Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Remove Acrobat Toolbar Plugin From Outlook and Office

After installing Acrobat Reader or Professional, a toolbar surfaces in Microsoft Office applications. It wouldn't be so bad except that even when you select to remove the Plugin, it comes right back after the office application restarts. Worse yet, the toolbar puts itself on a new line each time, reducing the usable window size.
Adobe Toolbar Plugin

Since I rarely use this toolbar and would rather open Acrobat explicitly to use the print, email, or save as PDF features, I got rid of the toolbar. Adobe doesn't make this easy, forcing the toolbar to always be visible, unfortunately you have to modify the windows registry. Warning, don't casually modify the windows registry; since it effectivley controls Windows and most applications.

1. Begin by closing the office applications.
2. Then click start, Run, and type: regedit
3. Browse to the below registry keys and delete each one.

Note that HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE is referenced as HKLM in regedit.

Outlook
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Adobe\Acrobat\PDFMaker\7.0\Outlook\AttachAsPDF
    Value Name: OutlVisible

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Adobe\Acrobat\PDFMaker\7.0\Outlook\EmailToPDF
    Value Name: OutlVisible


Excel
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Excel\Addins\PDFMaker.OfficeAddin Value
    Value Name:
    LoadBehavior
Word
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins\PDFMaker.OfficeAddin
    Value Name:
    LoadBehavior


Acrobat Reader is Slow to Open

When Adobe starts, the application scan its plugin folder. Each API file that is here is loaded into the application, taking additional load time and much more memory. You can safely prevent Adobe from using these. The developers and product managers at Adobe stuffed several goodies which most end-users rarely use. I recommend getting rid of most of these with the exception of Searching & Form entry.

DWTips posted this, but I found the steps slightly different, here is what I recommend::
  1. Close Adobe if it is open.
  2. Browse to the folder C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Acrobat\plug_ins
  3. Create a new folder named Optional
  4. Move all files (.api files) to Optional, except EWH32.api, Search.api and AcroForm.api.
Now Adobe should starts much quicker.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cannot run an application: Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file.

This error was most frustrating when trying to help people remotely. After giving them the files through IM (MSN Messenger) however they are unable to run the install application I give them. This is apparently a built in protection from XP or IM.

The file has an attribute which prevents Windows from executing it.

Right click on the executable and choose "Properties" and look to the bottom of the "General" tab. Click the "Unblock" button provided. Now you should be able to run the application.

Friday, April 28, 2006

svchost.exe Hangs and Automatic Update hangs

Here is a Windows problem which had me spun for a few hours on two occasions.

Symptoms Overview:
The system is slow and svchost.exe is taking 50%+ CPU (or 100% CPU on a non-HT machine).
Windows update (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/) hangs .
See below for detailed diagnoses.

Cause:
A previous Windows Update was prematurely terminated. Windows Update is attempting to failing to recover the session and the partial downloads. It is stuck in a loop in the recovery and determining where to continue the downloads.

Solution:
  • Stop and terminate the Automatic Updates (svchost.exe) process.
  • Delete all files and folders in C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution). Windows Update will automatically obtain all the files it needs later.
  • Start the "Automatic Update" service.
  • Retrieve the latest Windows Updates from Microsoft.
You should no longer have the CPU usage problem with svchost.exe.

Detailed diagnoses - Confirming the symptoms
1) Turn off Automatic Updates and BITS. Do this from Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services. Find "Automatic Updates" and "Background Intelligent Transfer Service", right-click and Stop these two services.
2) If stopping the service takes a long time and eventually fails you have a problem with the Windows Update.

Terminating svchost.exe
Terminate the svchost.exe process which is slowing your system.
Steps:
a) Hitting Ctrl-Alt-Delete, select Task Manager.
b) Click on the "Processes" tab and sort the processes by name by clicking the "Image Name" column header.
c) Select the line which Find the svchost.exe process which has a non 0 value (i.e it is taking up CPU ticks), and then click "End Task".

Your CPU usage should be back to normal at this point.


Environment:
I've only encountered this on Windows 2003 server, but it could potentially exist with any version of windows since its actually a flaw with Automatic Updates.

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