Adobe Reader XI Released – Enhanced Tools And Security

Adobe Reader XI released with new features – how to install and secure it against attack by infected PDF files. Adobe today released a completely new version of Adobe Reader – the popular free PDF file viewer. Adobe Reader XI (version 11) is a stand-alone program but it also installs an add-on or extension into web browsers to let you open or save PDF files directly from webpages.

We’ll review the main new features of Adobe Reader XI, how to download/install it and how to strengthen its security.

Main Features

  • Support for OS X Mountain Lion and Windows 8 with new ‘touch-mode’ for tablet interaction
  • Create PDF or Export PDF files to Word and Excel online
  • Comment using PDF Annotator – full commenting features.
  • Store files on Acrobat.com for access from multiple devices.
  • Enhanced Protected Mode now includes data theft prevention capabilities.
  • Protected View (not enabled by default, see later section) provides an additional layer of defense. To avoid potential security risks from files originating from unsafe locations, in the Protected View most features are disabled – you can view the PDF, but not do much else.

Download Adobe Reader XI – download the latest Adobe Reader 11 as a web installer from Adobe here – remember to untick the bundled McAfee Security Scan if you don’t want it. After installing Reader XI, follow the steps listed in the section on securing XI below.

Tip: If you want to download the full installation file (c 36MB), download the .EXE version for your language from Adobe’s FTP site here – en_US is the English version.

Install Adobe Reader XI – During installation, Adobe Reader 11 will automatically uninstall the previous version of Reader (if present) – you don’t need to uninstall it yourself first. The installation process offers you a choice of how to update Adobe Reader in future as shown below:

reader11a

Choosing ‘Install updates automatically’ is the recommended choice so that you can be sure you receive security updates and improvements as soon as they are released.

How To Make Adobe Reader XI More Secure – The following steps can help further secure Adobe Reader 11 against attack by virus infected PDF files:

  • Open Adobe Reader XI – in the menu bar select ‘Edit’ then ‘Preferences’
  • Enable the new Protected View – click on the Security (Enhanced) category and in the Sandbox Protections section set Protected View to ‘Files from potentially unsafe locations’ for better security or ‘All files’ for best security as shown below:

reader11b

  • Disable Windows Trusted Sites – still in the Security (Enhanced) category, UN-tick ‘Automatically trust sites from my Win OS security zones’ as shown above.
  • Disable JavaScript – click on the JavaScript category and UN-tick ‘Enable Acrobat JavaScript’.
  • Secure Trust Manager – click on the Trust Manager category and UN-tick ‘Allow opening of non-PDF file attachments with external applications’.

Click OK to apply your changes – a warning message appears to confirm you want to change the Enhanced Security Preferences – click OK to finish.

Protected View – If you enabled Protected View, a yellow bar displays on top of the Reader window when viewing a PDF. Click ‘Enable All Features’ if you want to exit the Protected View as shown below:

reader11c

Viewing PDF Files in Google Chrome – Unlike other web browsers, Chrome includes its own PDF viewer – so (in theory) you don’t need a separate PDF viewer like Adobe Reader XI. However, this can lead to problems – Chrome’s PDF viewer is extremely basic and doesn’t work on some PDF files.

See our guide on how to fix problems viewing PDF files in Chrome – to view them with Adobe Reader XI instead.

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