back to article Microsoft bans all plugins from touchable IE10

Windows 8 will include a version of Internet Explorer 10 that uses Microsoft's "Metro" touch interface, and this new-age browser will not allow plugins – at all. The move is yet another blow to Adobe Flash, which is famously banned from Apple's iPhone and iPad. With Internet Explorer 9 and its successor IE10 – which is …


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  1. Steve Knox

    No way this can win.

    Either Silverlight will be included as "native support" rather than a "plugin", which will show a huge level of hypocrisy and alienate much of the web community, or this move will kill Silverlight, resulting in the alienation of much of Microsoft's developer community.

    1. Gleb

      RIP Silverlight - WPF/E - We hardly knew ye

      Silverlight will be abandoned to third-class citizenship dispite the whole - "Don't worry" approach microsoft is taking. This is only too apparent from how it's been treated in the Build.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Silverlight already dying.

      Judging by Microsoft's big IE9 HTML5 propaganda effort, MS is already slowly suffocating Silverlight. IE9's 'beauty of the web' malarkey is HTML5, the Windows Phone Mobile IE speed test demo was also an HTML5 rendering test. No mention of Silverlight.

      I doubt it'll alienate 'much of Microsoft's developer community' – they're phasing down something that never really caught on big time. It's not like they're killing Visual Studio or C#.

    3. Tom 13

      Doesn't that remark beg the question

      of whether it is even possible for MS to alienate their developer community?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why has it got to do with Flash?

    Flash ain't the only plugin people use you know. You can also call this a jihad against ad blockers. There are more reasons why these big boys want to ban ad blocks than Flash.

    I brought an Android phone and tablet and will support Android over iOS partly because of Flash. Flash ain't dead. Stop making a fuss over it already. Talks about HTML5 WebGL are way too premature.

    Show me a WebGL site that can outperform Flash that is written in a reasonable and fast way in a good IDE then I might think about changing my development choice.

    Talks about not having Flash (or Silverlight for that matter) in a browser saves you battery power is also mostly BS. My android tablet's use of battery by the browser is miniscure even though I browse almost constantly.

    Switching side as a consumer, I'd rather enjoy the rich experience Flash and other plugins have to offer me than be battery anal.

    If you care about battery so much how about banning 3D games?

    So much contradiction.

    1. Renato

      Flash is crap.

      When you have a well behaved Flash animation, -- I mean, application -- it's ok and it won't waste a lot of resources. But you have to consider badly programmed Flash stuff: it will leak memory and waste CPU cycles doing nothing like there is no tomorrow.

      Even the innocent Flash-based Gmail/Gtalk sound notification sometimes leaks more memory than Firefox.

      > If you care about battery so much how about banning 3D games?

      Usually when you finish playing, it stops draining battery. Flash animations (ads) usually keep playing while you're browsing and not having anything to do with the content. Remember, content over presentation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Same way as when you stop browsing, Flash stops draining battery then? Your argument is flawed. It's like saying if part of the 3D animation stops in a game, the battery doesn't drain as much.

        Flash is crap so is javascript. Also Javascript has worst memory leaks. Firefox coming to 400 - 500 mb memory usage? Not uncommon in AJAX heavy sites. Point is anything can run like a dog if it ain't done properly. And just because you've seen a few badly done Flash sites doesn't mean all alternatives are better.

    2. Adam Nealis

      "Flash ain't the only plugin people use you know. You can also call this a jihad against ad blockers. There are more reasons why these big boys want to ban ad blocks than Flash."

      You may be right. But then someone will come up with an adblocker that sits on the HTTP stream before it gets to the browser. Else implement the blacklists on your home router.

      HTTPS is a bit more difficult, except at the home router.

      1. A J Stiles
        Thumb Up

        Done it

        "You may be right. But then someone will come up with an adblocker that sits on the HTTP stream before it gets to the browser. Else implement the blacklists on your home router."

