Cause of corrupt PDF's?
May 9, 2004 7:08 PM   Subscribe

HELP! Suddenly, every PDF I download from various databases is corrupt in some way. Either there is "insufficient data for an image" or "unable to extract font X", this has never happened to me before. I have no problem grabbing PDFs from other sites, so I don't know if the corruption is caused by dropped packets going through the library proxy server, evil gremlins, or my recent installation of Reader 6 alongside Acrobat Pro 5
posted by Grod to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Adobe Acrobat Reader 6
posted by JohnR at 7:48 PM on May 9, 2004

I still have the full, professional version of acrobat 5 installed, it has the same problem as reader 6. The only reason I installed 6 was because 1 file I needed was not backwards compatible with 5. Sigh.
posted by Grod at 7:53 PM on May 9, 2004

I just got rid of reader 6. The problem is still present.
posted by Grod at 7:56 PM on May 9, 2004

Reinstall Pro 5. All the Acrobat apps share code libraries, and different versions do not play nicely together.
posted by jjg at 8:27 PM on May 9, 2004

Um. I'll leave that as a last resort, I don't have the original disk anymore. Besides, the actual downloaded file is corrupt. When I download a tiff image of the same document from the same resource it, too, is corrupt.
posted by Grod at 9:19 PM on May 9, 2004

Are you sure the nebulous "source" server isn't at fault? If multiple files in multiple formats you've downloaded from the same site are corrupt, it points to either your browser or their server.

Certain browsers (i.e. Netscape 4.x, and occasionally others) are known for corrupting binary files during download. Fortunately, these "cooked" files can be repaired with the use of a program like unphuck* (formerly uncook95.exe). Download the file to your hard drive, run it through unphuck, try opening it again.

* I cannot vouch for the sterility of the aforementioned file. I'm still using an old version of uncook95 to remedy this issue whenever it appears. Virus scan the executable after downloading and installing.
posted by Danelope at 11:41 PM on May 9, 2004

Actually, it appears that unphuck doesn't function for anything but MP3 files. uncook95, on the other hand, will parse anything so long as you select "All" in the File > Open dialog. The same caveat applies to this executable as the last.
posted by Danelope at 11:49 PM on May 9, 2004

I decided it was the source, in this case JSTOR. However, when I finally managed to remove all the viruses and worms from my girlfriend's computer and downloaded the files again, all but one were fine. So now I don't know what to think.
posted by Grod at 12:32 AM on May 10, 2004

And when I download the files on my system they are still broken. Oddly, I have no problem opening PDFs I already have nor is there any difficulty in opening those that I downloaded on my GFs computer. Leaving me scratching my head.
posted by Grod at 12:38 AM on May 10, 2004

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