IE 11 sporadically freezes tab with pdf in iframe


  • At a customer we experience an issue, where IE 11 sporadically freezes a tab. The tab contiains a html page which includes an iframe, embedding a pdf (adobe reader DC add-on). Once the tab is frozen, the page sourounding the iframe is not rendered, so that area is white, but the iframe with the pdf is rendered.

    The issue appears when a user switches often between documents, in our application, which rerenders similar kind of page, always having an iframe containing a pdf. ( the page gets rerendered in the background. so I assume the adobe reader is removed from DOM and added again.)

    Strange enough, we cannot reproduce it on any developer environment. There are no events logged, once the error occurs. The mini dump of iexplorer.exe shows many threads in acrobat reader add-on code in places like 


    Process 005:1ca0

    Process 034:1c10

    Process 036:2fc

    Process 037:48c

    Process 038:1144

    Process 039:1d1c

    Process 040:1f7c

    we initially provided the pdf directly in the iframe src. Then we tried to actually provide an html page within the iframe containing an object tag pointing to the pdf. Unfortunately this did not workaround the issue..

    Also the page is running in IE9 Compatiblity Mode

    Looking at the dump, knowing there are no error events, I'm assuming kind of a deadlock in Adobe... However, I'm very unexperienced with mini dumps and such low level issues. Therefore I don't know how to continue investigation on the dumps.

    Does anybody have had similar issue, and potentially found a solution or workaround for the issue?

    Also, what is the recommended approach to track down such an issue, which cannot be reproduced in development environment, but one cannot access the production environment where the issue occurs?

    Any constructive advice to track down the issue would be very appreciated. Thank you

    • Edited by marco.asts Wednesday, March 7, 2018 1:31 PM
    Wednesday, March 7, 2018 1:19 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    In general the first step in troubleshooting web browser issues is to test in noAddons mode... Start>Run>iexplore.exe -extoff... PDF plugins are ActiveX controls and are not disabled in noAddons mode.

    Since the issue is sporadic and does not occur on your developer profile it is most likely an incompatible addon installed on the users profile.

    Tools>Manage Addons>Show all addons..double click an entry to show its properties page. Are you using the same versions of Adobe Acrobat? Are all the satellite BHO's enabled? Are both the x86 and 64 versions installed? Is it configured to 'run on all sites' or does your GPO settings only allow it to run on a list of sites.

    The latest versions of Adobe Acrobat use cloud storage services. Adobe acrobat also supports query parameters

    iframes inherit the Emulation mode of the Parent. You can determine which IE emulation mode is being used and how it was established (Display intranet sites in compatibility mode, Enterprise Site mode lists, meta x-ua header) from the Emulation tab of the f12 tool. It may be that you test page mapped to the same intranet domain and used the same top parent emulation mode.

    To trouble shoot the issue...

    add a hyperlink to your top page to the pdf file link. eg.

    <a href="report.pdf?filename=foobar.pdf&save=no&print=no" target="_blank">report pdf</a>

    clicking the link should open a new tab/window (depending on the IE security zone mapping of the top domain and your popup blocker settings and third-party addons (which may have their own popup blocking settings).

    Right clicking the link and selecting "Save target as" from the context menu and will prompt to save the pdf document to the users Downloads folder, then clicking the Open prompt... the file should be opened by an acrobat process in its own desktop window.

    If possible include links to problem websites or links to jsfiddle mashups that show the issue with your questions.... your iframe markup would be handy to see.



    Wednesday, March 7, 2018 8:56 PM
  • Hi Rob,

    We already tried to reproduce by disabling all, but the acrobat plugin. Unfortunatly I cannot post here links, as this is an introanet web application with quite some complexity. The pages are rendered using JSF on server side. But the includision of the pdf is a simple iframe pointing to a url which will then on the server side render a document to pdf and return it. When switchin from one document to another, the browser switches the URL via JavaScript like this

    document.getElementById( = url

    Important additional information might be that the affected users work in Citrix. Now a collegue got a Citrix VM where he can reproduce the issue, when connecting to the prod server. For quicker patch testing we installed the same webapp on this VM (to act as server on localhost) and it is not reproducable that way. However, the real prod server responds much faster with the documents (below a second), whereas the client side installed webapp performs poor responses are much slower.

    Now I see 2 paths to follow up

    1) Might be timing related ( if server is slow, the pdf is not returned slowly, such that the browswer has time to remove the old pdf plugin before the new one has to be started ), whereas in production where it is fast, the next pdf is already availble to be loaded while the old is still onloading.

    2) localhost and prod server are in different security zones which may result in different behaviour.

    However, when the issue occurs, there was always an instance of the pdf addon on the page. It was never the case, that the issue occured when adding the addon fresh to the page.

    I don't understand all, what you say about "satellite BHO enabled" etc. I have to follow up. What is sure, that we were using the same versions on all environments.

    Any additional hints are very welcome.



    Thursday, March 22, 2018 4:40 PM
  • Hi Marco,

    We are running into this same issue with Adobe Reader DC and a similar internally developed app.  Have you had any success finding a solution to this issue?

    We found that installing the 2015 (Classic Track) version of Reader DC seems to help with the issue, but there is still an occassional freeze.



    • Edited by dpinit Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:01 PM
    Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:00 PM
  • Hi,

    2. local host and production are in different security zones.

    IE has ActiveX filtering (adobe pdf reader is an ActiveX control in IE). By default localhost maps to the Internet Zone. IE has security restrictions preventing navigation into a zone of lower integrity and ActiveX filtering is applied only on web content from hosts that map to the Internet and Restricted zones.

    You should not be using localhost in a production environment. In your dev/test environment where you are using a local HOST, you should add its IP address manually to your IE Intranet zone lists. Confirm that it is indeed mapping to the expected zone from the File>Properties menu in IE.

    To troubleshoot the issue you need to use the f12 dev tool...

    first go Tools>Internet Options>Advanced tab, check "Always record developer console messages". Save changes.

    now when you open the f12 dev tool, the console tab will list markup, blocked content (ActiveX filtering/Tracking protection), security and XSS errors.

    I am uncertain however how to do this from a CITRIX terminal.

    You could use a network sniffing tool like fiddler or wireshank to inspect the requests and responses for the PDF document.... and check that its returned mime-type and content-length is correct.

    … possibly you are hitting 'Null results' records, that are sending back a blank pdf document with incorrect content-length values.



    Sunday, May 27, 2018 7:58 PM