Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Fresh Gear: A less bloated, more stable PDF reader

I read lots of PDF files, but I've been annoyed lately by some glitches with Adobe's Acrobat Reader software. Among the reasons the Acrobat Reader annoys me:

  • It's huge by any measure. It's a large download, it takes lots of memory, and has a large disk footprint.
  • It's not very stable. When I open PDF's from within my browser (any flavor of browser), Acrobat reader often misbehaves. Sometimes, it causes my CPU utilization to spike to 100% (with the AcroRead.exe process taking 99% of that). Sometimes, it grabs a hunk of memory and won't let it go. In either case, I have to forcibly terminate the process with Windows to recover.
  • It "phones home" all the time. Adobe installs an update checker that constantly bugs me to update the software (and no, these problems don't seem to get any better even after the updates). Along with that, it recommends a bunch of other products that it thinks I might want to download.

A few weeks ago, I went looking for a better alternative, and I think I've found it. The alternative is called "Foxit Reader v2" and I've been running it for about 3 weeks with none of the problems I used to have with Acrobat Reader. It's free, and there are versions for Windows, Linux, and Windows Mobile use.

If you're a Windows user and you've seen some of the clunky annoyances I describe above, check out the Foxit Reader.

  • It's a smaller download (1.65 MB for Windows).
  • It takes up less room on your hard drive.
  • It's very stable.
  • It checks for updates when you tell it to (via a menu command).
  • It has all the functionality you need to read, print, fill out forms, etc. with PDF files.
  • And, again, it's free.

How can they offer this free? Foxit apparently has some additional utilities they sell, such as those for creating, editing, and otherwise manipulating PDF's - they use those utilities to pay the bills.

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