I've discovered that the latest version of Adobe Reader doesn't always work correctly. After upgrading to the latest version, neither Firefox or IE would properly display pdfs. I finally wound up uninstalling the new version and then re-installing one version back. You might try this on one of your problem machines and see if it makes a difference.
Eastern Washington University
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From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Erik Hetzner
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2011 1:02 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] internet explorer and pdf files
At Mon, 29 Aug 2011 15:30:56 -0400,
Eric Lease Morgan wrote:
> I need some technical support when it comes to Internet Explorer (IE) and PDF files.
> Here at Notre Dame we have deposited a number of PDF files in a Fedora repository. Some of these PDF files are available at the following URLs:
> * http://fedoraprod.library.nd.edu:8080/fedora/get/CATHOLLIC-PAMPHLET:1000793/PDF1
> * http://fedoraprod.library.nd.edu:8080/fedora/get/CATHOLLIC-PAMPHLET:832898/PDF1
> * http://fedoraprod.library.nd.edu:8080/fedora/get/CATHOLLIC-PAMPHLET:999332/PDF1
> * http://fedoraprod.library.nd.edu:8080/fedora/get/CATHOLLIC-PAMPHLET:832657/PDF1
> * http://fedoraprod.library.nd.edu:8080/fedora/get/CATHOLLIC-PAMPHLET:1001919/PDF1
> * http://fedoraprod.library.nd.edu:8080/fedora/get/CATHOLLIC-PAMPHLET:832818/PDF1
> Retrieving the URLs with any browser other than IE works just fine.
> Unfortunately IE's behavior is weird. The first time someone tries to
> load one of these URL nothing happens. When someone tries to load
> another one, it loads just fine. When they re-try the first one, it
> loads. We are banging our heads against the wall here at Catholic
> Pamphlet Central. Networking issue? Port issue? IE PDF plug-in?
> Invalid HTTP headers? On-campus versus off-campus issue?
> Could some of y'all try to load some of the URLs with IE and tell me
> your experience? Other suggestions would be greatly appreciated as
As I recall IE fetches PDFs oddly sometimes. It will do a GET, then interrupt it, the GET the favicon.ico, then resume the original GET using a Range header to request the rest of the PDF. (This info is copied from an email from May 2008, so it may be out of date). Your server might not like that kind of abuse.
Wireshark can be your friend here.
Hope that helps!