        I am running my own local copy of BIND, which has some special zone files to block known advert hosts and tracking devices. Shouldn't be too hard to implement similar functionality actually within a router, though.

      2. Boothy

        @Adam Nealis

        Quote "You may be right. But then someone will come up with an adblocker that sits on the HTTP stream before it gets to the browser."

        That method has exited for years, including block list managers that automate the process.

        Just check out

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      you can still have an adblocker

      the ad blocker doesn't need to be a plug-in, they work well as a proxy (in fact potentially better as they work equally well across all browsers you have installed)

      there are a number of solutions of varying complexity (eg Privoxy or Polipo for instance) but I see a great opportunity for someone to take one of those and slap a nice metro front-end on it and do the world a huge favor (heck, add optional age based restrictions on it as well and make Metro kid friendly as well)

  3. Marco van de Voort


    So Metro doesn't support Silverlight?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hasn't MS already said version 5 of Silverlight will be the last?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The best-case scenario for me as a user of "enterprise" software apps is that it will force the developers of those applications to stop using Flash to present data and use something more portable and extensible and less prone to crashing every five goddamn minutes.

    WRT ad-blocking, etc.: those are not plugins, those are extensions. Ad-Block Plus will continue to work fine, even if Firefox stops supporting plugins too.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know Microsoft wants to mimic Apple but...

    this is probably the worst thing to copy.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Think ahead?

      Do you think Microsoft are stupid?

      You see, software companies like Apple and Microsoft have a lot of knowledgeable people and lots of R&D teams. Their job is not to listen to customers and give them what they want now because if they did so they would be giving people what they wanted 18 months ago.

      The job of Microsoft and Apple is to give people things they don't know they want yet or things they will want. It's also their intention to drive forward technology by taking risks and by jettisoning old technology that pollutes their relatively well structured and self sufficient products.

      Flash, Java and Silverlight just hold back development of the web. They force people into creating code in proprietary languages that then launch plugins to run it. Such runtimes are a big security hole in browser land.

      It took Apple saying no to Flash to get the HTML5 video tag into mainstream discussion.

      The web didn't get where it is today by having loads of plugins, It is useful due to HTML and Javascript.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sorry but, the web IS where it is today PRECISELY because of plugins. Plugins made happen what W3C have taken over 10 years just to draft and approve.

        Plugins made happen WebGL. Plugins shown the way it can be done. And it'll continue to do so in the future while political bickering carries on in W3C and related standards body.

      2. Richard Plinston

        > Their job is not to listen to customers and give them what they want

        > now because if they did so they would be giving people what they

        > wanted 18 months ago.

        With Apple then the user is the customer.

        With Microsoft the users are _not_ Microsoft's customers. Its customers are the OEMs, the retailers and resellers. What Microsoft's customers want is new shiney things that require users to buy new computers, new monitors (with touch), upgrades, and such.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And Apple doesn’t want you to buy "new shiny things"?? In fact Apple wants you to buy only its new shiny things, through its stores, and only use content that it has approved, in a way that locks you into only buying from it in the future. Oh and you pay a premium price to be a member of this club.

  7. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    I'm betting that Silverlight isn't a plugin because it's an integral part of the operating system? Same with word, powerpoint and PDF viewers

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: integral part of the OS

      Dunno about Silverlight (it's dead in the water anyway) but word, powerpoint and PDF viewers are all ActiveX controls. If MS have blocked ActiveX from the Metro IE then that's all your intranet applications stuffed.

      Of course, perhaps that's obvious. Got a poxy screen and no keyboard? Here's Metro. Got a proper computer? Here, have a proper UI that can run stuff. Microsoft's claim, from just a couple of days ago, that Metro was a full peer of the traditional desktop UI just strikes me as hogwash.

  8. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    Poor Adobe...

    First Apple, now Microsoft. You'd think Adobe was a pariah bundling Gary Glitter's home movies with every install of Flash.

    I'd love to know what they've done to warrant such loathing.....

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      I suggest that you install Flash and then you will find out.

