Fatal Error: Acrobat Failed to Connect to a DDE Server

Many Acrobat users have recently experienced an error. What usually happens is an error message pops up that says “Acrobat failed to connect to a DDE server“. If this is also happening to you, you’re no doubt very frustrated, but the good news is you should be able to fix it quite easily. We’ve put together some suggestions to help you get rid of this error. Here are a few things you can try:

  1. Restart your Acrobat software completely
  2. Repair your Acrobat software installation
  3. Temporarily disable your antivirus
  4. Update your Acrobat software

Method 1: Restart your Acrobat software completely

The error message “Acrobat failed to connect to a DDE server” may occur because the Acrobat program isn’t running properly. And what you should try is to restart your Acrobat completely. To do so:

1) Press the Ctrl, Shift and Esc keys on your keyboard at the same time to open Task Manager.

2) End all the processes or tasks related to Acrobat (by right clicking each of them and clicking End task)

3) Open Acrobat again to see if the error is fixed.

Hopefully it is. But if not, you may need to try other fixes listed below.

Method 2: Repair your Acrobat software installation

You may get the error because your Acrobat program files are corrupted. You should try repairing your Acrobat installation to see if this resolves the problem for you. Here’s how you can do it:

1) Press the Windows logo key and R on your keyboard to invoke the Run dialog.

2) Type “control” and press Enter to open Control Panel

3) Select Large icons from the View by drop-down menu.

4) Click Programs and Features.

5) Right click the Acrobat software, then click Change.

6) Select the Repair option, then click Next.

7) Wait for the repair process to complete, then click Finish to exit.

8) Open your Acrobat program to see if this resolves your problem.

If it does, great. But if not, there are still two more fixes you can try…

Method 3: Temporarily disable your antivirus

Your error is sometimes caused by interference from antivirus software. To see if that’s the problem for you, temporarily disable your antivirus and check if the problem persists. (Consult your antivirus documentation for instructions on disabling it.)

If this resolves the problem, contact the vendor of your antivirus software and ask them for advice, or install a different antivirus solution.

IMPORTANT: Be extra careful about what sites you visit, what emails you open and what files you download when your antivirus is disabled.

Method 4: Update your Acrobat software

You may also get this error if you’re using an older version of Acrobat. You should try updating it to the latest version to see if this resolves the problem for you. You may need to uninstall the software, then download the latest version from the official Adobe website and install it on your computer.

Hopefully one of the fixes above helps you fix your error. If you have any questions, leave us a comment below!


  1. Well. My Adobe Acrobat Reader ceased to be able to be activated a few days ago, and I have been searching what I may do about it. I thought it may be a Windows Update issue. I am still not sure it isn’t. I click on the program, or any PDF on my machine, and the program looks to be starting up in a cycle (appearing for less than 1 second on TWO lines in my task manager processes) before it simply does nothing. That seems weird to me. I did once receive an error message (10 minutes after I stopped working on it) of “FATAL ERROR: Acrobat failed to connect to a DDE server”. That stated, going back, I first attempted to fix the issue by repairing it (as stated above). The next thing I did was uninstall it, and I also removed all folders left behind, restarted, and then freshly installed the program from the Adobe site. No joy. I then went back to Adobe, downloaded and installed their READER Out of Cycle Update (AcroRdrDCUpd1902120048.msp). Again, no joy. I found this article of solution, doing each step as described. ALL tried, no joy. I am stumped. Might their be any other solution I am missing please? Anyone… anyone? Bueller?.. Bueller?..Bueller? 😉

    1. Crisis corrected. Today, Adobe released an update that corrected the issue. Thank you for all the suggestions even if my issue was slightly beyond them. We need more people posting solution like you. Thank you again. Peace be unto you.

      1. I did my happy dance too soon. It has stopped once more. It seems I was able to open a few items while the computer was freshly restarted. This tells me their is something in the startup sequence that once started may be effecting it. I will go down the list.

          1. Everyone… this still is plaguing me. I have tried all above solutions, and nothing has worked thus far for me. Please.. please… Might their be any other solution I am missing? 🙂

          2. I, too, am having the exact issues you describe, even after trying all four of the above steps. Everything was fine until I had to do a Microsoft update, which makes me think Microsoft doesn’t play nicely with Adobe now. Instead of being able to print a PDF directly from an email attachment or file on my computer, I have to jump through a bunch of hoops and half the time, repeat Step 1 at least once during the process. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

          3. I believe you are correct about this being a Microsoft thing. I am still plagued by this, and I have yet to find a workable solution.

          4. OK.. 2 months later, and much frustration. Finally I have identified the culprit that was interfering with Adobe Reader from opening. I use the Samsung 49 inch wide gaming monitor, which comes with a software called Easy Setting Box that allows for one to make specific areas for multiple windows open to adhere to. It is this software that interferes with it as it is in the startup sequence, but does not show in the start-up programs that windows shows. I deactivated it and now all is well in the universe once more.
            Lisa, take a look at what is running, eliminating everything one at a time. Just one thing may be blocking the program from starting.
            This goes to show that more may happen than what may have solution. That stated, the solution always exists. We just need to uncover it… like Indiana Jones, but of the digital realm! LOL
            Thanks all!

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