Bad things happen to PCs that interrupt your workflow, and often we don’t know why. At the end of last week, I had completed a media brochure update in Adobe Creative Cloud’s InDesign, which took about half a day. As usual, I exported the document in PDF format so that I could upload it to a platform called Issuu and then embed it on the website. But this time, something unexpected happened: the program stopped while generating a PDF. It’s time to troubleshoot.
While my issue was app specific, the steps to fix most issues with your PC and programs are the same. Let’s go through the steps and finish with resetting your PC, a last resort step. Of course, anytime along the way, you can opt for a tech in-home visit (many companies still won’t do this due to COVID-19 issues) or take your computer to a store for repair, but it means a much bigger chunk of time will be wasted along with some money for the service. So if you can do it yourself, that’s a better option.
Start by reproducing the problem. When you notice something is wrong, think about what you were doing when it happened. In my case, I tried exporting a PDF multiple times, then tried a variant of packaging the file, which includes creating a PDF. Every time the program tried to create the PDF, it crashed. Once you’ve isolated the problem, you’re ready to move on.
Stop all programs running on your PC and restart the computer. Open only the program that was giving you trouble and try again. If it still doesn’t work, check that the program (or browser) version is up to date. If not, update it, restart your PC and try again. If you have the latest version, think about when you last updated it. Recently?
Indeed, I had updated InDesign last week to version 15.1 from 15.0.3. I did a Google search for “InDesign 15.1” and checked the Adobe community forum, which had several reports of the PDF crashing issue. An Adobe representative had responded that the company was aware of the issue and was working on a fix. Another reviewer said he uninstalled the current version and reinstalled an older version to regain PDF functionality. I did the same in the Creative Cloud app.
Fortunately, by choosing to install an older version, Adobe automatically removed the current version and replaced it with the old one. Previously, Adobe allowed multiple versions of an application to exist on a computer at the same time, which could be confusing. After a fresh installation, always restart your computer. After restarting, I launched InDesign, opened my file, and this time exporting to PDF worked.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, keep an eye out for the release of the next software version. In the Developer Notes, it should acknowledge the fix for the problem you encountered. You can then update to the new version, skipping the one with the bug. It’s usually a good idea to wait about two weeks until an update is installed, but when you’ve enabled “automatic update apps” to secure your PC, you may run into issues. like the ones I described.
In fact, the latest Windows 10 update late last month reported installation failures, app compatibility issues such as loss of saved logins and passwords with Chrome and OneDrive. , and Internet connection problems. Microsoft has blocked the 2004 update on some computers whose hardware has been found to be incompatible with the update and is working on a fix.
In the meantime, here’s how to uninstall 2004 and revert to the previous version. First, check which version of Windows your PC is running by clicking the Start button, Settings, then About. Scroll down to see your current version of Windows. If you installed 2004 and are having issues, you may be able to uninstall it and revert to the November 2019 version. However, Microsoft only gives you 10 days to uninstall. If you are within the time limit, go to Settings, Update & Security, Recovery. Under “Go back to the previous version of Windows 10”, click on “Get started” and click on the wizard that appears.
If you can’t roll back to a previous version of Windows, or you’ve reached the end of the troubleshooting options on another issue, your last resort is to use Reset this PC. This tool allows you to keep your personal files, remove any software you have installed, and then reinstall Windows. To access this feature, follow the same path as above. Once you are in recovery, click on Restart now to enter advanced startup. A dialogue box titled “Choose an option” will appear. Click Troubleshoot, then Reset this PC. Remember that while your documents will be saved, you will need to reinstall all programs, including your browser.