      Warning: If you use a laptop, you may have to wear ear-defenders to prevent the noise of the fan from causing deafness when Flash starts trying to calculate pi to an infinate number of decimal places, while also simulating the entire universe at the level of individual quarks.

      1. hplasm


        I need to upgrade my version of Flash...

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Now that Microsoft have largely cleaned up their act regarding security, Flash is the No. 1 malware vector. That and the fact they still haven't released a 64bit version for Windows.

      1. Tom 13

        Flash? I thought it was Reader.

        Either way, it's Adobe. And the incessant updates that aren't easily managed from a central network point don't help matters either.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      installing update 10.01 installing update 10.02 installing update 10.03....

      that is all

    4. Giles Jones Gold badge


      It's a pain in the ass. Most days I switch on the work PC there's some update to Flash or Acrobat reader. It's fairly simple, it's archaic software that was designed in the time before Internet attacks were common.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well ...

      "You'd think Adobe was a pariah bundling Gary Glitter's home movies with every install of Flash."

      From the size of Flash I'm guessing his home movies are embedded in the binary.

  9. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    For those who bought into the sensationalist reporting... the bloody blog: 'IE 10 is available as a Metro style app and as a desktop app. The desktop app continues to fully support all plug-ins and extensions....applications that require legacy ActiveX controls will continue to run in the desktop browser, and people can tap “Use Desktop View” in Metro style IE for these sites.'

    1. Richard Plinston

      > applications that require legacy ActiveX controls will continue to run

      > in the desktop browser,

      Note that it says 'desktop browser'. This is not for Tablets, Phones or ARM based machines.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's not the point...

      There are important issues to keep in mind here...

      Microsoft pushes Metro forward as /the/ next big hit. Its /the/ platform for developers to reach "millions" of potential customers, its /the/ platform which makes application development easier than ever before ("you pick the language") and so on.

      Yet this move clearly tells us that "Ok, we have the Metro interface but for the REAL user experience you've come to like so much use the desktop application". Office 2010? Its a desktop application. MS Expression web (for example)? Desktop application. And so on.

      Where exactly does that leave Metro ? In order to start something I'm first taken /away/ from the desktop and if I want to experience the full deal (with Explorer for example) they'll put me right back onto that same desktop again...

      Which then leaves me to wonder: Why do they take me away from said desktop in the first place?

      /That/ is the main issue here. At least for us desktop users.

      And as the previous responder also mentioned: Tablet users now seem to get the lesser end of the deal, because Metro is fully aimed at touch usage. So in order to use the fully enhanced touch interface they'll just have to cope with a trimmed down browser.

      It just doesn't add up.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How dare you get in the way of sensationalism! Sir, you forget where you are!

    4. MrCheese

      The important bit in that quote you're using is "....applications that require LEGACY ActiveX controls will continue to run in the desktop browser" (my emphasis)

      From that remark alone MS seem to have decreed all ActiveX controls to be legacy, old, obsolete, not long for this world etc etc.

      If the Metro-style browser is at all popular you can guarantee that'll be the new format for future IE's both mobile and full-fat

  10. Benjamin 4

    What's the problem?

    Ever since I changed from feature phones to smart phones I've run android, and never had a problem with flash crashing / using resources. I appreciate that it may not be the best, but it works fine, and is better than any alternative I've seen. The only reason I can see for doing this is that Microsoft / Apple both dislike Adobe, and want parts of the market it controls.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Infamy! Infamy!

    They've all got it in for me!

  12. Tomislav

    Why is everyone so concerned about Silverlight? What about WebM? Will this mean that IE10 will only support H.264 encoded video even though they announced that WebM support will be available via 3rd party plugins?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Does that mean...

      You'll need a YouTube player app (or a different browser) to view videos?

      1. introiboad


        Youtube supports HTML5 <video> with H.264 and works perfectly well. I use it every day with my flash-disabled browser.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Bye bye security & ease of use!

