What is AcroTray.exe? | 4 Fixes For Common Errors

Have you ever encountered any of the errors below?

“AcroTray.exe has stopped working.”

“AcroTray.exe is not running.”

“AcroTray.exe failed.”

“AcroTray.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”

“Cannot find AcroTray.exe.”

If you have, you must first figure out if you actually need AcroTray.exe and learn the potential causes of the problems. Then, you can try to fix it using any of the four solutions given in this guide.

What is AcroTray?

AcroTray.exe is an Adobe Acrobat Distiller helper application.

It is an essential file of the Adobe Acrobat product responsible for converting documents to portable document format or PDF.

Just because it ends with .exe, it does not necessarily mean that it has to be a virus.

The file extension, .exe means that it is an executable file. That means, the file contains step-by-step instructions that a computer follows to execute a process such as printing a file.

In this case, the function is converting files to PDF. Every application in your computer, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, uses executable files to perform different functions.

But, AcroTray.exe may not be safe; it can be a malware pretending to be an .exe file. It is thus important to know whether the AcroTray.exe file on your computer is a threat.

Is My AcroTray a Threat?

There are ways to know whether the file you have on your computer might be an AcroTray.exe virus. You may have gotten this via unreliable AcroTray.exe download sites. A safe AcroTray file should be obtained directly from AcroTray Adobe Systems Incorporated.

The easiest way to ascertain an AcroTray.exe threat is through the use of a downloadable Security Task Manager. This tool will scan your computer and inform you of malware and other threats.

Another way is to check the location of the file on your computer. AcroTray.exe should be located in a subfolder of C:\Program Files. If it is located in this address, C:\Windows\System32, then there is a high risk of a virus, spyware, or worm infection.

Causes of AcroTray Errors

Problems related to AcroTray.exe may be caused by the following:

  • Corrupt download or installation of Adobe software
  • Conflicting program with Adobe software
  • Virus or malware infection that corrupted AcroTray.exe file
  • Mistaken deletion of AcroTray.exe file by a program or a malware.

How To Fix AcroTray

Here are ways to troubleshoot AcroTray-related errors in the order of ascending difficulty. It is recommended to try the easiest one first.

1st Fix (Malware Fix)

The first fix aims to make sure that the AcroTray.exe on your computer is not a malicious file.

You can use downloadable tools such as the Security Task Manager or Emsisoft Anti-Malware.

These are the most recommended tools by Microsoft Partners. A Microsoft Silver Partner suggests this fix:

  1. After downloading Security Task Manager, run it to examine the active AcroTray process on your computer and know what it is doing.
  2. Run an anti-malware tool to know whether this executable file is displaying unwanted ads that are slowing down your computer. This is important because some anti-virus software does not consider AcroTray as a virus and thus, will not be marked for cleanup.
  3. Run the Windows Repair Tool to repair errors related to AcroTray.exe on Windows.

2nd Fix (Disable It)

This procedure seeks to disable AcroTray.exe on your computer. Over at the Adobe forum, a staff suggested this fix:

  1. Press Window + R and type msconfig on the dialog box and hit Enter. That should open the System Configuration window. In Windows 10, you can click on the search icon and type msconfig. System Configuration should appear in the results.
  2. Go to the Startup tab and look for AcroTray. If you find it, uncheck the box beside it.
  3. Click Apply and then OK.

Video Tutorial: Understanding The System Configuration Utility

3rd Fix (Stopping Startup)

To stop AcroTray.exe from automatically starting everytime the computer restarts, here’s another solution suggested at the Adobe forum:

  1. Click on the Search icon and type Services. Right click on the Services app and choose Run as Administrator.
  2. On the pop-up window, set Adobe Acrobat Update and Adobe Genuine Software Integrity to “manually”.
  3. Go to Task Manager. On the Startup tab, disable all Adobe-related programs.
  4. Download and run Autoruns utility and disable Adobe-related programs such as Acrobat Assistant, Adobe Acrobat Synchronizer, and Adobe Updater Startup Utility.
  5. Download and run ShellExView. Go to Options, select Show 32-bit Shell Extensions and disable all Adobe Acrobat Create PDF programs.
  6. Go to Options and deselect Show 32-bit Shell Extensions and disable the same programs plus Acrobat Elements Context Menu.
  7. Go back to Task Manager and kill AcroTray.exe. Sign out and in into Windows.
ALSO READ:  What is TrustedInstaller.exe | And 7 Fixes For Trusted Installer Issues

How to Disable Startup Programs In Windows

4th Fix (Adobe Patches)

The fourth fix is to resolve issues related to this error, “AcroTray.exe has stopped working”.

This solution was suggested by a staff at the Adobe forum: Install the new Acrobat Reader DC patches that can be found here.

Forum Feedback

We browsed through several internet forums and see what the internet had to say about the arcotray process. Most people were wondering about it as a startup process, what to do if it’s not working or not responding, and how to disable it.


Over in, They say that this Adobe helper application is essential for helping to convert documents into PDF files.

There were a variety of user comments, the gist of which was but it is not a dangerous file and that is related to Adobe Acrobat. While another user said that it was bundled with Acrobat Professional 6.0 and doesn’t cause any problems.

Another observed that if you remove it or deactivate it, you’ll be unable to create PDF files from inside of Microsoft Office or AutoCAD applications.

Others complained that it boots up when their Windows operating system starts and can have a tendency to eat up valuable CPU resources.

Another user described it as Adobe bloatware. He said that while it isn’t dangerous it isn’t especially useful either for his purposes.

Over on, a person asked what it was and how to remove it.

One of the top responses came from a technician who explained that Acrobat Distiller built to keep an eye on directories for when PostScript files are converted to PDF files.

Using AutoRuns

Over at, a person was upset that the process autostarts despite his efforts to control it, including setting all Adobe related processes to “stopped”.

One person advised using a program called AutoRuns, saying that all you have to do is eliminate the registry entry that is responsible for the auto start behavior.

This includes all Adobe-related processes like: Adobe Updater Startup Utility and Acrobat Assistant (AcroTray) and Adobe Acrobat Synchronizer.

The complicated fix from the Forum will help you disable all Adobe related programs from initiating when your Windows computer boots up.

Deleting Scheduled Task

Another user fixed it by deleting a scheduled task that was essentially reinstalling it after it had been deleted. So removing the scheduled task, in his case, ensured that it stopped running at startup


Problems related to AcroTray.exe are not 100% dangerous. However, they are solvable and preventable. To prevent such errors, always keep your computer clean by performing disc cleanups and scans. Also, download programs only from accredited and reliable sources.

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