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    PDF Preview Handler doesn't work

    Community Member
      Hi, I got this error in the e-mail window:

      This file cannot be previewed because of an error with the following previewer:
      PDF Preview Handler for Vista
      To open this file in its own program, double-click it.

      No more error details are provided.
      Windows Vista x64 + Outlook 2007.
      I tried reinstalling 8.1 update, no success.
      Any clue?
        • 1. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
          I have the exact same problem you are/were having.
          Also running VISTA x64 and Outlook 2007.
          What is the solution to this problem ... anyone?
          • 2. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
            Same for me!!
            Vista 64 bit, Reader 8.1.1. I have this since 4 months waiting for either a fix from MS or Adobe. I've several times installed / re installed the Reader, no change. On the Web there are a lot of people complaining about this. Could someone from Adobe confirm this BUG and provide at least a Statement!
            • 3. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
              Community Member
              I installed the Foxit PDF Preview and it worked, so I would suggest you download and install this; at least until Adobe fixed this problem.
              • 4. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                Community Member
                Thanks a lot !!
                This works great, and the only thing you need is just one .msi containing everything.
                • 5. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                  I have the exact same problem you are/were having.
                  Also running VISTA x64 and Outlook 2007
                  It's incredible Adobe doesn't fix it (from Micro$oft i don't expect anything anymore...:-))
                  • 6. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                    John T Smith MVP
                    >incredible Adobe doesn't fix it

                    Send a bug report... the more reports, the more likely to have a fix

                    • 7. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                      Based on the knowledge base article linked by this blog entry:


                      This is a known issue and it is actually a bug in 64-bit versions of Windows. Apparently there is a patch but in order to work with the patch, adobe must update their product. So originally we were waiting on both parties but now I think we are waiting on Adobe.

                      I have the Vista SP1 RC installed and my gdi32.dll is a version even later than this patch (6.0.6001.17052; 379kb; 11/30/2007), so I guess I have to wait for Adobe to update their previewer to work with the fix provided by the patch and successive versions of gdi32.dll, including the one provided with the SP1 RC.

                      The KB article:


                      • 8. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                        Community Member
                        All I can say is at least the programmers who created the Foxit preview reader got it right the first time, proof that it is actually possible. Quite embarrassing, considering all the resources available to Adobe.
                        • 9. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                          Is there a solution to this problem yet? I have upgraded to 8.1.2 but the PDF Preview Handler for Vista will still not run in Office 2007 (on Vista Business x64).
                          • 10. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                            Community Member
                            The only solution that works for me is to install the Foxit PDF preview handler. It works flawlessly with Vista Home Premium x64 and Office Outlook 2007. The link is posted below.


                            I don't think you will be disappointed.
                            • 11. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                              The newest version, Adobe 9, still doesn't offer the PDF preview functionality on Vista x64.

                              I've installed FoxIt, and it works great. However, it displays the Bookmarks pane which takes up a lot of space when using it in Explorer and hence it isn't use space efficient. Otherwise, it's a great program that's quick to use, and fast and simple to install.
                              • 12. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                I have Windows Vista Business, Outlook 2007, and Adobe Reader 9. The PDF Preview Handler works for almost all of pdf's I receive in Outlook. However, for some reason one particular pdf file I get will not work.

                                The email is from the same source every day, the file has the same name. I can't even save the attachment. I have reinstalled Reader 9 (no luck), I have tried Foxit (same type of error message for this email only).