    I actually use IE9 from time to time, most of all to browse Microsoft related websites which I either need for work / study (TechNet, MSDN) or personally (Windows Live). Yes, I actually enjoy the experience too at times, but obviously SeaMonkey is what I like best and use most.

    Still, lets take a look at some its "Invoegtoepassingen" (plugins) shall we ?

    - Java plugin.

    - Spybot-SD IE Protection

    - Spybot - Search and Destroy configuration

    - Adobe PDF Link Helper

    Even Microsoft distributed pdf files and why do they want me to browse the Net without extra malware protection ? (Granted; Avast runs in the background too, but still...).

    Now here is where it gets really stupid:

    - Windows Live ID Sign-in Helper.

    - Office Document Cache handler.

    - Send to OneNote.

    - Linked OneNote notitions.

    - Include in blog using Windows Live writer.

    I actually /rely/ on those OneNote plugins. In short: OneNote is an Office program allowing me to collect lots of information. From photo's to (voice) recordings and even text it can get from pictures through means of OCR (IMO really impressive feature). Needless to say you can also easily sort all this info to find it all back again :-)

    Like last evening; I go over the TechNet Win8 dev. preview forum and notice some interesting comments. I mark those, right click and can immediately use "Send to OneNote". Done. I don't have to worry about where it goes, saving work if the power fails, I'm immediately done.

    And later I can easily, at my own pase, go over all of those snippets again and sort 'm out. Some I save as reference, others I'll simply remove after having checked them out further (also applies to programming examples).

    Sure; it works in SeaMonkey too (and I heavily use it there as well) but not as easily as "click -> send". More like "copy, start OneNote, paste".

    And the best for last:

    - Translate with Bing.

    This is actually quite an interesting plugin (accelerator). Don't use it that often but whenever I do I think it does a fairly good job.

    You don't really expect me to believe that missing out on all of that functionality would actually be an advantage for me? Microsoft; maybe you think some of your end-users are stupid (and yes, some of them really are) but not THAT stupid.

    1. Tom 13

      Or maybe MS have been so busy flogging other crap,

      that OneNote has as many avid users as HP's WebOS does.

    2. The First Dave

      @ Bye bye security & ease of use!

      This was from a user of IE?

    3. James 100

      Less need for plugins <--> more security

      The two extra security plugins will mostly be needed to protect from malicious use of the other plugins, including Flash and Java. I imagine the 'translate with Bing' shortcut will be built in anyway, in the same way Google Translate is integrated with Chrome (view a page in a foreign language, it brings up a bar saying 'this page is in German, translate into English?').

      Quite why Adobe needs "help" opening a PDF link, I don't know; maybe it's related to their need to max out my CPU for the most trivial and irritating animations even when they're off-screen. I suspect the Live ID thing will work without needing a helper, and the 'office cache' can probably be done in IE10 without needing a plugin as well.

      So the 'Metro mode' should give almost everything but more securely - and yes, to paste stuff into OneNote you'll probably need to do an actual cut and paste instead of having a special purpose shortcut. Not the end of the world - and if it cuts down Flash usage a bit more, I for one will celebrate with something cold and fizzy.

  14. Ebeneser

    A first for Microsoft

    A standards compliant browser.

    That needs no plugs because it implements the yet unfinished HTML 5.

    I guess they'll be fine if they implement their own MS-HTML5 and integrate it into windows 8 to close out the competiton... oh wait, that was 13 years ago and it was 98 not 8.

  15. Adam Azarchs


    I don't use IE anyway (except to access my company's Sharepoint site, which doesn't play nice with other browsers... maybe MS should fix that first?), and I don't see that changing when I make the upgrade. I'd love to see Flash die, but I'd rather it wasn't this way.

  16. JDX Gold badge


    This is a crazy move though. Undoubtedly ads and video will move to HTML5 but Flash is used for a whole lot more:

    1)Games. Club Penguin has 10s of millions of users; Flash 11 will have access to accelerated proper 3D. HTML is not and is not designed as a replacement for 'hardcore' Flash in such cases.

