I was working in Windows 7. I had installed Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro. In Windows Explorer, I selected two PDFs, right-clicked, and chose the option to "Combine supported files in Acrobat." I got an error message:
Windows cannot find 'Acrobat.exe'. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.I clicked OK to get rid of the dialog. I noticed that I got this error only if Acrobat was not currently running. If I had Acrobat open, I would not get the error; instead, I would get the expected Combine Supported Files dialog, and I would be able to go ahead and combine the PDFs.
Of course, I didn't want to have to open Acrobat in order to combine files, although doing so would give me the alternative option of combining the files from within Acrobat, instead of starting from Windows Explorer. In Acrobat 9, the menu picks for that approach were File > Create PDF > Merge Files into a Single PDF. And that approach did have the advantage, in at least some Acrobat installations, of not crashing Acrobat (or worse) when I would be trying to merge a large number of PDFs.
I wanted to recover ordinary functionality, so that I could right-click a selected group of PDFs in Windows Explorer and merge them using the "Combine supported files" option. A search led to a thread that suggested adjusting Windows so that it would open PDFs in a slightly different way. The instructions there were for Windows XP and Acrobat 6.0. They suggested adding a certain command-line switch (a/k/a option, parameter, or flag) when Acrobat (or Adobe Reader) would open files. A search led to an Adobe page that listed six switches: /n (to start a new instance of Acrobat), /s (to suppress the splash screen), /o (to suppress the open-file dialog box), /h (to start Acrobat minimized), /p (to start Acrobat and open the Print dialog), and /t (to start Acrobat and print a specified file). (One source seemed to indicate that there might be quite a few other switches as well, controlling such things as the document page that would open and the zoom factor.)
The suggestion that I had found was to add the /n switch to the command that opened Acrobat. That suggestion seemed to have something in common with the discovery (above) that the Combine right-click option would work when Acrobat was already open. The problem was that Windows 7 no longer made it possible for users to add switches as they could in Windows XP. The Tools > Folder Options > File Types tab was no longer available in Windows Explorer. It would have been possible to run Acrobat by adding the /n switch to the properties of a shortcut, but that didn't seem relevant for this Combine Supported Files project. A better possibility was to use the Run with Arguments option in FileMenu Tools, but it would require a couple of steps every time, assuming I could get it to work.
I just wanted to restore, in Windows 7, the old ability to specify command-line switches for programs like Acrobat. Some utilities seemed to offer that possibility. A closer look at Types suggested that it wasn't right for the job, but it seemed that NirSoft's FileTypesMan might be. FileTypesMan turned out to be a portable: I just double-clicked on its .exe and it ran without any need for installation. I did a Ctrl-F to search repeatedly for PDF file types. I right-clicked on the line for the PDF extension and got a good number of choices. A somewhat similar list of options dropped down when I clicked on the menu bar's Edit pick. It looked like I would need to use the "Open file type in RegEdit" option. That opened up the Windows 7 registry editor and took me directly to what looked like an appropriate place for Acrobat.
But now what? I wasn't sure what to do there, so I ran a search. It led to a few hints, but nothing clear. I decided to search the registry, to see if I could find the location of the "Combine supported files in Acrobat" option. A Ctrl-F for that phrase turned up nothing. Nirsoft's ShellMenuView didn't indicate where that option came from either.
When I double-clicked on the .pdf file type in PC Magazine's old ContextEdit utility, it took me to an Adobe Acrobat Document entry. On closer examination, I saw that this was actually the second of two such entries. The first one seemed to indicate that the default program for such documents was Adobe Reader, not Acrobat. Was that why Acrobat was acting funny -- had Reader screwed up my right-click context menu action? I wasn't sure when Reader had joined the party. I hadn't consciously intended to install it. But now that I thought of it, I guessed that this was why the icons for my PDFs had changed slightly.
So, OK, in Windows Explorer, I right-clicked on a random PDF and went into Open With > Choose Default Program. Reader was highlighted. I highlighted Acrobat instead, made sure the checkbox at the bottom was checked ("Always use the selected program to open this kind of file"), and exited. I selected two PDFs and tried the right-click Combine option. No joy. I wasn't sure whether a reboot would make a difference, but I rebooted just in case and tried again. Still no go. But, bizarrely, Reader was still highlighted in the Open With dialog. I didn't need Adobe Reader, so I went into Control Panel > Programs and Features and uninstalled it. I did the Open With thing again, and now Reader was gone. I highlighted Acrobat once more in the Open With dialog -- and, yes, back in Windows Explorer, my PDF file icons returned to their old familiar Acrobat form.
I tried Combine Supported Files again, but I still got the error. I started to go into Acrobat, with the intention of running its Help > Repair Acrobat Installation option. But for some reason, the Windows Installer started up before Acrobat ran. I guessed that the departure of Reader had left a gap, and now Acrobat was going to reconfigure itself to take up the slack. After it was done, it called for another reboot. I tried Combine Supported Files with two PDFs, but still got the error. Apparently Reader wasn't the cause of the problem, or at least Reader's removal wasn't the cure.
Another change that I had noticed recently: when Acrobat was updating, I commonly got errors referring to Error 1310, involving C:\Config.msi. That had not happened previously. I did not know whether this was related to Reader, or to the Combine Supported Files error.
Anyway, I went back into ContextEdit, to that second Adobe Acrobat Document entry. I double-clicked on its Open option. This opened a command line edit dialog. The command line was the same as the one that people in that thread (above) had been revising. Following their advice, I changed the command line so that it looked like this:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Acrobat\Acrobat.exe" /n "%1"This just involved inserting that /n before the "%1" variable. In the dialog's Menu Text box, I added "Open in New Acrobat Session," and then exited. Sadly, no such option appeared in my right-click menu. I rebooted, but that made no difference. It seemed that ContextEdit must still be thinking in terms of the Windows 98 registry. I went back in and removed that /n switch from its dialog box.
In case Acrobat hadn't fully repaired itself, I now went into its Help menu and ran a repair. After another reboot, I tried Combine Supported Files again. I still got the error. I uninstalled Acrobat (via Control Panel > Programs and Features), rebooted, and reinstalled it. (Note that Acrobat may have to be deactivated via Acrobat's Help menu before uninstallation, so as to avoid a hassle when activating after reinstallation.) When it was reinstalled, there was no Combine Supported Files option. I rebooted. Still no such option. It developed that I had made an error during the installation: it was OK if the custom option to install the Create Adobe PDF was installed fully (white) or without some or all of its subfeatures (grey), but it could not be completely noninstalled (red X). The red X would mean that the Combine option would not be available. It occurrred to me that another possible way to fix the problem, short of completely uninstalling and reinstalling Acrobat, would have been to turn off that particular Create Adobe PDF option, reboot, and then turn it back on.
Uninstalling and reinstalling turned out to be the solution, at least with Reader out of the picture and with the other tinkering described above. With the Create Adobe PDF option installed, the Combine option was there, without requiring a reboot. And when I used it, it worked without an error.