I started having a bunch of problems this week with my notebook jumping to 100% CPU usage. It wasn’t just a temporary problem either — at one point, I walked away for 30 minutes. When I returned to my computer, the problem was still there — and my computer was virtually useless.
After a couple times, I realized that the problem occurred shortly after I started Adobe Reader 8. It happened every time that I opened Adobe Reader 8.
I think that Adobe made a very stupid choice in Adobe Reader 8. Prior to version 8, you, the user, had the choice of whether to allow Adobe Reader to contact Adobe’s web site to look for updates. They removed that choice in Adobe Reader 8. Now, when you start Adobe Reader 8, it automatically starts adobeupdater.exe, which presumably attempts to check for updates.
In my case, the program caused a major problem. It immediately grabbed about 98% of the CPU. Unfortunately, the way it hung (or they way it was programmed), it prevented shutting down, prevented rebooting, and even prevented killing the program using Windows Task Manager, WinPatrol or Process Explorer. I had to hold down the power button for about 10 seconds to trigger the shutdown.
I used Process Explorer to figure out where the problem was. I first thought this was an issue with my firewall blocking the "call home" function. I set it to allow AdobeUpdater.exe to call out to the Internet. That didn’t solve the problem.
Next, I actually turned off my firewall
Remember, I’m running behind a router, so this step was much, much safer than if I was connected directly to a cable modem or DSL modem. If you have cable or DSL, get a Linksys WRT54GL or a get a Linksys WRT54G.
That didn’t solve the problem, either. So, I uninstalled Adobe Reader 8, rebooted, and then installed Adobe Reader 7 (which I still had from downloading last year).
Adobe has also changed their downloading process. As of Adobe Reader 8, I haven’t figured out how to download Adobe Reader. All I can do is download a small Adobe program that handles the download and installation of Adobe Reader 8.
After installing Adobe Reader 7, all was well. Well, almost, Adobe Reader 7 felt slow. Adobe Reader 7 still had the ability to turn off checking for updates. You find that option via Edit, Preferences. Then, click the Updates category.
If you have this problem but don’t have an earlier version of Adobe Reader available (Adobe prohibits redistribution, so you should not be able to find it elsewhere on the web), or if you think Adobe Reader has gotten too slow as it got older and larger, you might want to check out Foxit Reader.
I’ve just installed Foxit Reader 2 and find that it’s very fast. The reader itself is free. There are also some nice paid add-on’s to give some of the functions of the full Adobe Acrobat.