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Adobe PDF Reader - Internet Explorer 11 ActiveX Control failing with unspecified error.

Jan 22, 2014 7:52 AM

Tags: #acrobat #pdf #browser #reader #plugin #activex #internetexplorer #ie11 #11.06

Hello, I am responsoible for our company's web applications. Part of this application displays PDF files embedded in the browser. Please read the summary of things I have already attempted before offering suggestions. I am posting here prior to raising the issue through CC for Teams support in hopes that someone is aware of a solution or workaround.


Recently, we have received a large number of support requests regarding PDFs no longer displaying in the browser window on Internet Explorer 11 despite current, up-to-date plugins being installed. I have duplicated this problem on several machines now. All are running Windows 7 Professional x64 with IE11, and all Microsoft and Adobe updates are current. I have limited access to test on other combinations of OS; however given the number of our customers who have called us, I am quite confident the issue is widespread.


When attempting to instance the ActiveX control, there is a non-specific error returned: "Error". The following code run in the console displays the message:


try { var ax  = new ActiveXObject("AcroPDF.PDF"); } catch (e) { console.log(e); }


  • I have tested using the latest version (11.06.70) of the plugin installed by either Acrobat XI or Adobe Reader XI. Uninstalling and reinstalling does not fix the issue.
  • I have run the installation repair from the Help menu in both Reader and Acrobat to no avail.
  • ActiveX filtering is not causing the issue. I have verified that it is disabled. The control is not blocked by user preference. I have verified that it is allowed to run on the site in my configuration.
  • Internet Explorer Enhanced Protected Mode is not causing the issue. I have tested in multiple security zones and lowered all IE security settings to the absolute minimum.
  • The instance count of AcroPDF.dll increments when trying to instance the control, so it is being called by IE; "Error" is being returned from the DLL not the OLE Automation Server.
  • Other ActiveX controls can be instanced and run fine, including 32-bit only controls.
  • I have tested the suggested registry change of setting "HCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\TabProcGrowth" (DWORD) to 1 to no effect.


Thanks, anyone for advice.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 22, 2014 10:23 AM   in reply to johnlaur

    What is not clear in your post is whether you are getting the problem from standard use of IE or from attempting to use the AcroPDF plug-in from a custom app. It sounds like both, but I want to be sure I am understanding the problem.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 22, 2014 7:33 PM   in reply to johnlaur

    I don't know if this is in any way related to your problem, but you should at least have a look at it (IE10/IE11):

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 7, 2014 10:34 AM   in reply to johnlaur

    HI, we are also having issues on several workstations involving the ActiveX control for acrobat PDF display.


    Did you ever find the cause or a workaround for this issue?



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 7, 2014 11:13 AM   in reply to tlt

    I fixed this issue by doing the following:

    - Reset IE11 (Tools->Internet options->Advanced)

    - Starting the ActiveX Installer service in services

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 31, 2014 10:27 AM   in reply to johnlaur

    I've got multiple clients with this problem as well. Still no fix other than Resetting IE11?

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