    2)Business. Flex (which compiles down to Flash) is used in lots of business web-apps as a way to do rich, cross-browser applications which don't require javascript and all that guff.

  17. JDX Gold badge

    a jihad against ad blockers

    Ad blockers are not browser plugins. The terminology IS confusing but in browser-techy-speak a plugin is something like Flash that lets native code interact with the browser for stuff like 3D graphics or so on. Ad blockers fit the _normal_ software description of a plugin but are actually add-ons.

    Probably both are blocked though... in fact when did IE ever support ad blockers?

  18. Saoir

    No plugins - no use

    No plugins ? then it has no chance of me ever using it.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: A standards compliant browser.

    I thought that supporting plug-ins was part of supporting the html standards...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've been a web developer for international agencies for 6 years and I'm learning new languages and tech constantly. However Flash is still king as far as rich interactive content is concerned.

    If you hate Flash then come on people, back up your claims with proof and better alternatives that can do all that Flash can and more, otherwise it's all just pointless hatred Flashistism.

  21. John Savard

    Adobe Doesn't Have to Die

    This doesn't have to kill Adobe. After all, the Flash player plug-in is given away by Adobe free of charge. The thing that Adobe sells, and makes money from, is the authoring software.

    So, if it becomes possible for HTML 5 to permit content to be displayed in a manner comparable to that of Flash, the Adobe software can presumably be modified to save content in that form. Of course they will lose the advantage that fewer people have the Silverlight player installed than the Flash player - but Flash became dominant because of Adobe's superiority in the whole technological field.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      However if they don't use Flash for the front end, then they could use the same Visual Studio to authour it that the probably use to develop the back end.

      1. CD001

        Which just means you'll end up with 2 camps - graphic designers creating Flash content using Adobe tools because they integrate well with the whole CS suite (Photoshop, Illustrator etc) and app developers possibly using Visual Studio to build Flex apps because that's what they're used to.

        I might hurt Adobe's market share with the Flash authoring tool a bit but I'd be amazed if it killed it outright.

        1. StooMonster

          Even Adobe can see the writing on the wall

          Flash is history, Adobe have already started switched their focus to HTML5 with the latest updates to their tool suite and their "labs" products too.

  22. heyrick Silver badge

    Dear Microsoft...

    I've set my IE to paranoid permissions (so no, isn't auto trusted) and, correct me if I'm wrong, but that dodah that the updates site wants to run to check my copy is a plug-in...?

  23. Jay Jaffa

    doea anyone care about Microsoft?

    IEX..N - do they matter anymore?

  24. Jeff 11

    "Also Javascript has worst memory leaks. Firefox coming to 400 - 500 mb memory usage?"

    That has nothing to do with Javascript as a language; it's because Firefox's piss-poor JS implementation has more leaks than the Titanic.

  25. Captain DaFt

    Ooh... That headache's back!

    So.... IE 10 won't allow plugins.... except it comes in two flavors on the same OS, and one does, but the other doesn't.... depending on whether you use your mouse or fingers... Aaaarh..

    And what about ARM based Windows? Will it be that one doesn't and one does... If some one ports the plugins to the ARM architecture?

    I need aspirin.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flash doesn't need to die

    For all its sins, Flash is too useful - it keeps kids amused.

    There's a pretty simple solution really... as every man and his dog can write browsers these days, Adobe should create their own browser and include Flash. It only has to be a mediocre browser as MS's IE9 distinctly offers a poor experience for users in comparison with their earlier versions.

    Why does Microsoft love to alienate their faithful customer base by upsetting their workflows - recent Office releases annoyed users with their ribbons, Windows 7 annoyed users with their unintuitive file search implementation, and IE 9 has the moronic design of toolbars...

    Tis too late in the evening to list examples of Microsoft's folly further, but Adobe - go for it - your future is in your own hands.

    P.S. Do try not to create bloatware if you do have a go! Adobe Reader 10 is on my list of not-to-be-installed applications as it is/was so unstable.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flash is crap.


