Adobe offers old software for Windows 7 users

This is very strange. If you’re running a recent build of Windows 7 (I don’t know whether it happens with the January Beta, Build 7000), and you go to Adobe’s website to download the free Adobe Reader, here’s what you’re offered:


The latest version of Adobe Reader? I think not. Reader 7.0.9 was released in January 2007. The latest version is 9.1—or, if you prefer the 8.x versions then you can get 8.1.3.

If you download the version you’re offered and then try to install it, here’s what you see:


I suspect that this glitch is caused at least in part by the User-Agent string that IE8 (in Windows 7) sends. Using IE8 on Windows Vista, Adobe offers me Adobe Reader 9.1, and when I used a free utility to change the UA string for IE8 in Windows 7 to match the UA string from Vista, I was sent to the correct page. (Update: I get sent to the wrong page using Firefox as well, so the most likely explanation is that the Windows NT 6.1 part of the User-Agent string is confusing Adobe’s back end. And indeed, when I change a single character in the U-A string, reporting the versions as NT 6.0 instead of 6.1, everything works fine.)

Adobe, if you’re listening, you might want to fix this soon, as a lot of people are going to be running a fresh build of Windows 7 real soon now.

12 thoughts on “Adobe offers old software for Windows 7 users

  1. These methods are used in lots of places now – I guess the theory being that it is better to make a decision for the user that is most likely to do the job, in this case an older version is more stable and likely to work?

    It would be better to give more information to the user offering a possible recommended version and then an alternative. Or at least the option to override..

  2. Don’t know many people who install & run Adobe Acrobat Reader through choice…. Mostly they use it because it comes standard on corporate laptops, or because to them, the phrase “pdf reader” is synonymous to Adobe Acrobat.
    Acrobat Reader is the best example of bloatware out there – its footprint is huge ; it takes many seconds just to load up on a standard PC. There are many simpler, lighter, cleaner readers out there..

  3. Ed:
    I installed Windows 7 Beta 7000 on two test machines, one 32bit and the other 64bit, when it was first released. I also installed Adobe Reader. The version that downloaded and installed then was Adobe Reader 9.0.0. It has since been updated to 9.1.0 on both.

    Unlike some of the commenters I do not install Foxit or other PDF readers on beta macines. Why? I am testing W7 to learn about it and to see what my clients will experience when it is generally available. Most, perhaps all, OEMs, will pre-install Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash, as well as Sun’s Java. OEMs are unlikely to pre-install Foxit.

  4. Foxit Reader is not Unicode compatible (and it is irritating when you’re working with something that’s not in English). Adobe Reader will be preinstalled on most machines, so duh.

  5. The default Foxit Reader installer offers an unwanted toolbar to the user and tries to set the default search to You can find a clean version of it, but it takes some work. On modern hardware, current versions of Adobe Reader are not particularly resource intensive. It loads in less than a second here.

  6. Ahem, the current 8.x version of Adobe Reader is 8.1.4. I know, it’s only available as a patch for 8.1.3, but even so….

  7. Foxit certainly wins when it comes to old hardware – P3 machines running on 256 MB RAM. Tabbed Viewing is another area where Foxit has innovated but it is yet to catch up with masses. Another reason Foxit gained traction in my eyes was Adobe`s decision to bundle Adobe Air and Acrobat Online with Adobe Reader (starting with version 9), and no way to opt out of their installation.
    But Adobe has since mended its ways(with version 9.1) and surely it handles following stuff better than Foxit:
    1. Forms 2. Searches 3. Unicode Chracters 4. Update Mechanism(try launching Foxit update and then try to decide what you need and what you dont; very confusing) 5. Preview Handling in Outllook 2007.

  8. Yeah, ditto here.

    I’m not overly fond of Adobe’s shenanigans, but Adobe Reader is a “standard” item for me also. I never found Foxit or any other reader to be an adequate substitute for the real deal.

    If Adobe priced the standard authoring software a bit cheaper, I might actually spring for it. If you consider -$150 ‘a bit cheaper’.

  9. I think it is utter bullshit that PDF files can be readable by default on a Mac, but not on Window, “because that would be a monopoly abusing move.”

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