The Phantom AcroRd Problem

I’m posting this in the hopes that someone knows an easy fix.

I use Adobe Reader XI, absolutely the most current edition, as a default PDF reader (launched in browsers, by Word when I create a PDF, etc.). It’s just fine. EXCEPT

It has a nasty habit of staying running–always as two AcroRd32 processes–after I’ve shut it down. Indefinitely. And chewing up 40-50% of CPU in a lot of cases. Doing nothing, as far as I can tell–at least nothing I want it to do.

Admittedly, my notebook is old (around seven years old) and weak by today’s standard (an early Core 2 Duo CPU, three gig of RAM). Yes, I’ll replace it one of these months…but, in fact, it’s fast enough for pretty much anything I’m doing. Or at least it is when AcroRd32 (two, or four, or six, or eight processes, no applications) isn’t chewing up all the power.

(There’s another slight issue: when I move five PDFs from one directory to another, Adobe Reader seems to think it needs to start up five times, and once I shut it down five times, there are ten AcroRd32 processes…)

Latest example: I started up this morning, coming out of hibernation; noticed that even after the 10 minutes or so it takes for malware to do its scan, the fan was running at a high speed, even though I was just checking email. This surprised me and worried me; I’d really rather not have the notebook burn out before I get around to replacing it.

Finally, just for fun, booted up Task Manager, and voila: two AcroRd processes, using up nearly 50% of CPU, even though the last time I looked at a PDF was around 4 p.m. yesterday. Closed the processes, and within a minute the fan was down to its quietest level (or off altogether–I know I can’t hear it now).

Any suggestions?

One Response to “The Phantom AcroRd Problem”

  1. Heather says:


    Call in SWAT team. Force door. Seize AcroRd32, haul it out in the open and dump it on the lawn. Instruct AcroRd to remain still, face down, with its hands where you can see it. Place 9mm Sig Sauer semiautomatic to base of rear of process’s skull. Ignore its pleas it has a family. Shoot three times. Bury cadaver in ditch.

    Works for me. Haven’t seen it show up in Task Mgr since.

    PS, the above is fantasy of course. I hate that process and want to know how to stop it, too. Enjoy my fantasy. It’s all we have.