Article
Steve Wilson · Oct 13, 2022 3m read

Saving to a PDF file causes Edge to Crash – AcroPDFImpl64.dll fault

I have recently come across a problem saving TrakCare reports as PDF files while using the MS Edge browser on a Windows 10 PC. Whenever a user selected the Save to PDF option the window Tab would crash and reset. The event was trapped and viewable in the Windows Events Viewer and showed a Fault in the AcroPDFImpl64.dll. Even a little research on the Internet showed me that this has been an issue for many and for quite some time – not just in TrakCare, but many other non-InterSystems applications.

The root cause seems to be with a security update that Adobe applied to all their document handling products, such as Acrobat Reader. The update was intended for a “hardening” environment security setup, where all manner of possible vulnerabilities such as document embedded hyperlinks, were controlled by Adobe’s enhanced security. Much of the new security control is set or held in the Windows Registry under the key - HKLM\Software\Policies\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\DC\FeatureLockDown – all the switches under this key are also available under the user key - HKEY_CURRENT_USER (HKCU) – as well but these can be easily modified by the user and so may not be a reliable setting. The user can usually modify settings such as “Protected View” from the Adobe application Preferences settings, as can the “Trusted Sites” browser related setting. For example…

Selecting the “Automatically trust sites…” setting is probably the top solution for our crashing Edge problem. The second most popular solution on the Internet, but one not always available to every user, is to change your browser (Edge) setting for PDF handling…

..changing the “Always Download” can stop your browser from trying to open and view the PDF – often a security violation. The only other solution I could find in all the Microsoft chat groups (that seemed sensible) was to update/reinstall your Adobe application. The logic behind this being that many Windows 10 applications actually stopped using the AcroPDFImpl.dll (and an earlier version) for a newer more Windows 10 security compliant version When I looked at my own Adobe Acrobat Reader and did a "Check for Updates" I got...

...and I was totally unaware of my out-of-date version!

For the issue that drew me to all this research, I discovered that the InterSystems TrackCare 2022 recommended Environment settings for Local Printing included the Microsoft Edge "Extensions" setting (formally referred to as Plugins) with Adobe Acrobat Reader added and set to the default for PDF viewing. This helps the browser open the PDF in an HTML window and so prevents the security problems that the old Adobe ActiveX caused. You can still find the AcroPDFImpl64.dll in the "Adobe\ActiveX" directory somewhere under your "C:\Program Files" directory, with the newer versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader (such as 22.3), so the Reader can still work with older versions of Trak.

In my limited experience the above solutions have not always been enough to stop the crash in Edge and a modification of the registry keys was necessary. An absolutely brilliant document “Recommendations for Configuring Adobe Acrobat Reader” written by the American Governments National Security Agency can be found here…

https://media.defense.gov/2022/Jan/20/2002924940/-1/-1/0/CTR_CONFIGURING_ADOBE_ACROBAT_READER_20220120.PDF

…it goes into great detail about the various options and settings. I recommend reading it.

The section on Privileged Locations mentions a setting that I think in many cases was the problem cause where the key  - HKLM\Software\Policies\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\DC\FeatureLockDown -  and the switch - bDisableTrustedSites REG_DWORD Set to 1 – was overriding the browser setting.

This setting is so Administrators can prevent a user from trusting files and folders with this bDisableTrustedFolders registry key switch.

Footnote: TrakCare users who find that even after following all of the above steps still have a problem saving a PDF locaally, they might want to check the "tc/web" directory and sub-directories for a lack of permissions to some executable tools like the "../iText/printlocalpdf".

I hope this helps others looking at this problem.

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