For saving my time, my sanity and the health of my PC, I've tried to avoid dealing with Adobe bloatware as much as I could.
Under Windows most PDF can be opened instantly with Foxit. It's free, it's fast and it works for 99% of the files. I keep Acrobat Reader on my PC "just in case".
I never open PDF files with the browser plugin (I disabled it), I prefer to download the file to the desktop and view it offline. It's faster and safer.
For creating PDF files from documents, PDFCreator is very easy to use and satisfy most of my needs, and to create PDF documents from scans I use WinScan2pdf.
My last tool for manipulating PDFs is PDFTK (for which a GUI can be found). All these tools are free and easy to use.