Toyman! MegaDork
6/20/22 2:59 p.m.

My irritating office computer. 

Acrobat and PDFescape are once again being very laggy and freezing when viewing large sets of plans. 

Memory at 30%

CPU at 20-30%

The only standout is whichever program is misbehaving shows Very High Power Usage. 

How do I fix this beyond pitching the entire thing in the trash and starting over? 

Will a power supply solve this issue or is this a symptom of something else? 


Toyman! MegaDork
6/20/22 3:02 p.m.

A little more info. 

Just opening the plans isn't an issue. They will open and scroll from one end to the other. 

The problems start when I try to zoom in to see details or zoom in to print a specific area. At that point, everything comes to a screeching halt. 

Toyman! MegaDork
6/20/22 3:07 p.m.

At this point, Acrobat is locked up. The only way to exit is to kill it with the task manager. I have deleted the software and reinstalled it.

 The top line is Acrobat. 2nd is Chrome, 3rd is Quickbooks. 


Cheeks New Reader
6/20/22 3:11 p.m.

specs on the computer? 


win10 can be a bit of a resource hog, it might just be beating it up initially 

Toyman! MegaDork
6/20/22 3:21 p.m.

In reply to Cheeks :

It's a Lenovo IdeaCentre 720 with a mostly empty terabyte drive.

Device name    EESServer
Processor    AMD Ryzen 5 1400 Quad-Core Processor              3.20 GHz
Installed RAM    32.0 GB
System type    64-bit operating system, x64-based processor
Pen and touch    No pen or touch input is available for this display

alfadriver MegaDork
6/20/22 3:45 p.m.

I had that happen on a home computer, and the best suggestion I could find via googling- it was loading and installing updates.  Which are getting much bigger and more often.

Toyman! MegaDork
6/20/22 4:02 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

This one I let update automatically. As of 7:44 am this morning it is up to date. 

Acrobat I dumped, downloaded, and reinstalled. 

GameboyRMH MegaDork
6/20/22 4:05 p.m.

It's Acrobat's fault. Upgrading the PSU won't help, if your PSU is insufficient, the computer won't perform poorly, it will lose power suddenly when the PSU's internal circuit breaker trips. Had that problem before when I ran a twin video card SLI setup.

The only workaround is to change the software or its settings - Acrobat probably doesn't have any settings that would help, and if it's already up to date then that's not an option either. You may need to look into different software to do the same thing, maybe evince for looking at huge PDFs?

aircooled MegaDork
6/20/22 5:02 p.m.

I would wonder if it's the construction of the PDF.  PDF's can be wildly complicated / large, depending on how they where created / output.  E.g. a PDF could be a simple jpg picture, a string of text, or a 1000 layer CAD or Illustrator file with huge bitmap's imbedded.

Have you tried some other (older) PDF's to see if they do the same thing?  It might be an output issue.

Also, are you using full Acrobat or just reader?  Full Acrobat has an option to Optimize a PDF.

You could play with using a non-Adobe reader (is Foxit reader still a thing?)

Toyman! MegaDork
6/20/22 6:05 p.m.

In reply to aircooled :

I have also used the desktop version of PDFEscape. It behaves the same as Acrobat.

I am not using the pro version of Acrobat.  

On smaller files, I'm not having any issues. Just the large plan sets. Unfortunately, there is no way to download it in sections.

The PDFs in question are probably a converted CAD set of plans. As a PDF they are in the 30 to 50 mb range. Today's set is 55 pages and 33mb. 



aircooled MegaDork
6/20/22 6:22 p.m.

Anyway to get them to re-export them?  Maybe as more of a flat file (no layers)

I know in exporting PDF's from Illustrator, you can set them to maintain editable layers, which I am sure makes them much heavier to view.

Also, you might try corresponding with anyone else viewing these files and see if they are having the same issue.  That would provide a bit more backing to get them to re-export them.

procainestart Dork
6/20/22 10:19 p.m.

Couple thoughts:

We've had issues in the past with files that have tons of contour elements (isopachs). The calcs to render them completely drag down the computer, even though file size is reasonable. Last time we had the issue, the solution was to create rasters of all contour layers and replace them -- not sure if that's feasible, though, and it sounds like the plan set maybe came from outside your org. Also not certain that's the problem. In a pinch, we've opened sheets into Photoshop and exported the entire sheet as a raster, just to get it to open.

Another possible issue is if whoever exported the drawings has set PDFSHX (or EPDFSHX) incorrectly in AutoCAD, which basically generates a PDF comment for every callout. When this happens in a large plan set, you can end up with thousands of comments, which can also bog things down.

Toyman! MegaDork
6/21/22 9:49 a.m.
procainestart said:

Another possible issue is if whoever exported the drawings has set PDFSHX (or EPDFSHX) incorrectly in AutoCAD, which basically generates a PDF comment for every callout. When this happens in a large plan set, you can end up with thousands of comments, which can also bog things down.

This could be it. When the file is opened in PDF Escape there are hundreds of comments, each with its own bubble. I've got a meeting at 10 but I'll look into this after. 


Toyman! MegaDork
6/21/22 10:55 a.m.

The current set of plans I'm working with has 10178 comments. It looks like every bit of text on the plans is inserted as a comment. As soon as I try to do anything with the comments Acrobat locks up. PDF Escape is slightly better. 

Using procainestart's information, I was able to use PDF Escape to convert the PDF to images. Once done I can do whatever I need with them. It's kind of a clunky workaround but it's better than nothing. Luckily I only need information off of 2-3 pages to get what I need. 

I will have to experiment with converting to other types of documents to see which one works best. PDF Escape will convert to images, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, HTML, txt, RTF, and PDF/A. 


If anyone else has ideas or a more streamlined fix, let me know. 


procainestart Dork
6/21/22 5:21 p.m.

Wow, "only" 10k comments? surprise Yeah, whoever exported those needs to fixify their settings. We stipulate to external providers of drawings that we'll reject them if they arrive berkeleyed up like that.

Sorry, I don't know much about other PDF apps (a little about Foxit, is all). Does anyone you work with have Acrobat Pro?

Here are a few ways to nix comments with Pro (and perhaps other full-feature PDF apps??):

  • Optimize PDF
    File > Save as Other > Optimized PDF; in the Discard User Data section, tick Discard all comments, forms, and multimedia, click OK, and save.
  • Acrobat Pro "action"
    If for some reason that doesn't work you can also create an "action" (a no-code script that takes just a few minutes to set up) that will delete all of the comments.
  • Manually select all comments and delete
    Finally, you might be able to click the first comment shown, scroll down to the very last comment, hold Shift and click the last comment to select them all, then press Delete. I say "might" because I'm not sure if it'd work without bogging down while scrolling to the last comment.


jharry3 Dork
6/21/22 5:36 p.m.

Run Disk Cleanup.  Just type that into the command space at bottom left.   Then re-run it and choose "Clean up system files".  

Make sure all the boxes are checked both times.

Its amazing how many gigabytes of junk accumulate from updates alone.  

OHSCrifle UltraDork
6/22/22 6:01 a.m.

If you "print" a fresh PDF from the current one (create another pdf) you should be able to select some output options.. Including printing just one or two sheets from the current document if it is just too big and slow. 

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