    Good riddance Adobe malware.

  28. Al 4

    Plug-ins the reason I don't use IE

    Flash blocking and other plug-ins are the reason I use FF. The last thing I want is some add screaming when I visit a web site for research purposes. I like being able to keep the sound on, on my PC so I can hear the warning beeps and other acknowledgments. It's the same reason I turn the sound off during commercials cause I don't want to listen to their annoyance at an elevated volume.

  29. Chris Reynolds

    Flash ain't the only plug-in

    Skype and corporate phone systems use plug-ins to make calling from web browsers easier. Various ActiveX controls allow corporate apps to run in the browser.My OneNote plug-in makes it easy to gather online content and share with colleagues.

    It'd be nice if both could run on the same machine. Start with the basic flavour to make things fast and smooth, but pass the session to the full-on version when a plug-in is required (or if the user requests).

    I want my cake and I want to eat it.

  30. Mikel

    0.6% share = nothing of value was lost

    Android does flash. People like flash for, er, "web content". You know - the kind the Internet Is For. Android gives you the whole web, on your terms. It doesn't try and tell you what parts of it you should have. I mean, who would put up with that from their phone?

    So all this does is make Windows Phone less attractive against Android. If WP were going anywhere our little green mechanical buddy would get a boost from that. But at 0.6% of global sales Windows Phone just doesn't have a gnat's whisker of extra lift to offer Android anyway.

    The end of flash? I think not.

  31. wheel

    Won't last long

    Once Opera and Mozilla produce Metro browsers which works with plugins, people would stop using IE. I can see the tagline: 'Opera: browse the WHOLE web'.

    This is one reason why Apple refuses to let other browsers on iOS, but it is unlikely that MS would risk such a move being third/fourth/fifth/twenty-second to market with their tablet OS. Otherwise I can see the tagline: 'Android: browse the WHOLE web'.

  32. Captain Scarlet

    No Plugins

    Fantastic, can't stand going round and finding people with millions of useless toolbars and then go oh yeah I don't know how that got there, I only clicked an advert for free smilies.

  33. Xtreame96

    Technically Incorrect

    The approach uses what Adobe calls a "captive runtime," a version of the Flash technology bundled along with the application. Captive runtime is one of the features of the soon-to-be-released AIR 3 that accompanies Flash Player 11.

    And because Metro runs Web apps, not just Web pages, on its IE10 engine, Adobe's customers can package their Web content for that environment, too. Both Web apps and packaged AIR apps can be sold through the Windows Store,

  34. Dotter


    A pity, I happen to like my adblock plugins.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Almost every time I have had to force-quit Safari it has been because of Flash. I can understand why MS don't want it - their software is unstable enough anyway!

  36. JDX Gold badge

    Adblock isn't a browser plugin

    As per my previous post. Plugins are ActiveX or nsAPI components.

  37. xeroks

    drm - iPlayer

    Hmm wonder how like of iPlayer will handle it's DRM freeness. Did iplayer ever make it to the iphone?

  38. Flossie

    HTML 5 lacks video streaming support

    The problem with HTML 5 video isn't just down to the lack of a standard codec and DRM (assuming you agree with such technology). HTML 5 also fails to specify support for a video streaming protocol, without which HTML 5 is useless for any serious video application.

  39. Gordon Fecyk

    You all asked for no ActiveX...

    ...and now you got it, and all you can do is complain.

    There's just no pleasing you people. First it was, "Windows has no security (Win95/98)," now it's, "Windows has too much security (UAC)." It was, "ActiveX is so buggy, so insecure, get rid of it." And now it's, "don't take ActiveX away, you morons."

    Make up your scuppering minds.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      @ Gordon

      ActiveX != plugin. Sure, there are some serious overlaps, but it's like banning 4WD vehicles from the roads by banning anything with four wheels...

      As for Windows security, certainly it is better than it's Win32 days, but replacing something broken with something differently broken isn't exactly a "fix".

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