Kick Adobe Reader to the Curb! – Three Free Alternatives

image Without a doubt, Adobe Reader is one of the most hacked pieces of  software – ever. While it’s true that Adobe releases patches and updates to close security holes, they generally appear long after the vulnerabilities have been discovered, and then used to maximum advantage by cyber crooks.

On top of that, this application is the very definition of “bloatware” – slow to load, and packed with features the average user has no interest in.

If you continue to use Adobe Reader, make sure you are using the latest version. Better yet – don’t even consider this program. Instead, choose one of a number of much faster, more streamlined free application such as Foxit Reader, Cool PDF Reader, or Sumatra PDF Viewer.

Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader is a free PDF document viewer and printer. Small and fast, with a rich feature set.


Fast facts:

Incredibly small: The download size of Foxit Reader is only 2.1 M which is a fraction of Acrobat Reader’s 20 M size.

Fast: When you run Foxit Reader, it launches instantly. You are not forced to view an annoying splash window displaying company logo, author names and so on.

Annotation tool: Have you ever wanted to annotate, or comment on, a PDF document. Foxit Reader allows you to draw graphics, highlight text, type text and make notes on a PDF document and then print out or save the annotated document.

Text converter: You can convert the whole PDF document into a simple text file.

Security and privacy: Foxit Reader doesn’t connect to the Internet without your permission. Other PDF readers often connect to the Internet in the background.

System requirements: Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 2000

Download at:

Cool PDF Reader

This viewer has many the features of Adobe Reader, but unlike Adobe Reader, Cool PDF Reader loads PDF files extremely fast. Conversion from PDF to text and graphics formats is included.


Fast facts:

View and Print PDF


Extract PDF to TXT

Support PDF files of all versions

Work with 68+ different languages

Zoom in/out and Rotate page displays

Slide show PDF document with full screen

Small in size, only 650KB

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2008, 2003, 2000. (32-bit and 64-bit support)

Download at:

Sumatra PDF Viewer

Sumatra has a minimalistic design, with its simplicity attained at the expense of extensive features. Sumatra takes up little disk space with an installed size of only 1.2MB, whereas Adobe Reader requires 335 MB of available disk space.


Fast facts:

Sumatra PDF is a slim, free, and open-source.

Portable out of the box. Doesn’t write to registry.

Sumatra has a minimalistic design – simplicity has a higher priority than a lot of features.

It’s small and starts up very fast.

Hyperlinks embedded in PDF documents are supported.

Sumatra is multilingual, with 20 community-contributed translations.

System requirements: Windows 2000/XP/Vista

Download at:

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Open Source, Portable Applications, Software, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

24 responses to “Kick Adobe Reader to the Curb! – Three Free Alternatives

  1. Murphy

    Yes …very good alternative .
    Best regards !

  2. John

    Hi Bill,

    Can you copy and paste big chunks of text and images for instance from these other PDF readers into MS Word or the like.

    It’s the only reason why I have kept Adobe, (because it can) as I was under the impression that I could not do this when I was last using Foxit. Then again I may have been doing something wrong (which is not unusual). Being the full time student that I am I need all the help I can get in being able to copy and paste stuff.


    • Bill Mullins

      Hi John,

      WP was down for hours today, (can’t get your comment when this happens), so my response is not exactly timely.

      Cool PDF Reader allows conversion from PDF to text, and even graphics. As well, there are a ton of free specialty PDF converters out in the wild blue – some will convert directly into Word .doc format. I haven’t used one of these, so I can’t actually recommend one. Google can help with this though. Best,


  3. I use Sumatra, Bill. I used to use Adobe but it’s just too big for the number of times I actually need it.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Paul,

      Adobe is HUGE – I can never figure out why. Sumatra is so tiny, that it’s amazing it can do what it does. The difference between loose and tight coding I guess.



  4. Paf

    Hi Bill, I can only agree with you and I use foxit reader. I will try the other two. Thanks. Cheers.

  5. Liam O' Moulain


    I use Foxit now, and would never go back to using Adobe. What a piece of crapware.


  6. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    On your recommendation, I changed to Foxit months ago, never had a problem with it. It also comes as an extension with Firefox, which makes like easier too.


    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Mal,

      Using the Foxit FF extension makes reading a PDF on the Net a seamless process – gotta love it!


  7. Lee

    How does PDF-XChange Viewer ( not get a mention here? It is better than Foxit, quick, stylish and Free and WAY better than Adobe. I suggest all those who posted in this blog check it out – you really will not be disappointed. It is the best pdf reader I have ever used, allows you to annotate pdf’s and its also available as a portable version – what more could you want …oh and its free!

    • Bill Mullins


      Thank you for pointing out PDF-XChange Viewer, and providing the link.

      I’ve had some limited experience with this worthwhile application, and I encourage readers to check it out by following the link.


  8. g

    The big thing I like about Foxit is when you open up multiple instances, it’s tabbed!

    Foxit – FTW!!

  9. Foxit is really cool. I had tried Sumatra as well earlier, and really like its minimalistic interface, and small memory footprint.

  10. Pasting an Acrobat file into a Word document only works properly if you have the genuine Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your PC, unfortunately. I was embarrassed to discover this in my last job, as I’d replaced Acrobat with Foxit and reported the subsequent problem to the systems support people.

  11. “(…)Lee / / 18 lutego 2010 przy 934: pm | Odpowiedz

    How does PDF-XChange Viewer ( ) not get a mention here? Jak PDF-XChange Viewer ( (…)”.
    Yuup-good choice.:-)
    From greeting.

  12. John

    Yes I’m giving PDF-XChange Viewer a run. It certainly has all the bells and whistles, and also copy and pastes text as I wanted, but I haven’t been able to copy images as yet, don’t know if it is able to or not?

    Also be aware that it tries to add the tool bar.


    • Bill Mullins

      Hey John,

      I took a quick look at it this morning – looks cool. Good tip on the Ask toolbar – saw that as well.


  13. John

    Good advice. Just seen something that Nuance have released which reads pdf’s but also converts them into Word or Excel. It’s free too! I’ll stick with Foxit for the time being though.

    • Bill Mullins

      Thanks for the tip on this John.

      Just did a quick search – looks very interesting. It’s from the same developers as Dragon Naturally Speaking (a terrific app), so I would expect it’s a solid application.


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