SumatraPDF is blazing fast at opening PDFs, let’s get that out of the way. While not the most exciting software around, it pays for itself (free!) by being extremely lightweight and non intrusive compared to similar software.
A little background info
SumatraPDF was developed by the software developer Krzysztof Kowalczyk who according to his site, has worked at Microsoft, Palm, BitTorrent, OpenDNS (acquired by Cisco) and a few small Silicon Valley startups. Sumatra is available for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and Windows 10.
Why use SumatraPDF?
The problem with PDF viewers in general is they are usually bloated with features, making them slow to open. There could also be notices about software updates or trying premium features. In particular, Adobe’s own official viewer known as Acrobat Reader was historically known for these annoyances.
Sumatra has a very no-frills design and can even be used on work machines that are locked down with a portable version offered directly on the developer’s website.
SumatraPDF is open source and exists only to do its job, which is view documents. In addition to PDFs, it also supports XPS, DjVu, CHM, and Comic Book (CBZ and CBR) formats. It has not been abandoned by its developer, but there have been no new releases since 2016. One could argue that pending any new OS features in Windows, there is nothing else to add to this already lightweight software.
For my use case, 90% of the time I just want to open and view PDFs with little to no hassle. In the rare occasion that I need to use editing features, I will use different software specifically made for that task. For my day to day, SumatraPDF is my viewer of choice and I highly recommend it for Windows users.