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The crash is probably that ADE has somehow got corrupted, or that some OS update has stirred a bug in it.
Even if the book you downloaded is corrupt it wouldn't crash a properly written program: on the other hand, it might well crash ADE.
For non-DRM books (such as Project Gutenberg) I suggest the use of the free Calibre. http://calibre-ebook.com/
Much better than ADE in almost every way ~ only downside I know is it can't handle DRM.
Maybe if you have lots of DRM books and just a couple of free ones it might be worth using ADE for all for consistency.
All your books should be on your PC and unchanged by whatever happened.
They will be readable on any ADE or device that is registered with your Adobe ID (non-DRM ones will be readable on any device).
Always worth backing up any, bought ones esepcially but free ones too just for convenience if you have a crash and lose your main disk.
Your books are NOT held anywhere in the cloud just available for reuse when you move to another computer or move things around on an existing one.
If you uninstall and reinstall ADE you may also need then to deregister (ctrl-shift-D, cmd-shift-D on Mac) and reregister the new copy with your Adobe ID.
When reinstalling ADE I recommend reinstalling the older V1.7.2 as it has many fewer bugs than the recent v2.0/2.0.1.
There are lots of bugs in ADE2.0 (and 2.0.1). Try replacing ADE2.0 with the older but more reliable v1.7.2.
(You can have them both installed at once if you like.)
Version 1.7.2, it is a little difficult to find, available on Adobe site for Windows and for Mac.
The forum software is sometimes corrupting the link above. There shouldn't be a blank in 'editio ns.html'. The following redirects to the same page: http://tinyurl.com/diged172
Some people have found ADE trying to upgrade automatically.
It appears (not 100% sure) that if you install ADE2.0 as a new install (not as an upgrade) that your 1.7.2 will continue to run.
Probably best to say no if 2.0.x installation asks if you want to migrate your library.
I did quite a bit of research in an attempt to figure out the problem with ADE 2.0. The consensus seemed to be that I should delete 2.0 and download the older version just as you advised. Before I did the research I tried to get rid of the 2.0 by downloading it again and seeing if it would either fix the problem or replace it with the new download. That didn't seem to work. I therefore deleted the troublesome 2.0 and left it at that for the night. Today I discovered that the new download was still on my computer (I had thought it didn't even download correctly), so I tried it out and it's functioning correctly. I think at this point I'll wait and see what happens. I used ADE for several months so I'll wait and see how well it continues to tolerate Windows 8 until perhaps Microsoft does something to improve Windows 8 tolerance for ADE. Unless, of course, the problem is with ADE. I must state that Windows 8 seems to have a lot of issues with it. I don't experience problems such as this with my Windows 7 computer. Thanks again for your comments. ADE is not something I know a lot about yet.
Good luck wth it.
For me personally, the killer problem with ADE2.0/2.0.1 is that it has curious issues with Sony ereaders and library books.
With my Sony ereader plugged in, ADE2 won't be able even to read library books, let alone transfer them to the Sony.
Unplug the Sony and ADE can read the books (though obviously not transfer them).
That problem applied on Vista and Windows 8/8.1 ... I've never had Windows 7.
Apart from that issue, ADE2.0 and 2.0.1 have run fine for me on Windows 8/8.1
However, as you will see browsing these forums there are lots of other problems with ADE2 that using 1.7.2 instead has resolved for other users.
Some of these may be operating system related but most are not.
I've got quite a bit of experience with dodgy software, and I put the blame 99% on ADE2.
(I guess much of your research on 'consensus' was different posts in my hate relationship with ADE2.0 as terrible software of the decade.)
To be fair, there is one issue that does seem to be a Windows one and not an Adobe one,
where it is somtimes very difficult to get filetype association to ADE working properly without resorting to third partly file association software.