Posted by: kurtsh | December 25, 2006

HOWTO: How to keep AcroRd32.exe from staying in memory, and other PDF junk I’ve been saving

I’ve never been a fan of PDF’s or the Acrobat format for reasons I’ll write about in my other blog but if you absolutely have to installed Acrobat Reader, I recommend keeping the following in your back pocket:
The first problem is that ACRORD32.EXE stays in memory forever unnecessarily & wastefully consuming 15-20MB of memory if you ever load a PDF file into a browser.  In order to prevent this from happening, open Acrobat Reader,  Click the Edit Menu & select Preferences.  The Preferences dialog will appear.  There is an "Internet" category that you should select.  Uncheck the "Display PDF in browser".  This will keep Acrobat from staying in memory after reading the PDF file online.
Acrobat Reader has a 1001 plug ins that come with it.  And you’ll never use any of them.  Seriously.  I’ve never used any of them in all the years I’ve been using Reader.  There is a free tool available called "PDF Speedup" from that will streamline the loading of Adobe Acrobat greatly accelerating load times.  It’s well worth downloading, and if you feel worried about the changes it makes, there’s an UNDO process that undoes all the changes.  And it’s free so check it out.
I’ve evaluated a lot of these and Solid Converter is the best I’ve found from Converter PDF v3 is an astoundingly well written application that will take any PDF and turn it into a Word Document with brilliant accuracy.  If you’ve ever wished, "Hey – I wish I could modify this PDF or cut & paste large sections out of it," this is the way to do it.  It costs $49 but it’s well worth it.  These guys know the PDF format inside and out.
Adobe’s encryption within Acrobat is easily crackable – both Owner passwords & User passwords.  Anyone that thinks their documents are protected from modification or duplication through these protections are very sadly mistaken.  Because I actually prefer to keep a few things to myself, I won’t go through all the more elaborate backdoor techniques out there but here are a few of the more easily accessible commerical crackers available for the Adobe Acrobat format, both 40bit & 128bit.
  • CrackPDF Pro:  Easy to use basic cracking tool for Owner & User passwords, 40bit & 128bit.  Brute force, dictionary, key, and other attacks.  40bit passwords are crackable in 3-4 days.  128bit may require a couple weeks.
  • PDF Password Recovery Service:  An online service that allows people to submit 128bit User encrypted PDF documents for guaranteed "recovery" through the service’s clustered computational array fairly quickly.  Costs something like $500 per document but if cost is no object like it is for many businesses, who cares?
  • Acrobat Key:  Cracking tool that among other things, allows for the assumption that the password is alphanumeric or a "sensible" combination of characters.  This reduces brute force times by 80-95%.
  • GuaPDF:  Guaranteed PDF password recovery.  This is a brute force attacking tool that cracks PDF 128bit user passwords by allowing you to create your own clustered computation array.  Basically, a single PDF can be cracked by 2, 5, 10, 20 or any number of desktops simultaneously allowing the time to crack the document to be reduced exponentially.  It distributes the compute load across all your computers and additionally, because it’s highly multithreaded, it’s optimized for Intel Core 2 Duo processors making it especially effective.



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