Flash document iconOne of the major reasons Adobe bought out Macromedia was to get Flash. Without a doubt Flash is one of those technologies that makes the whole Internet experience that much more enjoyable for the end user. On the other hand, Flash can quickly become a headache when it does not work properly or if you are trying to work with it and it keeps changing. Given that I have put together the following list of resources and tips on dealing with Flash.

Flash Implementations:

The first thing to understand is that there are really two implementations of Flash. There is the Flash ActiveX control which is used by Microsoft Internet Explorer and the Flash Plug-in. Firefox and Safari use the Flash Plug-in and not the ActiveX control. The ActiveX control is the Flash9x.ocx file and the Plug-in is the Flashplayer.xpt file.

On Windows, Flash is installed to:

  • C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\Macromed\Flash

On Mac OS X, Flash is installed to:

  • /Library/Internet Plug-Ins

Uninstalling Flash:

The best way to uninstall Flash from Windows and Mac OS X is to use Adobe’s own uninstaller. This can be downloaded from Adobe’s Tech Note 14157 page. Proving that nothing is easy on Windows, by default the Windows uninstaller does not remove registry entries. In order to wipe registry entries for Flash, you must run the uninstaller using a clean switch:

uninstall_flash_player.exe /clean

Installing Flash:

Since there are two implementations of Flash, there are essentially three installations of Flash. For IE (the ActiveX control), you can simply go to Adobe.com and look for the Get Flash Player logo and click on it. For other browsers, when you go to the Adobe.com page, it will instead download an installer for the Flash Plug-in. There is a third installer which is only for developers who want to include both the ActiveX control and Plug-in with their applications. You can usually download the latest installers here:

For testing purposes, Adobe does offer archived versions on their Tech Note 14266 page.

Once you have actually installed Flash, if needed you can also disable Flash Auto Update Notifications. This is done by creating a text file named mms.cfg and placing it in the following directories:

  • Windows XP: C:\WINDOWS\System32\Macromed\Flash
  • Mac OS X: \Application Support\Macromedia

The mms.cfg file should have: AutoUpdateDisable=1 to disable Auto Update Notifications. Information on doing this can be found on Adobe’s Tech Note 16701594 page.