Fix: PDF Files will not open in Internet Explorer 10 / 11

Internet Explorer 10 & 11 are considered as the best possible versions of Microsoft‘s proprietary browser; Internet Explorer. With Windows 8 as well as Windows 7, you can use IE 10 and IE 11. Well in both these iterations, some users have reported facing a problem that, whenever they try to download and open PDF file, Internet Explorer will not open PDF files.

Sometimes IE just hangs while downloading PDF files For this issue, you can use the Task Manager to end up the session. There have also been cases where many a times,  the file loads up Рbut partially. They may open just fine in other browsers, but not in IE.

So how does one solve this behavior of IE? Well, a simple thing that could fix it is to set the default PDF reader to the “Reader” app provided in Windows 8, 8.1 or any other third-party PDF reader of your choice. This will solve the problem. But if it doesn’t, then you can try this registry fix to solve up this issue:

PDF Files will not open in Internet Explorer

1. Press Windows Key + R combination, type put Regedt32.exe in Run dialog box and hit Enter to open the Registry Editor.

REGEDIT Fix: Manage Add ons in Internet Explorer is grayed out

2. Navigate to the following location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main


3. In the right pane of this location, look for the TabProcGrowth named DWORD. This DWORD actually is short from of Tab Process Growth; which sets the rate at which IE creates New Tab processes. If you’ll find the DWORD there, it must having the Value data as 0. If you don’t find it there, create it manually using Right click -> New -> DWORD Value. Now click on the same DWORD to modify its Value data:


4. Now set the Value data from 0 to 1. Click OK. Putting Value data 1 ensures that all tabs for a given frame process run in a single tab process for a given mandatory integrity level (MIC) level. You may now close the Registry Editor and reboot to see the results.

Hope you find the fix useful!

Posted by on , in Category IE with Tags
An Electrical Engineer by profession, Kapil is a Microsoft MVP in Windows - Consumer and a Microsoft Content Creator. He recommends that you create a system restore point first before tweaking the registry.
  • Chris

    This worked for me. I could not open pdf files in Internet Explorer 10 & 11 and making this change has solved the problem.

  • JaneG

    I did that and PDFs open in a new window of that browser – but if the PDF command generates a new browser – the PDF still does not open. Any ideas? The new window has a small black square in the top left corner.
    I have I.E. 11 – Windows 7 – 64 bit. Other browsers (Fire Fox and Chrome) have no issues but unfortunately I must use IE 11.

  • John Croce

    This has been the only REAL solution to this problem. Why doesn’t Microsoft warn us or publish the fix in their help files?

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ If they notice the issue, we hope they will release a hotfix for this :)

  • dijous

    In Windows 8.1 don’t appear this file.

  • GKO

    Thanks a lot your instructions work .. I have win 7 64 bit I/e 10

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Glad to hear that :)

  • Fernando Paiva

    Great fix. Thank you. I hate messing with the registry but this really is clean and works.

  • FuzHa

    Awesome,did the trick!

  • bhola

    Excellent. But I quite did not understand how did it make the problem go away. An explanation will help settle my curiosity.

  • Dave

    Non of the suggested fixes correct this problem for me. I have Windows 8.1 and IE 11. I’ve tried everything and nothing will allow a pdf to open in IE. I get the message Internet Explorer has stopped working and will close. It tries to correct but never does. Google Chrome works fine but I don’t care for the way Chrome looks so I don’t use it unless necessary.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ You can try making the default association to open PDF files with native Reader app, then make sure IE is the default browser. I use same setting on my Windows 8.1, and it works fine here.

  • Dave

    Thanks for the fast reply and suggestions. I tried your instructions making the default association to open PDF files with native Reader app, then make sure IE is the default browser. Still can’t open pdf files. I also could not get print process to work. I downloaded Firefox and it works fine. Something wrong in my IE11 settings that I can’t identify I assume. If you have any other suggestions I’m open to keep trying. Thanks!

  • dextersaintjocke

    This worked for me, thank you very much.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Thanks for feedback :)

  • Shawn Springer

    This worked for me as well (Windows 7, Explorer 11) – Thanks. Just have to wonder how you ever figured this out!

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Read the 3rd step once again for the logic of this trick :)

  • Plantman

    I did this and all worked well for PDF but now when I right click on links in pages to open a new tab I get Open Blank on new the tabs

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Please try the SFC /SCANNOW command at administrative Command Prompt and reboot, see if that helps :)

  • Vikas Goyal

    finally this works for me thankkkkkkkkkkkk. a lot

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Glad we could help :)

  • DocB

    The only thing that worked for me with IE 10 on Win 7 64-bit was to go to Tools> Internet Options > Advanced Tab > Reset Internet Explorer Settings. After reboot .PDF’s opened in the browser as they were supposed to do.
    A note here: I had created the DWord TabProcGrowth and set it to Value=1 before doing the reset and had not deleted that new registry value.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Thanks for sharing this, it might be helpful to others :)

  • Elizabeth Brunt

    I cant find TabProcGrowth under Main. The last item in the list is XMLHTTP. I have Windows 7 64bit.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Create it manually, right click there and select New -> DWORD. Rename it to TabProcGrowth.

  • Elizabeth Brunt

    Thanks for the reply. I have done this but unfortunately I still can’t open a form on one site. I think it must be another problem all together.

  • dave

    Way to go Microsoft! The fix for me has been to switch to Chrome.

  • w4n

    Thanks! Great tip! Worked for Win 7 64bit, IE 11 and Reader 10.1.10.

  • Nick

    How do you make it work for all users?

  • Stukadriver

    This worked for me as well with IE11 and Win 7 64-bit, doing exactly as DocB described.

  • calfirebill

    Check the directory for your “temporary internet files”. If it got erased as mine did, it will not be able to download .pdf files to read them. You will also have problems storing cookies. Go to: Tools-Internet Options-General(tab)-Settings(under browsing history)-then check the listed folder or use the option to move the folder to a new one it will create. Also make sure you have 8 GB allowed for folder size.

  • zack

    I have Windows 8.1 and IE 11. But I could not fine TabProcGrowth in my PC and do not know why.
    How to make the default association?
    Thanks a lot.

  • zack

    I created one but it still not working. Do you have other suggestions?
    Thanks a lot

  • Marty

    Switch to Chrome as indicated above. Unbelievable that this problem persists in IE!

  • JL201334

    What if you don’t see the option for TabProcGrowth under that folder? Any other values that you can reset?

  • George

    A Value of 0 worked for me. 1 did not work. Windows 7×64 and the Value was not there to start.

  • Sergey Romanov

    Cannot even find registry value like that.

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