyed out in the example above) click it, then click "OK".

You should now be able to view PDF files from the CD using Internet Explorer.  If it doesn't work the first time, re-start your PC so the change takes effect, then try again.

SECOND:  This problem was reported quite recently by a customer.   This customer DID have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on her PC, and her Windows settings were correct to view a CD.

However, after checking diligently, she determined that the release of Adobe Acrobat Reader was quite an old one -- release 4.0, in fact.

(You can check this by opening Adobe Acrobat Reader, clicking the "Help" tab, and then the "About Acrobat Reader" tab.  The release number will appear in the description of Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

We provide a free copy of Acrobat Reader release 5.0.5 on all our CD -- and if this customer did not already have Acrobat Reader installed, she would have simply installed the version on our CD. 

However, when she realized how old her version of Acrobat Reader was, she visited the Adobe Corporation website (http://www.adobe.com) and downloaded the most current version of Acrobat Reader (version 7.2 in her case).  The download is free, by the way!

Guess what?  NOW she could view the PDF files perfectly!  (Many thanks to Rosemary B. for this helpful report!)


Please let us know your experiences in dealing with this issue.

Did this information help?  Let us know!


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Between the Lakes Group is located at 372 Between the Lakes Road, in Salisbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut.  More specifically, we're in Taconic -- a hamlet  in the Twin Lakes area of the Town of Salisbury.  Questions about us or about our products?  Go to our Frequently Asked Questions page.  

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Post Office Box 13
          Taconic, CT  06079-0013
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