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Fixing PDF Preview in Windows 7

A simple fix to make PDF preview work in 64-bit Windows 7

Windows 7 has a nifty file preview pane in Explorer, available by clicking the icon on the right of the toolbar.

Windows 7 - Preview pane and button image from Fixing PDF Preview in Windows 7 at

Most common document types are supported either by Windows itself or appear when the appropriate software is installed. A similar thing happens in the preview pane of Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 to let you view attachments

The most common example of an extra preview add-on is for PDF preview. Installing the free Acrobat reader not only installs the main reader software but also the preview add-ons for Windows and Outlook.

Normally that works fine but if you have Windows 7 64-bit edition the PDF preview doesn’t show up – all you get in the preview pane are the words “This file can’t be previewed”.

(This is a different message from “No Preview Available” which is shown when there is no preview add-is available. “This file can’t be previewed” indicates that there’s an add-in available but not working.)

Just for once, you can’t blame Microsoft. The problem is the registry setting supplied by Adobe but is easily fixed.

  1. Backup your registry

  2. Open Regedit

  3. Find the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE Wow6432NodeClassesCLSID {DC6EFB56-9CFA-464D-8880-44885D7DC193}

  4. Find the AppID value

  5. Change the AppID value from {6d2b5079-2f0b-48dd-ab7f-97cec514d30b} to the correct setting {534A1E02-D58F-44f0-B58B-36CBED287C7C}

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