Ah, that wonderful Flash installation experience…

Apparently, I am not the only one who noticed that the Flash installation experience has turned from bad to worse. Paul O’Shannessy uses pretty strong language to describe the procedure but I think it is justified. Until recently you could ignore all the bells and whistles and still download the executable which would then install Flash (and only Flash, regardless of the pre-checked crap that you might have forgotten to uncheck). Now you have to install the Adobe DLM extension (never mind that plug-in installation doesn’t usually require a browser restart) and there doesn’t seem to be a way to avoid it. Still wonder why so many people want to see Flash obsoleted by HTML5?


  • Annoyed

    Sure there is: override the user agent so it mentions Chrome and/or Opera, but not Firefox.

    Adobe is rotten.

    Wladimir Palant

    Sure, using Minefield or changing general.useragent.extra.firefox preference is enough – their UA sniffing is lame. But that isn’t a solution one could recommend to the millions of Flash users out there.

  • Ian

    And why don’t they offer a simple bundle of Flash/Adobe Reader?

  • Kroc Camen

    Shouldn’t Mozilla be fixing the plugin finder service—so users don’t have to visit Adobe—before complaining about the Adobe install experience?

    BTW http://fuckyouadobe.com too. It went from 5’400 yesterday to over 6’000 today.

    Wladimir Palant

    Good question – I never used plugin finder to install Flash, probably because I am usually updating Flash rather than installing it from scratch.

    As to Google results, I still have 5’400. Google sniffs your location based on your IP address, there also appear to be differences due to load balancing. So the search results you get aren’t entirely deterministic.

  • theymos

    Until very recently there was a link on the “thank you” page that allowed you to download the real installer.

    I would drop Flash in an instant if I could. I already use Sumatra PDF instead of Reader, but there’s no real alternative to Flash.

    I feel bad for the 99% of users who will be forced to install yet another useless piece of software (which probably contains lots of bugs and security holes). Maybe Mozilla could do something to block the DLM and redirect to the real installer.

  • Kroc Camen

    @theymos I’ve been using my Mac without Flash for over a year maybe. What’s tying you to Flash? Just go without and see how you get on, the benefits (stability, security) far outweigh the losses (worthless content).

  • dave

    Just don’t install it. It’s really not essential.

    Which reminds me of a Firefox bug. On Ubuntu 9.10 if you don’t install Flash it bugs you to do so on basically every page with an advert. I had to install Gnash to avoid this nagging (I take advantage of it’s built in Flashblock, I don’t actually use it to view anything).

  • Alex

    The plugin finder service built into Firefox is capable of downloading and installing Flash, but unfortunately it isn’t perfect (one attempt might fail, another will work, etc.)

    But still, downloading an extension to download a plugin seems silly when the browser is capable of doing it itself (There’s an Adobe DLM for IE as well)


    Just don’t install Flash? Not essential? I guess that depends, doesn’t it? My banking site uses it. Many, many sites use it (and provide no HTML alternative) for parts of their sites, and many sites use it exclusively. This all drives me nuts—I despise Flash—but it means that I have no choice but to install the damned thing.

  • Kroc Camen

    No choice? Of course you have choice! You’ve got more choice than any generation before you. Change your bank. Change the sites you use. If Flash is really, truly that bad to you, then it should be no issue to put your money where your mouth is. It’s one thing to bemoan about how rubbish Flash is (we all do); but it’s another thing to simply do without it. It’ll open your eyes to the cutting edge stuff that will obsolete Flash in a short amount of time. We say in England “Put up, or shut up!” :) Complaining is valueless without doing something about it.

  • Aaron Train

    Well said Kroc Camen!

  • alanjstr

    Secunia PSI linked directly to the real installer. Shouldn’t Flash be able to update itself by now?

    Wladimir Palant

    I don’t know, the news about Reader being able to update itself in background was just a few days ago – no such news about Flash however, maybe coming with 10.1?

  • Bill

    I want to see Flash and HTML5 obsoleted by Silverlight. Silverlight is awesome compared to the competition.

  • Thomas

    You can download the standard installer directly from FileHippo.com: http://filehippo.com/download_flashplayer_firefox/

    Wladimir Palant

    Downloading software from third-party sites isn’t a habit you should get into.

  • johnjbarton

    I already tried raising this with Firefox team, they thought it was just fine.

    Wladimir Palant

    I don’t read this discussion that way. They don’t think it is fine, they agree that Adobe massively disrespects their users with this update page. But that’s the only available official way to update Flash so there we go. Mozilla cannot do much more than pointing people to this update page, it is up to Adobe to fix this mess.

  • charlo

    Plug-ins in Firefox definitely require something to be done.

