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"Access Denied" error when opening some PDF documents after installing Adobe Reader v10

Karla Marsh


  • WAFS, all versions
  • Any product that opens PDF documents


"Access Denied" error when opening some PDF documents after installing Adobe Reader v10.

(This issue was fixed in v10.1. For more information about Protected Mode, refer to the Adobe knowledgebase article, Protected Mode Troubleshooting. and Known Issues. )


Since this error was resolved in v10.1 and current version is 10.1.2, the best solution is to update Adobe Reader on all computers. Alternatively, you can copy the PDF to your local drive before opening it or, if necessary, disable Adobe Reader's protected mode.

Adobe Reader uses Protected Mode to prevent malware from infecting computer systems, so turning off Protected Mode opens your computer up to viruses passed through PDF documents.


Adobe Reader 10.0 is installed in Protected Mode. Protected Mode protects users by limiting what malicious files can do and access. One of the features of the secure mode is that it cannot open PDF files whose source is distributed file system (DFS) or networked file system (NFS). PDF files in shared locations on DFS/NFS cannot be opened. Attempting to open such a file results in an error opening the document.

Only if upgrading the free Adobe Reader to the version containing the fix is not an option, disable protected mode by completing the following steps:

  1. Within Adobe Reader, clear the Enable Protected Mode at startup check box:
    • If you have a PDF document open, right-click within the document, then click Page Display Preferences.
    • If you opened Adobe Reader from the shortcut, click Edit > Preferences.
  2. In the Categories pane of the Preferences dialog box, click General, then clear the Enable Protected Mode at startup check box.
  3. Close and the reopen Reader.

If you're using Active Directory, you can push it out via Group Policy.

  1. In the Group Policy Management Editor, pick a Group Policy that applies to all users or create a new one.
  2. Click User Configuration -> Preferences -> Windows Settings -> Registry, then create or edit the following DWORD value:
  3. Click Action: Update, then create or edit the following DWORD value in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\10.0\Privileged
  4. Value: bProtectedMode

    Value data: 00000000

(For information about editing Group Policy, refer to the Microsoft TechNet website, Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Multiple Local Group Policy Objectss.

Last Modified: 12 Years Ago
Last Modified By: GlobalSCAPE 5
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