Using the latest Acrobat should stop cartwheels

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 July, 2004, 12:00am

I have Adobe Acrobat Reader 5 and 6 installed on my laptop, a Sony running Windows ME.

I have both installed because 6 has the Chinese characters for use in Hong Kong and 5 is used for files to and from friends in other countries who have trouble with 6.

The plug-ins for Netscape 4.79 were not activated. All was OK until I downloaded an update for Acrobat 6 and now it wants to view PDF attachments in e-mail but reports insufficient memory (I have 256 megabytes installed). How do I get rid of the 6 plug-in for Netscape 4.79?

Since I have been using a 29 GB USB drive on my laptop (WinME) and desktop (Win98SE) to transfer files they have slowed accessing files on the local hard disks. This is most noticeable in Windows Explorer, File, New, Folder. It seems the operating system is trying to access the USB drives when they are not attached. Any idea what I may do to restore the performance?

Peter Shelley

Hong Kong

When was the last time you updated your software? Most of your problems would appear to be based on you using old versions of the software. Adobe certainly recommends upgrading to Adobe Reader version 6 (the latest version is 6.0.1.). Your browser, 4.79, is very old. Both these upgrades are free.

Windows ME is a different issue. Most of the people I know who use Microsoft are happier with Windows XP Home or Professional than with any previous version. XP should be more stable and perform better.

Upgrading a Microsoft operating system is not always a lot of fun, however. There can be a number of issues with other software and hardware that may not like the new OS. You may need to check with Sony whether there are any compatibility problems.

Another potential issue with an upgrade is the amount of memory in the machine. How much you need may depend on the applications you are running.

Your issues with Chinese in PDF files are interesting. I am not certain if you are producing PDF documents or just reading them. There should be no difference between Acrobat 5 and 6 when reading them. The great thing about PDF files is they contain the fonts of the document, so you need not worry if those who read the file have your fonts.

I think the easiest way to handle reading PDF files would be to upgrade to Acrobat Reader 6.0.1. Adobe's website says: 'PDF files created by earlier versions of Acrobat now open and display properly.' This should solve the problem of reading English and Chinese.

There are many ways to produce PDF files. One is with Acrobat 6 Professional. It is also possible to use other products such as Adobe's InDesign or Sun's Star Office. I produce Chinese-language PDF files using a typesetting application called TeX. The results have been easily displayed with Acrobat 5 and 6.

As for your USB issue, this sounds as if the external drive is not being properly shut down. You should see a little icon with an arrow in the notification area (normally the bottom right corner of your Windows Start bar).

If you right-click on the icon, it should launch a menu that offers to shut down the drive before unplugging it.