FIX: Adobe Reader fails to install on Windows PCs

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
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fix adobe reader install problems

 How do I fix Adobe Reader install issues?

  1. Open the Program Install and Uninstall Troubleshooter
  2. Download the Software from the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC Distribution Page
  3. Run the Adobe Reader Installer as Administrator
  4. Uninstall Previous Adobe Reader Software
  5. Clear the Windows File System Transaction Log
  6. Turn Off McAfee VirusScan

Adobe Acrobat Reader is the PDF software of choice for many. However, a few users have stated that they can’t install Adobe Reader. When they try to install it, an error message pops up stating: Adobe Acrobat Reader DC did not install successfully. Alternatively, an Error 1935 or 1402 error message might also pop up for some users. Here are a few tips for fixing Adobe Reader software that doesn’t install.

SOLVED: Adobe Reader install does not start

1. Open the Program Install and Uninstall Troubleshooter

Program Install and Uninstall is a Microsoft troubleshooter for fixing software that doesn’t install. So that troubleshooter is worth noting for fixing software install error messages. You can open Program Install and Uninstall as follows.

  • Click the Download button on this webpage.
  • Then click MicrosoftProgram_Install_Uninstall to open the troubleshooter‘s window below.

  • Press the Next button to initiate the troubleshooter.
  • Select the Installing option.

  • Then select the program you need to install or Not Listed, and click the Next button.

2. Download the Software from the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC Distribution Page

Try downloading the Adobe Reader installer again. You can download the software from this distribution page instead. Select your OS from the drop-down menu there, and click the Download now button.

3. Run the Adobe Reader Installer as Administrator

You should always install software as administrator. If your user account is not an admin one, then right-click the Adobe Reader installer and select the Run as administrator option. That will ensure the installer runs with admin rights.

4. Uninstall Previous Adobe Reader Software

Adobe doesn’t support multiple Reader versions on the same desktop or laptop. As such, make sure that you remove any older version of Reader you might have installed before installing the latest AR version. You can uninstall it with the Adobe Reader and Acrobat Cleaner Tool, which is freely available at this page. Alternatively, uninstall Adobe Reader with a third-party uninstaller that will erase leftovers. You can uninstall older versions of the PDF software with Advanced Uninstaller PRO as follows.

  • Click Download Now on this webpage to save the Advanced Uninstall PRO setup wizard.
  • Run the Advanced Uninstall PRO setup wizard to add the software to Windows.
  • Open the Advanced Uninstall PRO window, and click Uninstall Programs.

  • Select your listed Adobe PDF software, and press its Uninstall button.
  • Click the Use the leftover scanner radio button, and select Yes to uninstall.

  • An Application uninstall window will open where you can select leftover files and registry entries to remove. Select the leftovers there and click Next to erase them.
  • Restart Windows after uninstalling the previous Adobe Reader version.
  • Then install the latest Adobe Reader.

— RELATED: How to unblock Adobe Flash content in Edge, Google Chrome and Firefox

5. Clear the Windows File System Transaction Log

If an Error 1935 error message opens when you try to install Adobe Reader, clearing the transaction log might fix it. That install error message can more specifically be due to a corrupted system transaction log. This is how you can clear the Windows file system transaction log in Windows 10.

  • Right-click the Start menu to open the Win + X menu shown directly below.

  • Select Command Prompt (Admin) to open the Prompt’s window.
  • Enter ‘fsutil resource setautoreset true C:’ in the Prompt, and press the Return button.

  • The restart your laptop or desktop.

6. Turn Off McAfee VirusScan

Adobe Reader install error messages can also be due to McAfee VirusScan. So turn off that anti-virus software if it’s installed. Alternatively, you can temporarily remove McAfee VirusScan from the system startup to ensure that it isn’t running when you install Adobe Reader. Note that some other antivirus utilities, such as Comodo and Jiangmin, don’t always recognize the Adobe Reader installer as legitimate.

  • To remove McAfee VirusScan, or other anti-virus utility, from the Windows startup, right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager.
  • Click the Start-up tab to open a list of startup programs as below.

  • Select the McAfee VirusScan utility, and press the Disable button.
  • Then restart Windows before you install the Adobe PDF software.

Those resolutions can fix numerous Adobe Reader installer issues. Then you can get the latest Adobe PDF software up and running in Windows. Remember, however, that there are plenty of alternatives to Adobe Reader; and this article provides further details for the best PDF software.