Sometimes you find out about things the very hard way

I will cut to the chase first thing. Windows 7 x64 with Adobe Reader (or full version) and a Xerox Phaser printer don’t play nice.

Recently I sold, delivered and setup a new Windows 7 x64 PC to a client. Things went smooth overall so I Ieft when I thought all the setup was done. I was happy until an hour later when I received a call that client could not open any attachments in email. If they were saved to the desktop they would open just fine. Windows Live Mail was the email program being used before and now.

This caused me to scratch my head but I figured it was most likely the security software. I installed ESET AV, Super Anti-Spyware, Spybot Search and Destroy and Malwarebytes on the machine but I only configured ESET. I use to save a lot of time getting 3rd party needed software and used it to get some of the security programs. Ninite installs the others but I don’t ‘configure’ them. I admit, I do configure ESET pretty tight.

After double-checking the issue, I uninstalled Spybot Search and Destroy and turned ESET’s security down. Tada – I opened a power point and Excel for the customer. Feeling confident, off I went back to other jobs.

That evening I received and email that he still could not open ‘any’ attachments. The office was closed but I had installed LogMeIn. I remoted in and checked, Microsoft Office products opened fine however after snooping around in other emails, it turned out images (JPG) and PDF files would not. I uninstalled all security software, rebooted and the images opened but not the PDF files. I reinstalled the Security software (except Spybot S&D) and tested again with the same results, all items except PDF files would open in email and all items do open when saved to the PC.

In his email another issue reported was the printer was printing gibberish. I had tested it and it was fine during the install. Since I was working remotely I could only tell that when I selected to print, there were no errors appearing.

Since the delivery of the PC was on a Friday I had to wait until Monday to go in. Sure enough PDF’s would not open from emails. Printing everything but PDF’s was fine. Surfing the internet, using BING, Google and started reveling a strange pattern.

The Xerox drivers in Windows were PS (Post Script) not the normal PCL5 or PCL6 I was used to. I tried different drivers from the Xerox generic to UK drivers, all with the same issue printing.

While searching for the PDF print gibberish I was also trying to figure why PDF files would not open in emails but would when saved to the desktop. I was about to download a different PDF reading program. A couple of odd forums mentioned the same issues I had been running across. One suggested it was a Windows 7 x64, Adobe Reader 10 or 11 and Xerox Phaser printer issue.

With that in mind, I uninstalled and reinstalled Adobe, I made sure the Chinese version was there too (this client works with China to bring products to America). I checked for updates and patches and still the same issue.

I unplugged the printer USB, uninstalled the printer, went into the ‘Print Management’ and removed the printers (it was there two times) and driver software (4 different versions by then), and then rebooted the computer.

Now PDF files opened in emails just fine, I tested all other attachments and they still opened fine. I turned up the security a little, still leaving Spybot off the computer, all still worked.

I reconnected the printers USB cable, powered on the printer (I turned it off earlier). When the driver could not be found, I had Windows Update search (yes, I had done this before), this time however it came up with a PCL5 driver. I installed it, did a Windows test print. This time the printing worked with everything, including PDF files.

Now that I had kind of figured out what was going on, I did a search for “Windows 7 x64, Adobe Reader, Xerox Phaser issues”. The jackpot was hit! There were dozens of complaints and issues, in Adobe forums, and all over the internet.

Fortunately a couple of the forums stated to do exactly what I had done and that solved the issue. Some of the complaints and last answers which did not solve the issue were from 2010 and 2011, so this has been going on a long time.

So now I know, and you do too. Windows 7 x64 with Adobe reader and any Xerox Phaser printer is going to cause some strange behavior.

Until we meet again, have a virus free week!

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