                                Any ideas?
                                • 13. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                  Community Member
                                  dswain, perhaps you are using 32-bit Vista, so the preview handler doesn't exhibit the issue people are talking about here. It seems you may simply be receiving an invalid PDF from that particular sender.
                                  • 14. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                    John T Smith MVP
                                    >receiving an invalid PDF

                                    I don't remember the details (don't send/receive PDF by email) but I "sort of" remember a previous discussion that an attached PDF is "seen" by some (most-all???) email software as a "text" file due to the first few bytes... so a particular attachment coding is used... but the file is actually not text, and the attachment coding then corrupts the file

                                    I do remember the solution... Tell the sender to ZIP the file and send that via email
                                    • 15. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                      Community Member

                                      If I understood you correctly, I know exactly what you are talking about. This is actually a problem with the way Outlook deals with attachments with the same name. To fix it, you need to clear your cache. I know it sounds weird, but here is some technical information about it:

                                      Let's say you constantly get an email with an attachment called "This001.pdf" (I get this from my Xerox WorkCenter each time I scan something). When you open it in Outlook, it stores it in the Outlook Temp folder which is in your Internet cache. When you open the next email that contains another This001.pdf, Outlook will open it, but in the background, it appends a number making "This001 (1).pdf". This number keeps incrementing until it reaches "This001 (99).pdf". After (99), Outlook is unable to increment the number and hence starts giving you errors when attempting to open or even save it. To see this for yourself, go to your Outlook Temp folder and you will find the 99 versions of "This001 (xx).pdf". The second you delete this, it should work.
                                      • 16. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                        Community Member
                                        AakashShah - That was a fix but had some issues!

                                        I cleared cache, rebooted and it still didn't work. I did a search for Outlook Temp and saw what you described above (99 versions of the file). I attempted to delete these files but it said they could no longer be found. I went back to Outlook and was now able to preview the pdf's. I ran the search for Outlook Temp again and saw four versions of the file still remaining...(55), (56), (60), (62). I can't open or delete these files. I also don't see the Temporary Internet Files folder on the path below (where the files are supposed to exist)

                                        c:\Users\Admin\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\xxxxx

                                        Anyway, I don't understand the remaining issues but it looks like your suggestion has solved my immediate problem. Thanks!!!
                                        • 17. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                          Community Member
                                          The Temp folder is "super hidden". To view this, go to:
                                          Organize | Folder and Search Options | View tab and de-select Hide protected operating system files. This should allow you to view the Temp folder.

                                          Also, make sure you close out of Outlook and any other programs that may use Outlook (any search programs, etc). This may let you delete the remaining files.
                                          • 18. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                            Has anyone discovered a solution to this issue? The Foxit PDF Preview Handler was working just fine until I recently bit the bullet for Acrobat Pro Extended, only to find that the preview handler no longer works on my Vista x64 system. Like other contributors, I have Office 2007 installed.

                                            Upon reinstalling the Foxit PDF Preview Handler (which worked again), various Acrobat functionality was no longer present in Office programs (e.g. Save As > Adobe PDF in Office 2007 program 'button' menus) AND a window popped-up stating that Acrobat detected an error and offered a 'repair' option. Being that I want to have operational, expensive software, I chose 'repair,' which beyond taking an exorbitant amount of time and processing, fixed Acrobat and un-fixed the preview handler.

                                            This is not FUN, abode! I know your heart pumps Macintosh blood, but if you want to poise as cross-platform, I'd like to see some action on this 26-month-and-counting bug. I could deal before I spent $700, but now it's making me mad! And I'm being generous on the 26-month figure since that's how long the VISTA preview handler functionality has been PUBLICLY available... no doubt Adobe had access to the code a year or more in advance of that. This is clearly not a MS issue since Foxit seems to have their head on straight... and their heart in the right place. Oops, did I say that?

                                            You can check VISTA development dates here:
                                            • 19. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                              Community Member
                                              In case anyone wants to let Adobe know that you agree, please file a bug report here:

                                              You'll have to fill-out your exact data, but feel free to use my comment (change # of months accordly from August, 2008):

                                              Concise problem statement: PDF preview handler does not work for 26+ months now.
                                              Steps to reproduce bug:
                                              1. Open email with PDF attachment in Outlook 2007
                                              2. Click PDF attachment tab for previewing
                                              3. Observe error: "This file cannot be previewed because of an error with the following previewer: PDF Preview Handler for Vista"
                                              Results: Form frown on face
                                              Expected results: If Foxit can do it, Adobe should be able to too.
                                              • 20. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                                I have the exact same problem as D Spinnacer using Acrobat 9.0.0 Pro Extended on a Vista x64 machine. I also have Office 2007 installed as well as Adobe CS4 Master collection (entire suite except InDesign CS4 - I need to finish a project in InDesign CS3 first)

                                                On top of it all Acrobat now closes 5 seconds after opening any .pdf - resident file or email attachment.

