For the longest time, I clung to Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.1 because it was the last version compatible with Windows 95 and the last version without an IE dependancy. Unfortunately, it isn't good for much these days. Most contemporary PDF content is backwards-incompatible, and it makes 5.1 choke with a damaged-file error.
So, I gave Adobe Reader 8 a try. Why 8, when Windows 2000 can run 9 as well? The 8.x versions were the last ones to include a multi-document interface...the newer versions are unusable for viewing more than one document at a time.
There's a catch, though: Not only does Adobe Reader 8 (and 9, for that matter) "require" IE, but it specifically wants the 6.0 version as well. If you try to run the installer on Windows 2000 with IE 5, this rude message appears:
"This version of Internet Explorer is not supported. You should upgrade Internet Explorer to version 6.0.2600.0 and run setup again. Setup will now terminate."
While this message is on the screen, search for a temporary folder generated in Documents and Settings that contains "AcroRead.msi" and several other files. Copy them to a different location. Clicking through the dialogue will make the temp folder disappear.
Now, it's time to start hacking away. Open the "setup.ini" file, remove the "RequireIE=6.0.2600.0" line, and save. That'll make the first browser check go away, but now a second one will come up:
"Adobe Reader [version] requires Internet Explorer 6.0 or greater. Please visit www.microsoft.com to upgrade Internet Explorer"
To get rid of this, you need to open the "AcroRead.msi" file with the Orca installer database editor. Remove these lines:
Property > "IsMinIE_Message"
CustomAction > "IsMinIE"
Save. AcroRead.msi will now run and install without checking for IE 6. And although there may still be issues, I haven't seen any with the Firefox-compatible plugin or with the application itself.
Question time, though:
* What was the last version of Adobe Reader 8.x? I'm pretty sure there were several minor point releases, and one of them might be newer than what I have.
* Is there an easy place to find and download Orca? I have a copy on hand that I downloaded for use on Win95 years ago, but I have no recollection of where I got it.