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May 7, 2009

Fix Firefox crashes when opening a PDF file


Vs. PDF files

(now Firefox 3.5.7)

Update: January 2010. I tried something new. I uninstalled adobe pdf reader completely and installed Foxit Reader. So far it works with Firefox without crashing. There was a slight freeze for about 2 seconds but then it worked. I would like to try it out with more pdf files through Firefox (and both Windows 7 and Vista) before I say this is definitely the way to go, but I thought I would throw out a heads up real quick. If you do not want to wait for me to experiment more or want to read about it, you can get this free at http://download.cnet.com/Foxit-Reader/3000-10743_4-10313206.html?tag=mncol

It is also a fast install without jumping through the hoops that Adobe does. It said it was installing a toolbar but I do not see evidence of one. Do be sure to uncheck the Ebay install by doing a custom install. The program works much like Adobe.

Update: May 20, 2009. Well it was working after I did what I put below. Now it is crashing again. Go ahead and try this but I will post what fixes it this time when I get around to messing with it again. You would think it would stick. Hmph.

Original post:

If you use Firefox on a PC (nothing against Mac, this is just what I use) and have been having problems opening PDF files, this might help. Mine would freeze up any time I opened a PDF link to view with Acrobat. (There is rumor that the latest version of Acrobat does not work with Firefox so I am using 8.0.)

Since the plug-ins offered to bypass this had terrible reviews, I went to the support section of Firefox on this topic (finally) to try and fix this. It took forever going through each troubleshoot. Seems like this is a common problem (yet Firefox is still worth it).  Here is the one that worked for me. One of the others on the list may work for you so do try the link above if this does not work. Just be sure you have a few minutes to kill.

***The following is copied off of their site with my own comments added in green:

(This assumes you have the acrobat reader plug-in installed already. I cannot remember if it comes with it already.)

Re-install the plugin

  1. Close Firefox.( I forgot to do this but it still worked. It just crashed itself so I had to restart it. No harm done.)
  2. Open the Adobe Reader installation folder. This can be done by using Windows Explorer to navigate to C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Reader, assuming Reader 9 is installed in the default location.
  3. Open the Browser sub-folder inside the Adobe Reader installation folder. I use 8.0 at the time of this posting. Just go to whatever version you have where it says Reader 9.0. If you see another folder such as Reader 8.4, see if 8.0 is still there. Likely it will be the non-decimal number.
  4. Copy the nppdf32.dll file (do not be intimidated, it says just that) to the Firefox plugins folder: Right-click the file and then click Copy from the context menu. Then use Windows Explorer to navigate to your Firefox installation’s plugins folder (usually C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\plugins). Then go to the Edit menu and click Paste.You will need to do this through Windows Explorer as well, not directly through Firefox. Go to program files and look for Mozilla Firefox. Make sure you already copied (not cut) the .dll file mentioned above. Just paste it in through right clicking if you want.
  5. Open Firefox and in the address bar type about:plugins to bring up the Firefox plugins list. Or you can just go test this out first on a page that was freezing you up because of a pdf you wanted to open. If you skip this step and it does not work, you might want to go back to this step.
  6. Look for the Adobe Acrobat entry.

If the entry is there, try to view a PDF. If it opens in the browser window, the problem is solved. If not, follow the next set of troubleshooting instructions. It worked for me! I tried several of what was listed and more. One of the others might work for you but I thought I would throw this your way in case you have not run across it yet.

Good luck!

By the way, I am not a Firefox Guru so I will not be  much help solving other problems than this.


  1. Sorry, Virtual Amy. The solution to downloading PDFs with Firefox is much simpler than the solution you’ve offered: get a Macintosh


    Comment by russell — May 13, 2009 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

    • HAHAHA!! Hi Russell. I knew you would not resist. Not so easy if you cannot afford it. Offering? 😉

      Comment by virtuallyamy — May 14, 2009 @ 10:10 am | Reply

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