                                                Herm Westendorp
                                                • 21. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                                  Community Member
                                                  My advice is to use Foxit Reader instead. It's much quicker and only about a 4 MB download.
                                                  • 22. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                                    RogerWilson@AlpineBlue Community Member
                                                    It's now 33 months!

                                                    Anyone with an open case have anything they can share?
                                                    • 23. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                                      I had the same problem on my Vista 64bit.
                                                      I've just installed the 'Foxit PDF Preview Handler'.

                                                      It works perfect in Outlook 2007 and in the Windows Explorer !!!

                                                      • 24. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                                        I found a solution that worked on my PC. I found out that PDFPrevHndlrShim.exe was not running in Windows processes. I then located PDFPrevHndlrShim.exe (C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat) and double clicked on it. Voila! Now it works.
                                                        • 25. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                                          I ran "PDFPrevHndlrShim.exe" as described, verified that it was running in the process list and still no joy ):
                                                          • 26. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work

                                                            Same problem, same operating system, same outlook. How is it possible that Adobe doesn't repair the bug?


                                                            ADOBE COME ON!!!

                                                            ADOBE COME ON!!!

                                                            ADOBE COME ON!!!

                                                            ADOBE COME ON!!!

                                                            ADOBE COME ON!!!

                                                            ADOBE COME ON!!!

                                                            ADOBE COME ON!!!

                                                            ADOBE COME ON!!!

                                                            ADOBE COME ON!!!

                                                            • 27. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work

                                                              This is a problem only for x64 platforms… in the same machine I have 2 drives with exactly the same configuration except that one drive runs Windows 7 x32 and the other Windows 7 x64. The preview handler of adobe does not work only when I run Windows 7 x64!

                                                              As I see this problem is around for years with vista x64 and adobe has done absolutely nothing. And won't do for the years to come. For some reason adobe does not like much x64 platforms.  With the recent exception of photoshop no other product of adobe has a x64 flavor…

                                                              • 28. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work

                                                                I am having a similiar problem with Vista x32.  The preview handler is able to display the pdf, but the fields that were filled in prior to the email are not showing any values, but when you open the pdf with reader the values are there.  Below is a more detail account of what is happening.  I have contacted the third party dll as well, but thought someone here might have an idea too.


                                                                I have a client that is using the a thrid party PDF dll (Syncfusion) to generate and email PDFs reports. There seems to be an issue with the PDFs that are generated and using the built-in PDF Preview Handler for Vista. The scenario is ...

                                                                1. User receives an email into Outlook that contains a generated PDF (see image ''01-Opening-Email.jpg'')


                                                                2. User clicks on the attachment in Outlook and the preview handler starts up (see image ''02-Loading-Previewer.jpg'')


                                                                3. The PDF displayed in the preview handler does not have any of the fields filled out (see image ''03-Report-Loaded-In-Viewer.jpg'')


                                                                4. User then right clicks on the PDF (in outlook) and selects to open the PDF with Adobe Acrobat Version 9.0 and the report is displayed with all the fields filled out (see image ''04-Report-Opened-With-Adobe.jpg'')

                                                                All of these images are included in the attachment that I have uploaded with this incident. As well, in the RAR file is the PDF that was sent by the system using the PDF dll from Syncfusion. Please let me know if you need any more information from me.