    Next time I reinstall some Windows, I should just note what crappy plugins have been installed without my consent after installing nothing more than Windows XP+Firefox+OpenOffice+ Patches (Windows and Java), going to Tools->Modules-Plugins in Firefox shows something like the list here (taken from my “clean” installation and after removing every suspicious plugins I could find in the “plugins” directory of Firefox – many are put in system32 or wherever..) :

    Windows Presentation Foundation
    Windows Media Player Plug-in Dynamic Link Library
    Microsoft DRM
    Microsoft DRM
    Java™ Platform SE 6 U13
    Java™ Platform SE 6 U14
    Java™ Platform SE 6 U15
    Java™ Platform SE 6 U16

    I also really enjoy those plugins (Java mostly) you just can not “deactivate” (until you find and remove the file in ./plugins or elsewhere..)

    What the… ? frankly, who uses these ? even Java ? and what the hell are they doing to my system ? (Microsoft DRM ??? and twice ??)

  • Ludwig

    First of all: Sorry for my bad English!

    My first thought was: Maybe this “Flash-Install-procedure” is necessary for User with Non-Admin-Rights. Standard-User? or in German “restricted User”?

    I tested it with WinXP Pro 32Bit as a Standard User with Firefox 3.6.3!
    In a Sandbox. Sandboxie.com

    Adobe DLM extension Install: OK
    AdobePlusPlus Downloader downloads the “Flash Plugin Installer”: OK
    Installation of Flash itself: Fail
    Because of no Administrator-Rights!

    Wladimir Palant

    That’s the problem with any software installation in Windows XP – you cannot install without administrative rights, users are used to this. Starting with Windows Vista you get an UAC prompt and can install as a restricted user.

  • Jason Oster

    Re: “Still wonder why so many people want to see Flash obsoleted by HTML5?”

    Make it so!

  • Zef

    @ Charlo

    2 through 4 are part of the OS and are always there. Part of Windows Media Player.

    All but the last Java updates are there because you didn’t uninstall before updating.

    This is not entirely your fault however. Especially if you use Java’s automatic updating
    thing, because for some reason the auto update doesn’t uninstall the old version on
    updating. Thus leaving you vulnerable and exposed to potential security issues of old
    versions and general conflicts between versions. I’m unsure if Sun have or ever will
    fix this as I turned of auto-update and started always uninstalling some time ago
    because of this.

  • theymos


    Flash already updates automatically. The updater is NPSWF32_FlashUtil.exe in system32\macromed. It runs every 30 days by default, but this can be changed in the Flash settings manger.

    The update check is not a startup entry or scheduled task, and it’s not triggered by the Flash plugin, so I would be very interested in knowing exactly how it runs.

  • asdf

    It’s about time you mentioned this. Adobe is doing this crap just because it can, now.

    For me, not only was this frustrating, but after it was all said and done, it didn’t work. My flash was not updated to 10.0.45rx. So youtube was still saying “update flash! go to adobe.com!”

    I had to find my own way to the normal installer. Then I complained on a forum that was talking about flash, and it turned out there was already a thread, which should be a sticky, which has all the relevent OS download links lised.

  • JP

    Pissing off your users and/or customers usually isn’t that smart. Sadly, I’m pretty sure they will get away with this until someone decides to sue them over their unfair business practices or until the EU/FCC/whoever gets involved and tells them to knock it off. Users have been conditioned to accept this crap as “normal” for so long they’ll just put up with it.

  • Nitrox

    For people who don’t prefer downloading from third party sites, you could get the direct Adobe download link from Softpedia website here – http://www.softpedia.com/progDownload/Macromedia-Flash-Player-Download-24146.html

    Thats what i do everytime.

    Wladimir Palant

    And how is Softpedia not a third-party site? :)

    I don’t know who is uploading Flash to Softpedia, most likely it isn’t Adobe. And Softpedia cannot verify what was uploaded there, they automatically scan it with a bunch of antivirus applications (hopefully) but that’s it. Which is why I always prefer vendor websites over such download directories.

    Wladimir Palant

    Ah, I see – they also have a direct link to fpdownload.macromedia.com in their list. Which is a very old one but still works apparently. Then again, http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/Installing+the+Flash+plugin has a current direct download link as well as Paul O’Shannessy pointed out (http://blog.zpao.com/post/554260739/a-followup-to-flash-on-windows) – it is there, Adobe simply doesn’t want you to find it.

  • Kim Sullivan

    This is really very confusing. I installed flash on a brand new computer with W7 just this tuesday, and while I did notice that Adobe wanted me to use some “DLM” extension (Sun used to do this too, BTW), I had absolutely no problem dismissing the request and just dowload the installer… And no, I didn’t have to navigate through the whole site to find the hidden page, the link to the download was either on the same page or on the next page as the DLM. I’ll have to check the site again, just to be sure.

    Maybe I’m just too trained finding those pesky “if the download doesn’t start in 30 seconds, click here” links on account of using NoScript.

    Wladimir Palant

    That’s what you get if your browser isn’t called “Firefox” but “Minefield” or “SeaMonkey”.

    Btw, it seems that their usual download page won’t work at all wihtout JavaScript.

  • fags

    This is the greatest troll thread, ever.