                                                                • 29. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work
                                                                  mschaffer Community Member

                                                                  Installed Windows 7 RTM 64 bit with Outlook 2007 and Adobe Acrobat 9 standard.

                                                                  The PDF preview handler still doesn't work.

                                                                  • 30. PDF Preview Handler x64: WORKING FIX
                                                                    Leo Davidson Community Member

                                                                    I looked into this today and discovered a simple fix for the problem:




                                                                    I built a workaround into my own software which uses the Adobe PDF preview handler but you can make a simple registry change to fix the problem in Outlook and Explorer as well.


                                                                    I thought I'd share it with everyone as it doesn't look like Adobe are going to fix it themselves.

                                                                    • 31. Re: PDF Preview Handler x64: WORKING FIX
                                                                      Entropy1963 Community Member

                                                                      Thanks Leo… it did the job…

                                                                      Would you by any chance know something similar for previewing Office 2003 files in the Windows explorer?

                                                                      (I am running Windows 7, x64)

                                                                      Thanks again…

                                                                      • 32. Re: PDF Preview Handler x64: WORKING FIX
                                                                        Leo Davidson Community Member

                                                                        Only thing I know that will view Office 2003 files in Windows Explorer is Office 2007 (or 2010 presumably).


                                                                        There are alternative file managers which can view Office 2003 files using earlier versions of MS Office, or OpenOffice (free) or things like QuickViewPlus. Even there, though, if you want top-notch Office document previewing then Office 2007 is the best because it is the first version of Office to come with proper file viewing components for other tools to plug-in.

                                                                        • 33. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work - FIX for XP-32 / Office 2007

                                                                          I am running Windows XP 32-bit with Office 2007 and had been able to preview PDF's without a problem until recently when it began displaying an error (detailed in previous posts).


                                                                          I was able to resolve the problem by running Microsoft Office Diagnostics.


                                                                          From within Outlook, click Help/Office Diagnostics


                                                                          This ran for about 10 minutes and although it stated that it did not detect any problems, I am now able to preview PDF's once again.


                                                                          Good luck.

                                                                          • 34. PDF Preview Handler-I give up!
                                                                            HHSDebbie Community Member

                                                                            I have given up on this problem. I have tried all the suggestions offered to fix the preview problem, and have emailed Adobe several times. I've returned to using "Thumbs Plus" a wonderful program (by Cerious Software). My pdf thumbnails display beautifully in this program, and it shows your thumbnails MUCH faster than Explorer. Debbie Knight

                                                                            • 35. Re: PDF Preview Handler doesn't work



                                                                              please visite this site it works fine for me "vista 64x"

                                                                              • 36. Re: PDF Preview Handler x64: WORKING FIX

                                                                                I used the same fix as Leo on Outlook 2007 and Windows 7 64 bit and it worked - I did the manual regedit with no issue.  Just waited a few minutes then went to different email with pdf attached and preview worked just like it used to before the windows upgrade





                                                                                • 37. Re: PDF Preview Handler x64: WORKING FIX
                                                                                  CK4045 Community Member

                                                                                  Dear Leo. I have tried the change of key value in the registry by regedit command. It has SOLVED the preview problem of pdf files in outlook 2007. I am running 64 bit verstion of windows 7.



                                                                                  • 38. Re: PDF Preview Handler x64: WORKING FIX

                                                                                    Thanks Leo! Your solution at:




                                                                                    ...Worked on both Win 7 x64 machines we tried it on here.


                                                                                    How on earth do you know where to find these things in the registry? You should be called Neo rather than Leo!


                                                                                    Thanks again for the fix.

                                                                                    • 39. Re: PDF Preview Handler x64: WORKING FIX
                                                                                      Jyea Community Member

                                                                                      Hello, I tried this fix and it did not work. I have Acrobat Pro v9 and not reader, so I am not sure if this is the same fix.  Also, I am using W7 Pro

                                                                                      x64.  Much thanks!  So confusing that this is an issue and Adobe hasnt fixed it.

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